How should you respond to the people who show up at your door on Saturday morning, wanting you to take their literature from the Watchtower Society, or claiming to be Christians from the Church of Jesus Christ, Latter Day Saints (if they actually come out and tell you)? What about the guy on television who proclaims that sin is nothing more than a poor self-image? Or the pastor of the church down the road who suggests you just need to be nice to make it to glory?
In our pluralistic society that touts “tolerance” as the greatest virtue, we too easily shy away from a willingness to declare unequivocally that someone else’s view on a religious issue is in error. We’ve seen the effects of the radical extremists who blow up buildings, planes, and themselves, and we don’t want others to think we’re like them…so we don’t say anything. How long is it before evangelical Christians of such ilk accept as brothers those who distort the Gospel? Frankly, it’s already happening!
Should it be?
In Galatians 1, Paul had some very sober things to say about anyone who proclaims any kind of “gospel” that is a distortion of the Gospel of Jesus Christ (which you can see simply, accurately laid out for you on our What We Believe page). Read what he said and ponder how well this would go over in your local newspaper: “But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.” And to show how serious he is, he repeats the same statement in the next verse (vv. 8-9)!
This is very strong language. When he says, “let him be accursed,” he’s not mincing words! The term “accursed” in the Greek language is anathema, and it means “being given over or devoted to divine condemnation; devoted to God without being redeemed; doomed to destruction.”
Wow, why such harsh language?
Why is it such a big deal?
That those questions are even asked reveals more about our lack of understanding and the impact of societal attitudes than we care to admit.
Why? Because to distort the Gospel is to damn someone to hell! If I can convince you that the path to salvation is paved by reading your Bible every day, and you do so, I have given you a message that seals your doom! Every convert won to Mormonism, the Watchtower Society, the self-esteem “gospel” and so on is an eternal soul doomed to eternal condemnation unless they repent and receive the true Gospel—the one Paul himself proclaimed.
This is extremely serious.
Those Saturday morning door-knockers look nice and clean-cut, smile, and are very friendly…but they proclaim another, soul-damning gospel! When they come to your door, give them a tract outlining the true Gospel of Jesus Christ (for example, The Bridge to Eternal Life is excellent), pray that the Holy Spirit opens their understanding.
But whatever you do, don’t accept them as just another twist on Christianity!