THAT'S JUST YOUR OPINION!
A SCRIPTURAL REBUTTAL OF THE UNFOUNDED CLAIMS OF THOSE WHO SAY THAT NO ONE KNOWS WHAT THE GOSPEL OF GOD IS AND THAT THE GOSPEL OF GOD IS LOST
Oftentimes when in the process of declaring the teachings of the Gospel of God, the doctrines of salvation by grace, one is met with the all-too-commonly heard phrase, 'That's just your opinion'. Many true Christians are very familiar with this and similar vain attempts at dismissing the Truth of God. Sadly, this senseless and rather childish form of refutation is also, at times, accompanied by some form of verbal abuse even from professing Christians. Deny the Message and belittle the messenger is the standard method of operation routinely utilized by the enemies of the Gospel. But what does such an accusation really mean? What motivates the mindset of those whose reply to the Truth is, 'Well, that's just your opinion', or, 'That's just your point of view', or, 'That's just your interpretation'? What do they suppose to prove or gain by such remarks, and where does such a psychology of reasoning actually lead to? What is the mindset behind them and is this way of thinking in accordance with Scripture, or does it stand in contrast to, and therefore in defiance of, Truth? This book will examine just exactly what a person is really saying and what the implications are of such comments, made after hearing the Gospel of God, as well as the consequences of such remarks. And, what it all means for the unchangeable, infallible and never-shall-pass-away Word of God, the Gospel, as well as the spiritual condition of the people who make such statements.
How often it is heard. You are in the midst of joyfully explaining what God's teaching on the Gospel of salvation is, or gently and Scripturally pointing out someone's error concerning what a particular Scripture, or passage of verses, is saying, when you are suddenly met with, and rudely interrupted by, the response, 'That's just your opinion'. Often such a remark is the last thing you hear before the person abruptly leaves, or hangs up on you, or ceases their correspondence with you. Such people believe one of two things: (1) that the Gospel of God is lost, therefore, no one knows, or can know, what the true Gospel of God is. The conclusion which they have arrived at is that the best anyone can have is a mixed gospel of error and truth, and so all anyone really has is not the Gospel of God itself but only one's private perspective of what the Gospel is; (2) that only the gospel they believe is the one true Gospel of God. If their claim is that they know what the True Gospel of God is, and so what we are saying is merely just our view of what the Truth is, why then do they not remain and calmly explain to us why they are so convinced that what we believe is merely opinion and that what they believe transcends opinion because it is the actual, true Gospel of God? If they say that the Gospel I have is not God's Gospel, then it must mean, according to their opinion, that I must have another gospel which cannot save. If they are so sure my Gospel is not God's Gospel then they must be equally as positive that their gospel is not another gospel but that they in point of fact have the true Gospel of God, or at least have a truer gospel than mine. And yet many of these people say that no one knows what the Gospel is! HOW THEN CAN A PERSON RIGHTLY JUDGE SOMETHING TO BE WRONG WHEN THEY ADMIT THEY DO NOT KNOW WHAT IS RIGHT? If they do not claim to know the true Gospel of God but believe the Gospel of God is lost, how are they able to so readily, and with seeming authority, discount my Gospel as being the true Gospel of God? How can they possibly accuse me of not having the true Gospel when they openly confess to not knowing it? What is it that makes them so emotionally, and at times violently, convinced that my Gospel is not the true Gospel of God and that they know better?
As we shall see in our study, Scripture teaches that God has only one Gospel. Only one Divine Plan for the salvation of His people. If it is not God's Gospel which you believe then whose is it? Whose gospel can save apart from God's Gospel? Do these people who oppose, deny and even attack the True Gospel really believe that no one can know the Gospel and so, therefore, anyone who says they do know it is not to be taken seriously? Or do they feel confronted and challenged, even threatened, by the Truth they are hearing. What is it that makes them feel so uncomfortable when they hear the true Gospel? So uncomfortable in fact that they quickly attempt to conveniently brush it all off as just another person's worthless opinion. That the truth they are hearing is not truth to them and so cannot be truth at all. Are they offended by our boldness when we say that what we are sharing with them is the very Truth of God: This is Who God is and this is how God saves? Is there anything such people believe is the actual Truth of God, or do they subscribe to the lie that there is no absolute Truth when it comes to God, and in particular what the Gospel of God is. Has the past two thousand years of the constant retelling of what the Gospel of God is in reality left it open to error? Has the giving of the Gospel to sinful, imperfect man been its ultimate downfall leaving even the elect of God with only a warped view of what God's Gospel is? Has man irreparably damaged God's Gospel to the point that God is no longer capable of conveying the Message of His only Gospel to His people? Is there now no way of telling what the Gospel of God is, but only what it is not? That all any imperfect man has can at best be described as a view, an interpretation of the Truth but never the Truth, never the Gospel? Are all men now ruled and guided by unverifiable speculation and theory rather than the Truth of God? If the Gospel of God is lost, then God is forever lost to man for the Gospel is that which contains the Truth about Who God is and how God saves. If the truth of that which must be believed is lost then we are all yet in our sins and are doomed to an eternity in Hell! If the Gospel of the Truth of God is lost, and as a consequence can never be known, why bother to believe anything? What would belief matter? What would faith matter? What would truth matter, indeed, what would God matter? IF TRUTH IS LOST ALL IS LOST!
If the Gospel of God is lost when exactly did it go from being something revealed by God, known, received and trusted in by all His people, to something which is no longer identifiable as God's unique Gospel? Has God lost the ability to reveal His Gospel to His people or can the Truth of God no longer circumvent the sinfulness of man? Cannot the Almighty God make anyone alive to His Gospel Truth any longer? Has man's sinful imperfection finally overcome the will of God in revealing His Gospel to His people? If so, when exactly did all this happen and where on earth is the proof? When exactly did the Gospel of God go from being something essential to salvation to something which is no longer necessary to salvation in the life of someone claiming to be a Christian? Many who do not know the Gospel of God claim it is forever lost, and therefore something which is forever confined to the realm of speculation? BUT WHERE IS THE EVIDENCE? How can it be that throughout the world man has been able to keep intact many ancient religious parchments, teachings and traditions and yet the Sovereign and Almighty God has been unable to protect His most precious doctrines which deal with man and salvation? And why do 'Christian churches' refer to some of their services as 'a Gospel service' when they don't even know what the Gospel is? Do all the doctrinal disparities between the billions who call themselves Christian preclude any of them from actually having the True Gospel? Must all who claim to be Christian agree perfectly with one another for God's Gospel to still be in existence? Does disagreement over what the Gospel is mean there is no true Gospel or no way of ever knowing what it is? Is one's own personal interpretation of the Truth, rather than the Truth itself, all that anyone has been left with by the God of Truth? How can any of this be seeing that, as with God, the Truth of God is Eternal and Invincible? The only one who could bring an end to the Gospel, so that it never be known again with any Scriptural certainty, is God. But then, why would God bring an end to something which He has called 'everlasting'? Why would God cause His Gospel, through which He has borne record of His Son, the Savior Jesus Christ, and which is His Power unto salvation, to be lost? Why would God have silenced, brought an end to, that most glorious Good News which reveals the essential knowledge of Who He is and what He has done to save His people from their sins? How could the knowledge of everything God has done to save His elect now be lost forever?
How can anyone possibly think that this attitude of 'That's just your opinion', is any kind of proper answer, or comes anywhere near being a Scripturally rational argument, against the Gospel which has just been declared? Do they mean to imply that the Truth of the Gospel of God is no longer, and can no longer be, known by anyone? That we are all at the mercy of our own judgements and opinions, or of those who have set themselves up as spiritual leaders among us, of what the Gospel could be. That all any man has to rely upon for the truth is his opinion, his judgement, based on nothing but their own individual interpretation of what the Scriptures are saying. Most do not offer any argument from Scripture. When on occasion someone does offer an attempted defense of what they have said it is only a single verse or two either taken out of context or completely misrepresented upon which their entire sad little belief system is based. At times there are those who rudely interrupt the one declaring the Gospel with a, 'No, no', who then proceed to explain what they believe the Gospel is fully expecting you to listen to them and believe! Some tell you no one knows what the Gospel is and then go right ahead and tell you what they believe it to be! But if no one knows what the true Gospel of God is, what God has said of Himself, His Son and the salvation of His people, then how could anyone's opinion of it matter in the slightest. What does opinion matter if there is no Truth? Of what possible use is opinion if there is no way of knowing whether it is true or not? If no one knows what the Gospel of God is then what is it that a man must believe to be saved? How much truth do we have to know and how much error is too much? Who sets the standard of what an acceptable amount of truth is, and which truths, must be believed in order to be saved, and what an unacceptable amount of error is which would reveal a person to be lost? And, would that not then be viewed as 'the Gospel? Who would set the margins and borders to what the Gospel is and what it is not, and according to what measure would they do it? Many are of the opinion that, 'No one knows what the True Gospel is', and yet they automatically and immediately assume that because what you are saying to them conflicts with what their beliefs are, you must be the one who is wrong or at least not as close to the truth as they are. They then promptly run off to their false refuge which says that anything which conflicts with what they say the truth is, with what they believe it to be, is nothing more than our error-laden view of what the Scriptures are saying. This enables, and to their minds justifies, them in walking away as convinced as ever that what they believe is right whilst sticking to their conviction that no one knows what the Gospel is. Isn't it funny how those who say no one knows what the true Gospel is cling to what they believe because they believe it to be Truth.
One of the key factors being overlooked by those who oppose the Gospel of God is that if they believe that what we are teaching is merely our opinion, what makes them so certain that what they believe isn't just their opinion? Is my 'opinion' not right enough to be called more than just an opinion? And, what is it about their opinion, what is this secret ingredient concerning what they believe, that causes them to look down their noses, frown upon and reject that which I believe? If one insists that no one knows what the Gospel of God is, or that the Gospel of God is lost, one must ask is every doctrine of the entire Gospel lost or are there some Gospel doctrines which have survived the test of time? If so, of which surviving doctrines can we be certain, and therefore depend upon, as being God's Truth. And how will we know? Moreover, how did those doctrines of the Gospel survive, and who is it that has adjudged them as genuine doctrines which belong to the True and only Gospel of God, and why? How have they been able to distinguish those doctrines from false doctrines? Again, who would decide all this and how could we ever know if all the individual doctrines of the Gospel are lost, or if one or two have survived. Where is the evidence and who would decide what is true evidence and what is false evidence? And how much would need to be known in order for anyone to be sure that one is believing in the True God and trusting in enough of His salvation Plan in order to be saved? If what all true Gospel believers have is merely a view of what God's Gospel is and not the actual Gospel itself, this must mean, according to the rule of logic and the insistence of those who claim no one knows what the Gospel of God is, that all they have is also nothing more than a view. A view is not reality but merely a perception, an estimation, a personal judgment of what reality is. A view is something which still awaits independent verification. If those who consider what they believe to be something far beyond merely their opinion, they must then be subscribers of the belief that what they believe is God's Truth. That there is some way to know what the Gospel of God is or at least enough of it to Scripturally count oneself saved. Where in the Scriptures do we see such teaching which even remotely supports such a school of thought? WHO MAKES THE RULES? Who is it that has set themselves up as the masters of the universe to declare what the Truth of God is and what it is not, and which part of it is lost, and can, therefore, never be known, and what the Scriptural rationale is upon which they base such thinking? Who is it that has proclaimed, and why do so many blindly adhere to, the lie that no one knows what the whole Gospel of God is? Is this something which began with some priesthood, or other such group of religious leaders, to order to instil fear into the people so that they would cling to their religious leaders' every word in order to know what to believe and whom to trust? People in Western countries in particular have been programmed to consume rather than to question. Increasingly, in the religious sphere, it is so much easier to believe that which one believes and to conveniently turn a blind eye to undesirable information which simply does not fit into one's belief system or suit one's lifestyle.
As in any realm of life one either has an opinion or one has the truth. What you believe is either right or it is wrong. And, when it comes to what God's Gospel is you either have God's Gospel or you do not. You are, therefore, either saved or you are lost. You see, when people say no one knows what the Gospel of God is, they are simultaneously declaring that there is no one who knows what the Gospel of God is not. You cannot make a judgement unless you have a standard, or rule, by which to judge. Without a standard, something to go by or measure with, the whole matter becomes a debatable up-in-the-air issue. Consequently, if no one knows what the Gospel is and no one knows what the Gospel is not, how can anyone rightly declare any gospel to be true or false? How, then, can anyone rightly consider themselves saved. Satan, the meddlesome and chief enemy of the Gospel, is clearly the orchestrator behind all this confusion. If one believes that no one knows what the Gospel of God is, and, therefore, that no one knows what the Gospel of God is not, how can they be so sure they have never heard it? How can they be certain that what they have just labelled 'your opinion' was not in fact the very Gospel of God? Again, if no one can know what the Gospel of God is how then can anyone say what the Gospel of God is not? If the Gospel of God is lost how can any say, with any Scriptural certainty, that what they believe is the Truth of God? There are two kinds of people who are happy and at peace with what they believe the Gospel of God to be: Those who have the Gospel of God and those who are ignorant of the fact that what they believe is not the Gospel of God. Ignorance may appear to be bliss, but it is at best a very temporal bliss. There are times when ignorance can be an ally in life, but not when it comes to the things of God especially the Gospel of God. Ignorance is the evidence of the absence of knowledge and, as we shall see, not knowing the Gospel of God is not knowing Him.
Only those who do not know what the Gospel of God is fail miserably at determining what it is not. They have nothing upon which to base their 'discernment', their conclusions, except for their own opinions formed by a warped understanding of the Holy Scriptures. One man says, 'Well, I may not know what white looks like but I know that black is not white'. If he does not know what white looks like how can he say that black is not white? There must be some evidence upon which the man makes such a decision. There must be a truth of which he is cognizant of in order to confidently base his opinion on. Only the man who knows what white looks like is able to rightly state that white is white and black is black. A man who can see is easily able to distinguish between black and white but the blind man has no idea. The blind man cannot choose with any certainty the white cup and not the black. He is simply not qualified. Those who say they do not know what the Gospel of God is, render themselves ineligible, they effectively disqualify themselves from being in any way qualified to ever pass judgement upon what the Gospel is and what the Gospel is not. If this be the true state of affairs we find ourselves in then all any man is left with is the following: No one knows what the Gospel is and therefore how a man is saved; No single one of us knows what God's Salvation Plan is therefore no one knows what Jesus Christ did to save nor whom He did save. No one knows for certain that they are saved or have lost their salvation through some unknown sin mentioned in some unknowable, or lost, doctrine. If no one knows what the Gospel of God is no one could ever pronounce any teaching a false doctrine and consequently any god a false god. Whichever doctrine one believed would therefore be made legitimate simply by their believing it. At the same time, however, a person's believing a contradictory doctrine delegitimizes another's opposing doctrine. This entire planet would be filled with lunatics constantly arguing and speculating about what the true Gospel of God is with fools who say no one knows or can know what God's true Gospel is. Some say that what they believe the Gospel of God to be is the closest anyone can come to knowing what it is. Others have settled on this pearl of wisdom: that what they believe the Gospel to be is close enough to knowing what it is. But by what measure do these people say such things when they claim that no one knows what God's Gospel is? Others lean towards the possibility that what they believe may just be the Gospel of God. Who knows. It could be. Thinking like this leaves a person wide open to the possibility that what they believe may not be God's Gospel at all. Either way they are in a spiritual prison whose bars consist of the knowledge that there is Truth but also no conceivable way to ever know and therefore recognize what it actually is, and subsequently no way to know what it is not. Confined to an intermediate state between truth and error of which there is no end. The only way to properly judge something wrong is to first know what is right.
What I find quite revealing is the fact that even so-called pastors, supposed ministers of God's Word no less, yet many of whom have an air of the politician about them and seemingly begin any conversation concerning doctrine with the thought, 'I must not be seen to be wrong', also exhibit an evasive approach when it comes to what exactly the truth about Who God is, what God has done and for whom He has done it, i.e., the Gospel of God, is. Oh, these men use the word 'Gospel' liberally but are, however, not so forthcoming concerning its contents. They say the Gospel this and the Gospel that BUT THEY DO NOT BELIEVE THE GOSPEL TO BE THE POWER OF GOD UNTO SALVATION FOR THEY SPOUT FORTH THAT A PERSON IS SAVED EVEN BEFORE HEARING IT!! People like the much revered Dr. Billy Graham, whose only doctorates incidentally are all merely honorary, believes a person can be in a saved state and not even know it! All these deny that the Power of God to save is the Gospel of Christ, that it is necessary for the salvation of anyone, for they say one can be saved without hearing, or even knowing, what the Gospel of God is. Many of these men display an ambiguity about what the true and only Gospel of God is, and a profound reluctance to commit to a truth which rules out all those, especially members of their particular congregations, who do not abide in it as being in a saved state. One such man from the U.S. told me outright that he did not know what the Gospel was, and I have heard of many others who say the same thing. However, and, quite curiously, this 'pastor' agreed with the doctrines of the Gospel I teach. He also admitted, after accepting my challenge, that he could not find anywhere in the Scriptures where a man was saved who did not believe the Gospel, and that there is also nothing in the Scriptures which even remotely hints at even the possibility that a man can be in a saved state whilst not knowing or believing the Gospel of God. Can you imagine, men such as this gentleman believing that they have been appointed by God to be the ministers of the Gospel of God (see 1 Thessalonians 3:2; Luke 1:2), who say they do not know what the Gospel of God is and so never take anyone to task over their opinion of what the Gospel is! Is there no absolute Truth at all to which these men subscribe? They actually agree that to believe the Gospel of God is to be saved and yet they openly admit that they do not know what that Gospel is, indeed, that no one is qualified to make such a judgement! To make matters worse, many so-called pastors believe that not only is there more than one legitimate interpretation of what the Gospel of God is by which God saves, there is also room in one's beliefs concerning the Gospel of God for an acceptable, yet indeterminate, amount of error. Despite trusting in a mixture of truth and error, truth and lies, what God has said and what men say, about Who God is and how He saves, according to these 'pastors', and in stark contradiction with what God's Word says, a man can still be in a saved state! That God always makes allowances for our imperfections even when it comes to what we believe about Who He is and how He saves. Believe the Truth and you are saved, believe in Truth and error and you are just as saved. I once asked a Presbyterian 'pastor' how wrong would a person have to be to show they were not Christian, not a Gospel believer. His reply? 'I don't know'. And this is a man who has undergone years of training and study in a Bible College! His answer reveals far more than meets the eye. Principally, it reveals that he did believe that a man could believe error and still be a Christian, he just didn't know how much error. Upon what does this man base his answer? Is his reply in accord with the fundamental principle that the Gospel of God is Truth, and, therefore, anyone who believes erroneously concerning the Gospel show they are not a Gospel believer, a Christian? Does this 'pastor' even know what the Gospel of God is? Surely if he knew what the Gospel of God was he could provide us with a more insightful answer than, "I don't know". You see, if one begins with the fact that God has only one Gospel which He reveals to all His people surely any belief which contradicts the doctrines of that Gospel would reveal itself to be erroneous. If one knows what the Gospel of God is then one would know what it is not. One would know what errors constitute a false gospel which would in turn reveal the ones who believe them as false Christians. If one looks at this whole situation from a purely human perspective, knowing that man is a creature subject to error, one will inevitably make allowances for what one considers to be minor errors concerning the Gospel. But if one rightly looks at it from a Biblical perspective, from God's perspective, then any error big or small which contradicts even one aspect of any Gospel doctrine is enough to show that the person who believes in any one of them as anything but a Christian. He is not a Gospel believer. He has not had the Gospel of God revealed to Him by God, nor has he been given the Faith of God with which to believe it, for if he had he surely would not believe any error concerning it. On one occasion a Reformed Calvinist pastor once wrote to me admitting that he had, ‘No idea how much error God is willing to put up with in His people when it comes to the matter of the Gospel’. No idea how much error? He believed that one's gospel could contain error, and that God was willing to put up with that error, but he did not know which errors God would not tolerate nor how much error was too much. I wonder if this man even knows what qualifies as an actual error concerning the Gospel of God. I would hardly expect his Bible college to have taught him that there are no errors concerning the Gospel which God will not tolerate and that whatever a person believes, as long as he calls it the Gospel, all is well. Clearly, if one knows that the principle of grace is God doing, one can certainly discern what an error concerning the Gospel looks like. If one knows what the truth is surely one is fully equipped to recognize error in an instant. Paul the apostle said that a little leaven will leaven the whole lump. A little leaven, a little yeast is all that is necessary to cause the batter or dough to rise. One does not require copious amounts of leaven to effect the dough but just a little leaven. Again, we draw the reader’s attention to Galatians 5:9 where Paul warned that a little leaven will leaven the whole lump. The word little here comes from the Greek word mikros from which we get our word micro, meaning very small. This confirms that even the slightest error when it comes to the Gospel is enough to brand that message a false gospel and anyone who believes it a false Christian. A false gospel is any gospel that does not say exactly the same thing as God’s Gospel says. ANY DEVIATION IS A SURE SIGN THAT IT IS NOT GOD’S GOSPEL! How could it not be so? If there is anything different about a gospel, anything in it which differs from that great Gospel of God, it is a gospel that cannot save and God will not tolerate anyone who believes in anything that differs from His Gospel, for, to believe in anything that differs from God's Gospel is to be in a state of UNBELIEF towards what God has said. ERROR IS ALWAYS ACCOMPANIED BY THE SIN OF UNBELIEF WHICH GOD WILL IN NO WAY TOLERATE. To disbelieve God is to distrust Him and no one is saved who distrusts the God of Truth. So, how much error will God permit in a person's beliefs concerning His Gospel and still save them? The answer is: NO error, which by its very nature is contrary to and contributes to the perversion of the Gospel of Christ, thereby revealing another gospel that God has not declared and another christ that God does not claim to be HIS Son, will be tolerated. No one who believes in such error can be considered among God’s people, for, God's people are all taught of Him and have had His Truth revealed to them and been given the Faith to believe the Truth of God and not the errors of men. What qualifies as an error when it comes to God's Gospel? Anything man says about it which contradicts what God has said constitutes His Gospel. Not knowing how much error would be tolerated is not only an admittance to not knowing the Gospel of God, but is a declaration that one does not know God! The most basic principle of salvation is GRACE. In light of this, how any so-called pastor can sit there and say that he does not know what error, or how much error, would prove a gospel to be one of works and not God's Gospel of Grace simply boggles the mind. ERROR IS THE SPOILER. Error is the leaven that leaveneth the whole lump. Error is that which changes truth into a lie and THE Gospel into another gospel. Error is not what God has said but what an unregenerate man believes God has said. Believing erroneously concerning the Gospel of God is something which can NEVER be excused, but is always the identifying mark of a false christian, someone from whom the true Gospel of God is hid.
Again, if no one knows what the actual Gospel of God is who is there to say, with any authority, what the Gospel of God is not. How much truth would you need to believe and how much error would be too much error? Who would set the rules? Spurgeon believed that a person could be a Christian regardless of whether they believed in diametrically opposite gospels such as Arminianism and Calvinism! He believed that a person becomes a Christian and then "goes down one of two paths": The Arminian path or the Calvinist path. We are asked to believe that either one of these paths, though they be diametrically opposed, nevertheless, leads to the same god, the True God no less! Spurgeon hated the false Arminian gospel and its false god insisting that he would never bow his knees to its god, and yet claimed that one of its chief exponents, John Wesley, was saved! But, Mr. Spurgeon, who saved him? Did the true God, Whom, according to your words, Mr. Wesley did not believe in, save him despite his unbelief? Or did Mr. Wesley's god, the one whose gospel you hate, of whom you stated you would never bow your knees to, have equal power to save as the true God? Spurgeon could not base his groundless assertion on what Wesley believed, on his faith, and so drew on the only remaining thing by which a man can judge another: his character and conduct. All the while knowing that a man is not saved because of who he is or what he does. Scripture says, "...a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the Faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the Faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified" (Galatians 2:16 cf. Titus 3:5).