The gospel that was crystal clear to the first-century church and began a world revolution isn’t as clear to the twenty-first century church. Not only is there confusion, but also the church’s lack of clarity has led to an escalation of churches that preach a false gospel. This reality should cause us all to sit up, pay attention, and take a good, hard look at the gospel we’re preaching.Hebrews 2:1 warns: “We must listen very carefully to the truth we have heard, or we may drift away from it.” We need a gospel renaissance. At various points along the timeline of history, the church has drifted from preaching Jesus’ gospel to instead peddling different gospels, which are nothing more than cheap, powerless imitations. I (Bill) have identified six different “gospels” being preached today: the forgiveness-only gospel, the gospel of the left, the prosperity gospel, the consumer gospel, and the gospel of the right. Then, there’s the gospel of the kingdom—the sixth gospel being preached today.
This is an excerpt from The Discipleship Gospel, which you can purchase here.
Each of the first five gospels sound different, emphasize different theological preferences, and call people to different responses—and none of them includes discipleship. They all separate conversion from discipleship, thus making discipleship optional. This separation should be deeply disturbing to the church. Not only are we cloudy about what the true gospel is, but we’re also surrounded with all kinds of different, false gospels, which, as we said earlier, are really no gospels at all (and Paul says this in Galatians 1:7). We need a gospel renaissance. We need the gospel of the kingdom, which Bill Hull and Ben Sobels call “The Discipleship Gospel.”