THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST ACCORDING TO DAVID WILKERSON
A BIBLICAL PERSPECTIVE
[David Wilkerson, May 10, 2004, 'The Gospel of Jesus Christ', World Challenge, Inc. Publications, Times Square Church Pulpit Series]:
"What is the true gospel of Jesus Christ? Even most non-believers know the Bible contains four gospel accounts, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.
[Bad way to start because there aren't four different accounts of the gospel of eternal life. There is only one way to heaven as declared throughout the bible without exception: a moment of faith alone in Christ alone + nothing else]
So, what is the essence of these gospels, or 'the good news'?
When Christians speak of the gospel of Jesus Christ, what is it we're talking about?
Scripture gives us several definitions of what this gospel is.
[This leaves the gospel open to the possibility that the gospel has more than one definition, i.e., more than one way to heaven and that one must study many passages in order to determine what one must do to go to heaven - in essence, one must master the whole bible in order to secure eternal life]
And we're to use these biblical definitions to determine whether the true gospel of Christ is alive in His church.
1) JESUS SAYS HIS CHURCH IS ONE OF SELF-DENIAL AND A CROSS
[This is obviously a faulty statement because the gospel is the good news of what a man must do to be saved, not that which the church of already saved individuals must do]
'''Then Jesus said to His disciples, "If anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me." '''
[This is not the gospel. It is obviously a passage on how to become a disciple, i.e., how an already saved individual can become a disciple, i.e., a follower of Jesus Christ. Notice that there is nothing in this passage that indicates what it takes for one to gain eternal life. The concept of losing one's life or soul which occurs later on in the passage refers not to eternal life but to the loss of the value of one's life in eternity relative to eternal rewards and not to the securing of eternal life.
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Clearly, belonging to Jesus' church means more than merely believing in Him.
[The bible teaches that a moment of faith alone in Christ alone + nothing else is all that is needed to have eternal life and immediately and forever become part of the Body of Christ, the Church:
"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."
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Once one believes in the gospel one is immediately placed into Christ by the Holy Spirit Who is a guarantee of one's redemption:
(v. 13) "And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit,
(v. 14) Who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession--to the praise of his glory."
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Many Christians today merely 'cast a vote for Jesus.' Their attitude is, 'I voted for Christ. That makes me a member of His party.' But once they cast their vote, they walk away and forget all about His Lordship over their lives.
[Scripture indicates that when one becomes a believer, i.e., casts a vote of faith alone in Christ alone and when that believer sins, God's grace covers that sin wherein the believer does not lose or invalidate his salvation because of God's grace - he is truly saved and always will remain saved.
But should he do this? Paul says absolutely not, the believer died to sin, i.e., it's control over him, so he should not continue in sin. But it is indeed the choice of the believer]:
(v. 20) "The law was added so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more,
(v. 21) so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
(v. 6:1) What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase?
(v. 2) By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?"
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Jesus says belonging to His church goes much further than that. It means committing to follow him. And that involves a life of self-denial and taking up a cross.
[Know anyone who can do this to God's satisfaction - a life of self-denial and taking up a cross?????
[Compare Mk 10:27]:
''' Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God." '''
Hence salvation is not of man's doing and all of God's through His one and only Son, Jesus Christ]
"and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me."
[Committing to follow Jesus, taking up ones cross, etc., etc., are all part of being a disciple not part of what one must do to have the free gift of eternal life. Eternal life, i.e., being saved unto eternal life is not of oneself, not of works, all by the grace of God, a free gift; hence excluding human effort such as following Jesus or taking up one's cross in order to be saved:
(v. 8) For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this [salvation is] not from yourselves, it is the gift of God--
(v. 9) not by works, so that no one can boast."]
Author Wilkerson has typically read into the passage in Mt 10 what is not there. It certainly is NOT a passage on what a man must do to go to heaven:
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Our Lord makes it clear: 'If you're in my church, then be prepared to suffer and be persecuted for your faith in me. Be prepared to deny yourself all fame, acceptance and worldy pleasure-seeking. People are going to nail you to a cross of ridicule, a cross of condescension, a cross of alienation. And they'll do it because you hunger and thirst after me. If you belong to my church, a cross is sure to follow.'
[This is not in Scripture anywhere as Wilkerson states it here as required that a man must do to have eternal life. These points are certainly not presented as what an individual must exemplify in his life in order to prove out or receive his salvation.
The believer is called to do these things and suffer these things, but there are no guarantees that he will cooperate and to what degree he will cooperate - and certainly not to attain eternal life.
One might ask 'to what degree must one suffer, be persecuted, deny oneself, take up his cross in order to prove out or secure one's salvation? Surely God demands nothing short of His holiness. Hence this is impossible with man on either side of salvation in order to satisfy a Holy God unto salvation. Hence all are lost in accordance with Wilkerson's theology.
It is interesting to note that most of the persecution I have received has been from those who espouse Wilkerson's theology]
The fact is, Christ's church has never been approved or accepted by the world. And it never will be. If you live for Jesus, you won't have to separate yourself from others' company: they'll do it for you. All you have to do is live for him. Suddenly, you'll find yourself reproached, rejected, called evil:
"Blessed are you when men hate you, when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man."
Yet, Jesus adds, this is the path that leads to true fulfillment.
[Notice the word 'fulfillment' - Wilkerson's very word. He does not say leads to eternal life. Yet Wilkerson maintains that this is the ongoing path a man must continually make an effort to be on in order to attain eternal life - an impossible task to perform to God's satisfaction]
"For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it."
[Again, Mr. Wilkerson takes this verse out of context. This is not about salvation unto eternal life, but the walk of a disciple of an already saved individual in order to save the value of his life by following Christ. Consider this, . on this passage ]
In other words: 'The only way you'll find meaning in life is by selling out your all for me. Then you'll find true joy, peace and satisfaction.'
[I couldn't agree more, but notice that the subject is NOT salvation unto eternal life but finding true meaning, joy, peace and satisfaction IN THIS LIFE for an already saved believer!!!! Hence Wilkerson has again taken this passage out of context and even inadvertently admits to the different context by his comment which has nothing to do with what it takes to secure eternal life.]
Christ tells us, 'My church is without spot or wrinkle. So when you come to me, you must be willing to lay down all sins. You must surrender all to Me, to die completely to self, to all ungodly ambition and ego.
[Know anyone who can do this to God's satisfaction???? This is tantamount to demanding sinless perfection or at least a promise therein and it declares the capacity of the unbeliever to promise and follow through on sinless perfection]
By faith, you'll be buried with Me. But I will raise you up into new life.
[Wilkerson has taken to editorialize Romans chapter 6 by implying that by faith one is buried with Christ and as a result will be raised up into a new life of perfect holiness. But if he took the trouble to read ALL of the chapter, he would have discovered that the one who expresses faith in Christ does not have a surety of a perfectly holy life. Rather he is exhorted not to offer the parts of his body to unrighteousness.
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Think about what it means to be without spot or wrinkle. We know a spot is a stain. But what about a wrinkle? Have you ever heard the phrase, 'a new wrinkle'? It means adding a new idea to an existing concept. A wrinkle, in that sense, applies to those who try to improve on the gospel. It suggests an easy way to attain heaven, without full surrender to Christ.
[Know anyone who has given absolutely full surrender to Christ all his life - without failing? Know anyone who can??? It is unbiblical, absurd and impossible to demand that an individual fully surrender to Christ without failure in order to attain heaven, especially in the light of so many passages that indicate salvation is by grace through faith, a free gift, not of yourselves, not by works (Eph 2:8-9).
BTW the phrase 'without wrinkle' has nothing to do in the context of the passage with 'adding a new idea to try to improve on the gospel' as Wilkerson states. It simply refers to being perfect - perfect because God Himself declares the believer perfect because of the believer's expression of a moment of faith alone in His Son alone. This is what the doctrine of justification by faith is all about.
.on the subject of justification by faith alone in Christ alone
MORE OF THE SAME
The rest of Wilkerson's article continues to demand more and more perfection of the believer all his life in order to attain eternal life.
Rather than to continue a detailed critique of each fallacy, I've taken the liberty of linking each passage Wilkerson refers to so as to provide a biblical perspective on the issues he brings up:
This passage does NOT refer to an 'open confession of repentance' as Wilkerson maintains. It says "if you confess with your mouth 'Jesus is Lord' ". So that's what it plainly means. The word confession actually means confession like the dictionary says. Repentance , which word or concept is ABSENT in the passage, is one thing and confession is another. Confession in Romans chapter 10 literally means to say the same thing, i.e., to acknowledge what is evident already on the mind - that 'Jesus is Lord' as a result of being justified by faith - like the verse says.
An individual may confess that Jesus is Lord when he becomes justified, i.e., saved by faith alone in Christ alone as Savior, (v. 9b). Then and only then can an individual confess Jesus as Lord - after he is justified by faith alone - at which time another kind of salvation occurs after one has been justified by faith alone unto eternal life: the salvation / preservation of the value of those things one did unto faithfulness as already justified individuals unto eternal rewards in heaven.
Repentance unto salvation is faith unto salvation. It is not repentant behavior but a repentance from not believing in Christ as Savior to believing in Christ as Savior. It does not involve any human doing such as behaving better or being sorry: