Just proclaim the Gospel! (aka too many competing messages)

Several weeks ago, I came across blogger B’s post (see here), which criticized other Christians for using WordPress “to tell you why they ‘aren’t like those guys over there.’ As in… atheism, evolution, and scientific understanding.” The blogger’s point was that we should spend all of our energies positively proclaiming the Gospel rather than engaging in “negative declamation.”

I’ve seen and heard this criticism many times over the years, that it’s counterproductive for Christians to examine and engage atheism and false gospels (e.g., Roman Catholicism) and that Christians should just concentrate solely on proclaiming the Gospel.

This type of reasoning strongly appeals to today’s Christians in this post-modern era when the culture’s idolization of “inclusivity,” “tolerance,” “plurality,” and “relativism” is seeping into the church. Confronting false gospels and false ideologies has become absolutely repugnant to many Christians as exemplified by this particular blogger.

But what is the Biblical standard? Does God’s Word tell us to “just proclaim the Gospel” and to avoid all “negative declamation”?

When we read the New Testament, we see that Jesus Christ, the apostle Paul, and the other inspired writers of the New Testament epistles actually devoted quite a bit of attention to warning about false teachers and false gospels.

Jesus stated, “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. – Matthew 7:15

Peter wrote, “But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction.” – 2 Peter 2:1

John wrote, “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.” – 1 John 4:1

Paul’s entire Letter to the Galatians is a warning about false teachers and false Gospels.

Okay, what about atheism or other “isms”?

“We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ.” – 2 Corinthians 10:5

“But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect.” – 1 Peter 3:15

“And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth.” – 2 Timothy 2:24-25

See many more relevant Scripture verses here.

The “Just proclaim the Gospel” philosophy appeals to many in this increasingly relativistic culture, but it’s not supported by Scripture. As Christians, we must deal with nitty-gritty questions like, “What is the Gospel?” and “What isn’t the Gospel?” and “Why should I believe the Bible?” To contend otherwise is naive and un-Biblical. I love the devotional posts here at WordPress, but they’re not helpful for atheists or deluded pseudo-Christians (e.g., Roman Catholics) who think they’re spiritually fine.

Yes, believers are commanded to preach the Good News! Gospel of salvation by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone, but there is also an abundance of Scriptural warrant for delineating and defending the faith and pointing out error.

37 thoughts on “Just proclaim the Gospel! (aka too many competing messages)

  1. It’s helpful to know why false teachings are wrong. I’ve learned better context of scripture listening to pastors break down errors from false teachers who twist scripture. Great post! Appreciate the scripture references.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks, T.R. I’m mindful of our previous church where we sat under preaching for four years and never once heard a warning about false teachers and false churches. I guess they also thought that would be “negative declamation.”

      Liked by 2 people

      1. So many people really don’t see the red flags because the Gospel hasn’t been taught to the degree there is a right and wrong way to Christ. If we really make it about the Gospel, we should see how Christ is set apart in holiness, which includes seeing how false teachings fall away from the truth.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yes, I think preaching the Gospel in the larger context, like weekly worship service, should include to some degree what isn’t the Gospel.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Yari. Yes, apologetics and discernment ministries that address error are now viewed as negative and discourteous in this increasingly relativistic age.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. thank you at least for using the same picture, if not linking to my full post. i understand that we disagree. but it would be a brotherly gesture to at least allow others to read my entire post. Thx. -barabbas

    Liked by 1 person

  3. 1 John is another letter that is all about warning believers about false teachers! While my blog isn’t geared as a discernment blog, I am absolutely not afraid to call out what I think and see is wrong in the Church today. I am grateful for the way that God has you explain Romanism to us, Tom. Sometimes I think discernment ministries could be more charitable and sound less hostile, but I do understand the frustrations that comes with believers not heeding sound counsel. Keep going Tom, your message is needed now more than ever!!!!!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Mandy, thank you for the support and encouragement! Yes, discernment ministries can lapse into meanness and arrogance. It’s always a challenge. I love the 1.4 billion Catholic souls, but hate the RC system that’s teaching them to merit their salvation. Elijah was certainly forceful in confronting the prophets of Baal (1 Kings 18:20-40), but discernment is needed, especially regarding outreach to individuals as opposed to confronting the system. Within popular evangelical apologetics, the pendulum has swung way too far to the side of deference, accommodation, and compromise, at least when it comes to certain heretical churches, and that is frustrating.
      Sorry, I’m not directing the above at you, but just thinking aloud about the challenges of discernment ministry in today’s increasingly ecumenical and relativistic church.
      Thanks again for your support. It means a lot.

      Liked by 3 people

  4. Thanks brother. Yes, we need to call out false teachers and prophets. AND … we need to preach the good news of the saving grace of Jesus. I think that is where your last paragraph is heading.

    Blessings for your faithfulness to proclaiming the good news.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Absolutely. I’ve been working for the Lord via this discernment blog for almost eight years so our views on this topic are radically opposed, but I meant no personal insult.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Coolio. No insult taken. I’ve been a Christian for 41yrs and was in ministry of some sort for 25 or so of those. My main point is.. that sometimes in “wrangling” with issues to “convince” others that we are right and they are wrong is deceptively avoidant… is that a word even?… of our primary role just to proclaim the Gospel itself, trusting the HS to do the “convicting and convincing”. Avoidant.. there’s that (non)word again… because it’s easier to argue and dismiss the other person as “wrong” than to incur the possible shame and ridicule… the charge of “foolishness” that Paul talks about in 1 Corinthians… for the sake of Christ and the Gospel. (Ie. It allows us to “save face” while at the same time seeming to “share the gospel”). That’s all I’m really saying, from my point of view of having been and evangelist, teacher and missionary. Thx again for the opportunity to explain myself, brother. -barabbas

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thanks, Barabbas. We certainly agree that the church’s (and believers’) main focus should be sowing the Gospel. I agree that those in discernment ministry can get wrapped around the axle over theological minutiae while avoiding/neglecting sowing the Gospel. But the Body also sorely needs those with the gift of discernment (especially in this present era when pop evangelical apologists are saying “Close enough” to aberrant churches). I wouldn’t want to attend a church that spends a great deal of time focusing on cults and heterodox churches nor would I want to attend a church that never spoke about false teachers and false churches (did that from 2015-2020). So I definitely see a growing need out there for discernment (as experience and emotion increasingly substitute for doctrine), but, yes, sowing the Gospel is preeminent.


  5. Great post! I’ve studied a lot of false teachings. I came out of Roman Catholicism, studied Mormonism and spent time in Utah sharing the real gospel to Mormons. I’ve had Mormon Missionaries in my home, as well as Jehovah’s Witnesses. I write for GotQuestions.org and my specialties are in Roman Catholicism and cults. False religion wants to paint itself as “real,” “genuine,” and “the one true church.” Like wolves in sheep’s clothing, a shepherd’s job is to warn the sheep of danger and keep them from it. Not only that, but the Sheepdog, a.k.a — Evangelist, also is to not only warn, but to herd the sheep away from danger.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks, Frank. Lord bless your outreach and many ministries. I previously wrote to someone else that I sat under our previous pastor for four years without hearing one warning about false churches or cults. Pastors have shirked their duty of warning the sheep because they’ve bought into this “don’t be negative” philosophy.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Hi Tom, your stance is well received here as there are numerous Scriptures advocating that we as Christians have the responsibility to both challenge and correct those who teach or propagate a Gospel that is contrary to the Gospel we have received in God’s Holy Word. The additional challenge, as you have identified, is to differentiate and focus our opposition as it pertains to the subject being discussed, as opposed to the individual stating it, which, I grant you, is not always easy but is still required and necessary. I’m still working on that learning curve too! Blessings!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Bruce! Amen to all of your comments. Yes, discernment ministry requires discernment in engagement and I’m still learning. Blessings to you!


  7. I completely agree, Tom. Isn’t this called “new evangelicalism”. They don’t say anything negative. Sadly, this type of thinking has taken over the church. The silence in the church is deafening. Thanks Tom, keep going. 🙌🏻 👍

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Cathy. Yes, this type of thinking HAS taken over the church (and the majority of the Christian blogging community here at WP). At the previous church we attended, there wasn’t a single word about false teachers or false churches in a span of four years.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Just finished reading this; I think the NT mentioned a lot about false teaching; so there’s a place to defend the Gospel and “press the antithesis” to use Van Til’s phrase. Of course we must not do it in a ungodly manner. But these days we are in a time where being one who speak out about what’s false is the new blasphemy

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, brother! Yup, this inclusive “We all just love Jesus” attitude with the ignoring of right doctrine is pervading the church.


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