J.I. Packer on the Modern Gospel

When it comes to the Gospel it is quite possible that we have wholeheartedly claimed it as long as it is comfortable for us. As long as we feel as though God is working within the bounds of what we feel is fair and just. Have we adopted a gospel filled with half-truths that is ultimately not true at all?

I need to wrestle with this and if you are reading this, I think you do too. J.I. Packer writes on our omissions concerning the Gospel in an introduction to The Death of Death by John Owen:

The subject of the old gospel was God and his ways with men; the subject of the new is man and the help God gives him. There is a world of difference… From this change of interest has sprung a change of content, for the new gospel has in effect reformulated the biblical message in the supposed interests of ‘helpfulness’… These doctrines, it would be said, are not ‘helpful’; they would drive sinners to despair, by suggesting to them that it is not in their own power to be saved through Christ. (The possibility that such despair might be salutary is not considered: it is taken for granted that it cannot be, because it is so shattering to our self-esteem.)… the result of these omissions is that part of the biblical gospel is now preached as if it were the whole of that gospel; and a half-truth masquerading as the whole truth becomes a complete untruth.

Thus, we appeal to men as if they all had the ability to receive Christ at any time; we speak of his redeeming work as if he had make it possible for us to save ourselves by believing; we speak of God’s love as if it were no more than a general willingness to receive any who will turn and trust; and we depict the Father and the Son, not as sovereignly active in drawing sinners to themselves, but as waiting inquiet impotence ‘at the door of our hearts’ for us to let them in.

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One thought on “J.I. Packer on the Modern Gospel

  1. Very nice quote! The Old Puritan Gospel is not popular today certainly.

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