The Gospel of Grace and the Gospel of Gush
How wide is the distinction beween the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ and that other gospel of which Paul speaks, and which is indeed no gospel. The real Gospel —the true Gospel— centers in “Jesus Christ ad Him crucified.” It has to do with lost souls, separated by sin from the life of God. It sets forth the fact of sin with no uncertain sound; it includes all men in one class, as sinners without a vestige of righteousness; it presents Jesus Christ as the Saviour of all who are willing to accept Him as their atoning sacrifice and acknowledge him as their Lord and Master. The Gospel of Grace raises penitent rebels to a place of prominence above that of the holy angels; it lays stress upon what God has done through His Son for a ruined world, and glorifies the risen Lord. The Gospel of Grace is a Gospel of Love, founded upon truth and righteousness; it exalts God in His character as Father, Son and Spirit.
The gospel of gush teaches that man is not so very bad; that He has a Divine spark, which only needs to be blown upon by some twentieth century faddist and the spark will he fanned into a flame of holy love. It tells men to cheer up, think good thoughts, believe in himself, turn over a new leaf, chip in and help keep the wheels of the Church machinery moving, and everything will come out right in the end. This gospel denies the personality of Satan and the punishment of the wicked; it has a heaven, but no hell; a Christ but no Cross; a leader, but no Lord; a lamp but no light. It sees sin in the saloon, but no devil in the drawing room; it has soft words for sinners — especially for the cultured criminals; it tells you that the world is growing better every day; gushes about the goodness of God and the magnificence of man; it glorifies those who have gold, and placates the men in high places; at. its shrines it serves soothing sophistries to itching ears. In place of Scripture facts it has silly fables; it denies the doctrines of the Bible and dishes up doctrines of devils. The fruit of this gospel is found in the wishy-washy sentimentalism that prevails everywhere with reference to the Word and work of God. The gospel of gush has no grip upon men. The demand of the day is for strong, sturdy preachers of the pure Gospel of Grace, and zealous followers of the living God.
I love the evangelicalism that flourished about a hundred years ago, just at the beginning of the twentieth century. One of the men who founded the Bible Institute of Los Angeles, T. C. Horton (1848-1932), was in his prime a century ago, and published this editorial in the October 1910 issue of the King’s Business. Since Horton doesn’t name names, there’s no way of knowing who he’s railing against in particular. No doubt it was some sort of modernism or liberalism that he heard from churches in his area. Reading it now, it’s hard not to think of the message preached by Joel Osteen.