Another Gospel

Sadly, many have put their trust in church leaders, then felt betrayed because of their obvious moral failings. The root cause can almost always be traced to Another Gospel: 'God let's me get away with sin because I work hard for Him' (this is called "Works Righteousness").

But remember, Jesus hasn't done anything wrong, and He welcomes "whoever" into His Kingdom not because they work, but because they believe:  

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16) 

That is the Gospel. It is Good News for those that understand the severe and arduous reality of the Old Testament Law, and the easy way to escape it. Soon after Jesus, Paul preached the Gospel too, but soon people wandered away from it:

I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. 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. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed. (Galatians 1:6-9)

The Apostles, the Early Church Fathers for hundreds of years, plus the Catholic, Orthodox, and many other protestant churches to this day, all agree that if you believe, you will be saved. 

Jesus's Gospel says we don't have to worry about whether we are saved (e.g. John 6:47, Romans 8:38-39). Another Gospel says you have no idea, so you better prove it. An honest person would have doubts as to whether they were working hard to be "good enough" just to end up in hell for no apparent reason. But this quickly gets cynical. Being "good" means you have to dress like one of them, talk like one of them, do what they tell you to, and (of course) put money in the offering plate. If you are tired of being unsure, then you need to become one of the church leaders, even become ordained. Then you get to put on their robes so that everyone will tell you how "good" you are. But Jesus had very hard words for people like that:

They tie up heavy burdens and lay them on men’s shoulders, but they themselves are unwilling to move them with so much as a finger. But they do all their deeds to be noticed by men; for they broaden their phylacteries and lengthen the tassels of their garments. They love the place of honor at banquets and the chief seats in the synagogues, and respectful greetings in the market places, and being called Rabbi by men. But do not be called Rabbi; for One is your Teacher, and you are all brothers. Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. Do not be called leaders; for One is your Leader, that is, Christ. But the greatest among you shall be your servant. Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted. But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you shut off the kingdom of heaven from people; for you do not enter in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in. (Matthew 23:4-13)

Doesn't that sound like the worst kind of church? A good church will welcome you without expecting you to serve them. Jesus knows best what to do, and wants us to understand His Word for ourselves. As you read, keep these verses in mind, which help to resolve any supposed contradictions in the Bible:

For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. (Ephesians 2:8-10)

And some churches proudly say they are "saved through faith." But once you understand this, they will ask you "What do you mean by faith?" Unbelievably, they have re-defined Jesus's Word to shoe-horn it into the weird philosophy of Fatalism.

About 400 years after Jesus, Augustine became a follower of a sect of the Gnostics. This was an infamous heresy that believed in Fatalism. Then he converted to Christianity. Though he didn't have Christian training and didn't know Greek (the language that most of the New Testament was originally written in), He quickly became a leader in a church in North Africa. Predictably, he abandoned the Bible and the Early Church Fathers. In 412 he fell back on his Gnostic heresy, which says that God forces people to believe and go to heaven, or prevents them from believing so they go to hell, for no apparent reason.1 Gnostic leaders are the only ones with the "Secret Knowledge" and so they "shut off the kingdom of heaven from people" (as Jesus said above). They do not preach the Gospel. 

This Augustine was certainly not “an angel from heaven” (Galatians 1:8b), so how can we trust anything from a man willing to corrupt a basic fundamental of Christianity? Augustine taught shady Gnostic ideas like Non-Free Free Will, and secretly re-defined simple words like faith (as in Ephesians 2:8-10 above) to mean mind-control. A thousand years later, Martin Luther and John Calvin were big followers of Augustine. They tried to reform the church, but soon their followers fell back on Another Gospel.     

It's strange to even talk about Another Gospel. Some people might say 'Christians can't get their act together - why even get involved?' But that's exactly what their Enemy wants them to think. When I was young, I sincerely asked what I needed to do to go to heaven. I was told 'Just make sure you are a member in good standing of our church.' No, to be sure that you are going to heaven, and to be sure you will receive blessings on earth, simply believe Jesus.

1 See The Foundation of Augustinian-Calvinism by Dr. Ken Wilson. Based on his research, and Augustine’s obvious use of Gnostic/Manichean concepts in his effort to defeat Pelagius, it is very fair to say that many modern churches are founded on the heresy of Gnosticism. Any doctrine that touches on issues as important as salvation should be carefully examined, and it is also very fair to reject anything that so clearly contradicts so many foundational verses in the Bible (e.g. John 3:16). For a scholarly treatment, see the Oxford Dissertation by the same author, Augustine's Conversion from Traditional Free Choice to 'Non-free Free Will': A Comprehensive Methodology. Ken Wilson. Mohr Siebeck, 2018. To-date, this work has never been challenged in a scholarly journal. See also “The Myth of Pelagianism” by Dr. Ali Bonner. For a quick introduction to this topic, see “Ken Wilson Rebuts James White” available on