Sunday, June 18, 2017

ASK TETH Episode 03 - Hearing and Understanding the Gospel

Do you believe it is possible for people to understand the true gospel without ever hearing it? 

It would seem impossible for someone to have an understanding of the "true gospel" apart from having been instructed in it, which would seem to require hearing. That said, it would be foolish to completely rule out gospel understanding given that God is omnipotent and thus evidently capable of immediately implanting explicit and comprehensive gospel understanding into the mind were he so inclined. However, I don't see evidence of God implanting such comprehensive gospel understanding into the minds of men in the scriptures.
The reason I bring this up is after reading some of your blogs I get the notion that you might think it is possible. 
I think it is possible. But I don't see any scriptural evidence to support that it God has immediately implanted explicit and comprehensive gospel knowledge into one's mind. What say you? Do you believe that this is impossible for God?
For example Charles spurgeon or John Piper you and I agree their doctrines contradict themselves but have they ever heard it properly explained?
I can't really say with certainty whether these men ever heard the gospel properly explained to them. That said, I believe some of the doctrines that they reject as "HyperCalvinism" may give an indication that they have heard a better explanation of the gospel, and summarily rejected it in favor of their beloved and erroneous Well-Meant-Offerism.

I suppose I should state that I do not believe that all of God's elect come to a proper understanding of gospel mechanics during the course of their natural lives. In fact, I believe that a great many of God's regenerate sheep in this world (who fear God and work righteousness, and thus show forth the saving grace of God in their hearts and that they are accepted with him - Acts 10:35) do not come to a proper, biblical understanding of the gospel message of salvation by the grace of Christ during their natural lives. Do they love God? Yes. Do they try to serve him? Yes. Do they understand the gospel to the extent that is possible through right division of the word of God? No. Many of them do not.

This is one of the areas where PBs part company with many Calvinists. We believe that many Arminian Christians are born of the spirit of God, though their understanding opposes the truth in many ways. A great many Calvinists insist that unless one has a proper understanding of salvation by grace that this is an evident token of perdition. We believe that to take this position is to express an error that is ironically quite Arminian. The Arminian insists that man must DO something in order to be eternally saved. Many Calvinists insist that man must UNDERSTAND something in order to be eternally saved. Primitive Baptists are not nearly so sanguine about either man's DOING or UNDERSTANDING, and instead place all our confidence on the gospel promise that Christ himself fulfilled ALL of the requirements on behalf of his covenant people (Matthew 1:21) and that all one ever sees in a child of God is an imperfect, ex post facto evidence of saving grace already imparted to them (Galatians 5:22) and that this by no means insures a proper biblical understanding of gospel mechanics for all of God’s elect people.

Or so it seems to me,


  1. Hi, what do you think I should do? Christians are supposed to be the salt and the light of the world. But I have lost my light, because I became very worldly in front of my friends who are unbelievers. I sin together with them. Basically, the Lord's reputation has been tarnished by me. How are my friends going to believe the gospel if I preach to them? They are going to think, "You are not even behaving like a Christian, why should we believe the gospel?"

    Another problem I have is, I delayed preaching the gospel to my friends. I mean I should have preached the good news to them the moment they became my friends, but I have waited for 3 years and I have not even told them about Jesus. If I preach to them now, they are going to think, "If hell is real, and by what you said that we are going to hell because we are sinners, then why did you not tell me this earlier? Do you not care about our souls that you have waited for 3 years to tell me this?"

    What should I do? I'm going to be ashamed when I preach the gospel to them.

    1. Repent of your practice of sin. Extract yourself from the practice of sin and the company of those who insist upon it. When people ask you why you have withdrawn share your conviction regarding the person and work of Christ. Keep following the Lord in obedience and strive to prevent sin from becoming a stumbling block in your life by looking to build good Christian friendships and spending time serving the Lord.

      May God bless your walk,

  2. How do I focus on God especially if I'm working, from morning to evening, where there is endless distraction? I can't just simply avoid these distractions since I'm working.
    I find that the things of the world like work occupy my mind, leaving no room for God. I still seek God by reading his Word at night, but whenever I'm outside, my mind wanders away from God.

    1. ANON: How do I focus on God especially if I'm working, from morning to evening, where there is endless distraction? I can't just simply avoid these distractions since I'm working.

      TETH: I think a lot of people are struggling with busy lives that have a way of crowding out spiritual thoughts. I would recommend the following:

      1. Recognize that your work is a form of worship and the way you go about doing your work gives a testimony regarding your sincere belief in God and his kingdom. (Colossians 3:17) So don't unnecessarily bifurcate your life into WORK and GOD. The truth is that these things overlap with each other and you can view how you work as a means of worshipping God. This may provide a motivation for doing a good job that having a terrible boss (for example) might not.

      2. Consider music. Many of the old hymns are very singable (hummable) tunes that stick in your head, and the lyrics are often closely drawn from texts of scripture. I believe it is good to think about these things and sing them to yourself as you work as a way of setting your mind on spiritual things. This is easier to do if your work is physical in nature.

      ANON: I find that the things of the world like work occupy my mind, leaving no room for God.

      TETH: I too have worked in environments that require a lot of mental horsepower to get the work done and it is true that this can dominate one's thoughts to such a degree that it is hard to be "spiritual" in the midst of it all. This is probably not unusual for a season, but if one's job is all engrossing it will likely have some pretty negative outcomes in your spiritual life. Not just in your thoughts regarding God but in your marriage and in your relationship with your children and others. I think one must look at that matter seriously and it might be good to consider another line of work that allows for a more balanced approach to life. Having one's job dominate every aspect of their existence is a recipe for unhealthy asymmetry.

      ANON: I still seek God by reading his Word at night, but whenever I'm outside, my mind wanders away from God.

      TETH: I think that is normal and most people struggle with this problem, especially those who have jobs that require a LOT of thinking. If you're running a leaf blower you can put on headphones and listen to sermons or hymns or the bible and just dwell on that. But if you're trying to write, or balance a set of accounts, or do a sales presentation, that luxury is not available to you, at least not in such large quantities. Still you can look for opportunities to set your mind on spiritual things during the day. During your commute or at lunch for example.

      May God bless your efforts to set your mind on him more each day,

    2. This should clear up any confusion: So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.