We are continuing the special series by Greg Schliesmann
Paul’s idea of “the gospel” through which the Corinthians were regenerated in 1Cor 4:15 is certainly no different than “the gospel” aka “the message of the cross” we read about in 1Cor 1:17-21 and will read about in 1Cor 15:1-4.
Yet, again, crossless gospel proponents deny that the term “the gospel” DOES have a technical usage that refers to the essential message of salvation.
Exhibit E: 1 Corinthians 15:1-4
My comments about this will be brief as I have already made longer posts on this specific passage. Crossless gospel advocates correctly point out that v. 2 is properly translated “are being saved” and does not refer to salvation from hell. It refers to second-tense salvation of believers. However, Paul’s point is that the Corinthians initially “received” this message when he “evangelized it” to them at a certain time in the past. This certain time in the past certainly refers to the same thing as 1Cor. 4:15, when Paul begot the Corinthians “through the gospel”. Notice he says this is the message he delivered “first of all” (en protois).
I think the idea that “Christ died for sins” and rose again is ONLY “good news” for BELIEVERS, not “the gospel” for the lost is so absurd it hardly needs comment. I do not believe specifically emphasizes every aspect of the gospel, but it focuses on the foundational truth that counters the Corinthian heresy. But I believe this passage proves that the gospel message focuses on Christ’s “death for our sins” and resurrection, though this is NOT to the exclusion of Christ’s promise of salvation by faith alone which is implied when Christ’s DEATH “for our sins” is properly understood, nor to the exclusion of the essential facts that define WHO this Christ is. The very mention of “Christ” or “Jesus” as the main character of the message of salvation raises the question, “who is He?”
GES advocates love to claim that if we say this passage references the gospel brought to the lost, then we must say Christ’s burial and witness by 500 are part of the gospel. Instead, they insist this is just good news to believers–not “the gospel” for the lost. Antonio da Rosa has remarked that each of the clauses in v. 4, 5, 6, 7 begins with hoti, and somehow that is supposed to mean that they are equivalent as essential elements to the gospel.
But I wonder if they are so treacherous in their own application of this passage!? Let’s pretend for a minute that crossless gospel advocates are actually correct by contending that “the gospel” here applies only to believers. Do they seriously insist that believers must “hold fast” to the truths of who saw Christ first, second, and third and how many people saw him in order be sanctified? No, I assume not. I do not think they would tell a believer that he could not grow as a Christian because he forgot who saw Christ first, second, and third. Instead, if that question actually came up in their own congregations, they would probably get some common sense really fast. They would explain to believers the burial is mentioned as proof of His death, and the witnesses are mentioned as proof of His resurrection.
Allow me to make a second point. Paul says this gospel is “according to the Scriptures”. This phrase only modifies Christ’s death for sins and resurrection in v. 3 and v. 4 about the death and resurrection of Christ “He died for our sins according to the Scriptures” and “He rose from the dead according to the Scriptures”. Aside from that, we know the Scriptures did not predict anything referenced in vv. 5-10 regarding who saw Christ. In Romans 1:2, Paul indicated that the gospel was promised before in the Scriptures. The extra elements Paul mentions do not constitute the truths promised before in the Scriptures but serve as proofs of them.
Exhibit F: 2 Corinthians 4:3-4
Once again, the thing that separates the “lost” from the saved is “the glorious gospel of Christ”.
Yet crossless gospel proponents argue there is no such thing called “the gospel” that the lost must believe to be saved.
Please continue the series at The Technical Meaning of the Term, “The Gospel,” Part 4