WHAT IS “ANOTHER GOSPEL”?
Leslie M. John
“But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before them all, If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews?” (Galatians 2:14)
Apostle Paul rebuked Apostle Peter on a reason and that was surely a very stiff and open rebuke. It was not a private rebuke or admonition but a strong reproof of what Peter did. Did Peter deserve rebuke? According to the prevailing situation the rebuke was appropriate. Man is saved by grace through faith in Jesus and not by works or Mosaic Law. Paul surely taught the right doctrine about salvation. But did Peter and Paul preach different gospels? No. If Peter preached different Gospel he could be called accursed.
“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” (Galatians 1:8).
Gospel is good news and the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the good news of Jesus Christ. Gospel preached should speak about the grace of God and the salvation by grace through faith. The message should stress on the efficacy of the blood of Jesus Christ and the finished works of Lord Jesus Christ on the Cross. If the message does not speak about grace, and lays condition that law and grace as the means to receive salvation then that is “another gospel”.
Did you hear any one giving more importance to Paul than to Peter? Beware of doctrines from such an one! Either he is misguiding out of innocence or deliberately diverting to another doctrine! All the disciples preached salvation by Grace through faith in Jesus.
Peter’s audience was initially of Jews and he was obedient to the commission from Jesus. Peter and Paul had different assignments in the beginning, but not to cover their whole ministry. Peter was hypocritical when he sat to eat with Gentiles and then he withdrew from them on seeing when he saw James and others.
“For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision”. (Galatians 2:12)
That was the reason why Paul said …
“But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed”. (Galatians 2:11)
Paul spoke on Peter’s face so confidently and bluntly that Peter was wrong on his hypocritical behavior thus affirming that Paul was equal in status as of Peter and other disciples to be called as an Apostle of Jesus Christ.
Paul’s confrontation with Peter was like an younger brother pointing a mistake of elder brother openly because of the offense elder brother had caused openly. Paul said that the Gospel of preaching to Jews was given to Peter and of Preaching to Gentiles was given to Paul.
(“For he that wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision, the same was mighty in me toward the Gentiles” [Galatians 2:8])
We do not have sufficient evidence in the Scriptures about the time gap between Peter’s preaching to Jewish audience and to Cornelius, an uncircumcised Gentle and then to other Gentiles. It is purely speculation that Peter did not preach to Gentiles. Peter surely knew the commission given in Acts 1:8. Peter did not retort at the rebuke of Paul; but rather he supported Paul at Jerusalem council in very gentlemanly way.
“And when there had been much disputing, Peter rose up, and said unto them, Men and brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe”. (Acts 15:7)
Peter approved Paul’s message, which shows that Paul is not greater than Peter to say that God gave Paul an extra-ordinary authority over Peter and on doctrines. This very strong point a group of believers contend saying Paul had the authority over the doctrines of salvation to Gentiles.
“And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you” (2 Peter 3:15)
“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation” (Romans 10:9-10)