By Not Known
Paul reserved some of his strongest language used in the Bible for his Letter to the Galatians: But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a Gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned (1:8). Then repeating in 1:9: If anybody is preaching to you a Gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned! The Greek for “condemned” in both verses was the word anathema – used in the Septuagint to describe anything cursed by God and consigned to total destruction.
The curse Paul solemnly pronounced on anyone who would preach a Gospel other than the one he preached would certainly shock many a modern Christian mind today. Yet, we need to ask ourselves whether it is the modern Christian mind that has treated the content of the Gospel far too lightly these days which is at fault rather than a more uncompromising Paul.
David W. Bebbington, Professor of History at the University of Stirling, traced historically what brought about the decline of British evangelicalism in his classic study, Evangelicalism in Modern Britain: A History from the 1730s to the 1980s (London: Routledge, 1988). He asked, “What made British evangelicals a uniquely different people in the eighteenth, nineteenth and twentieth centuries?” and identified four main qualities that enlivened and defined evangelicalism:
â–ª conversionism, the belief that human beings need to be converted
â–ª Biblicism, a particular regard for the Bible (e.g. all essential spiritual truth is to be found in its pages)
â–ª activism, the belief that the Gospel needs to be expressed in effort
â–ª crucicentrism, a focus on the atoning work of Christ on the cross
These four qualities had been the life-blood of evangelicalism and indeed the whole of the Christian faith. The absence of any or some of these sounds a clarion call for the revival of the Christian faith today. It also prompts the question: Are we in danger of compromising any aspect of the Gospel?