Saturday, April 18, 2009

TGYNH --- The Gospel You've Never Heard

A visitor who had downloaded my excerpt sent me a question asking what, exactly, this "Gospel You've Never Heard" was. The excerpt covers the first two chapters, which are really intended only to show why how the message most people are told is "The Gospel" appears to chafe against everything Matthew, Mark, and Luke actually present.

It is impossible to read, for example, the gospel of Matthew and come away thinking "I need to go tell everyone about Jesus to save them from the hellfire that all are, by default, deserving of." That notion,which one would expect to find stated in no uncertain terms, is not only completely absent but would appear totally unnatural when placed next to the teachings of Christ Matthew included. Whatever "the gospel" is that Matthew is trying to get across, it certain is not that.

So, what is TGYNH?

The answer is best understood by understanding the state of God's people in the centuries leading up to Christ. Too often people present a 4-stop gospel that starts in the Garden of Eden, jumps amazingly (and absurdly) to Christ on the Cross, then skips to when a believer comes to faith, and ends at its 4th stop where the believer is pictured in heaven. You won't find anything like that portrayed by the writers of the gospel narratives, nor will you find it in the evangelism describes at length in Acts, exactly where you would expect to find such a message were it correct.

Rather than jumping from the Garden to Christ on a cross, we should look at the conditions of Israel during the time when the Messiah was prophesied. A reading of the prophets who foretold the Christ's coming and the kingdom He would create describe in detail what was wrong with Israel and Judah:

  1. People had turned away from God. In this they acted as their ancestors. Indeed, from the beginning, humans have shown an inability to be faithful to God on a large scale. There were certainly righteous people here and there, but as a nation Israel had failed to remain faithful.
  2. Special blame was placed on the rulers, the priests, and the false prophets. The rulers were blamed for failing to model righteousness, instead leading their subjects to faithlessness. The priests were blamed for misconstruing and abusing God's Law for their own personal gain. The false prophets were blamed for telling people it was okay not to repent because they were God's people and God would be kind to them even if they sinned.
  3. This behavior provoked God to allow first Israel and eventually Judah to be captured and enslaved. This caused even more problems because those who captured them mistreated them, causing God's anger to burn against all creation, both Israel and the Gentiles.
  4. To make matters worse, part of the punishment against Israel/Judah was to harden them, making them less able to repent until God's wrath had been assuaged over time.
  5. The behavior of Israel, and God's punishment of them, had failed to convince others to worship the Living God. Rather than being a light to the nations, the Gentiles blasphemed the Living God, assuming the fate of Israel was due to their God not having any power.
Given all the above, God declares the coming of a new era, an epoch in which all the above would be dealt with:

  1. God's people would strengthen the spirit of believers so that they would no longer find it so impossible to remain faithful to God.
  2. The unfaithful rulers would be replaced by a righteous Lord, who would be given power over all creation.
  3. The corrupt priests would be replaced by a righteous High Priest.
  4. The teachers who had warped God's law by self-aggrandizing interpretations and the false prophets would all be put to shame because God would write God's Will upon our hearts. As Matthew says "We have one Rabbi." As Jeremiah writes, "I will write My Law upon their hearts... and no man will have teach his neighbor to know God, for they will all know me, from the least to the greatest."
  5. The cup of wrath that burned against all creation [setting it up for another total destruction] as well as the cup of wrath that had made Israel drunk, unable to repent, would be downed by Christ, not only saving creation but drawing people to repent.
  6. God would remove the wall of division between Jew and Gentile, allowing anyone to join the kingdom of the Almighty.
Now, for many of you, the above might cause you to scratch your heads, saying "That's all true, but that's not the gospel." To understand why exactly the above is truly "Good News," (and why what you probably have heard instead has no foundation in scripture or apostolic evangelism), you should grab a copy of the book.


Anonymous said...

Shocking! David I have been reading The Holy Bible for decades, and I have never seen these arguments come out from the words of Jesus Christ. What a moron I am! I suppose the Holy Spirit has let me down again! It is true I have never heard of this "Gospel according to David". Let us both keep reading the Holy Bible friend. One of us will end up with a different position.

David Rudel said...

Oh please.
I'm certain your Bible has Isaiah, Jeremiah, etc. in it. These are the prophets who proclaimed the coming Kingdom, the prophets whom Jesus said spoke of Him.

And that is what Christ proclaimed as Gospel: "Repent, for the Kingdom of God is near."


"The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the Gospel."

What Kingdom do you think Christ referred to?

When God speaks of sending the Christ, the "messenger of the covenant" [Malachi 3:1]

What covenant do you think God means? Jeremiah 31:31-34 (which I quoted).

And Jesus calls Himself the good shepherd...a shepherd with sheep in other pastures. What do you think He was alluding to? Ezekiel 34 (which is even quoted by Matthew).

If you read Ezekiel 34, it is laid out well there, how the priests and false prophets all misled the people (exactly the same charge as given by Jesus in the Good Shepherd!) and how God would replace them.

Stephen said...

Not being rude or anything David, as going through what you've got is very interesting and thought provoking so well done in that manner...

However, I do question your motives behind this as many of your referenced scriptures you have dramatically taken out of context to suit your own ideals.

It's good to question the bible and it's teachings. I am all for what you have done however, 'some' conclusions you have derived seem to be because of a lack of understanding the context of some of your scriptures or (a deliberate pulling of scriptures to suit your conclusions - This I don't believe).

What you have written IS very well done however be sure what you are trying to represent in your book is not your own rebelious self rather something a teaching you wish to share which will bring people closer into relationship with God.

Are you prepared to take the consiquences (ie. spend eternity knowing) that if people adhear to your conclusions and suffer because of them being incorrect.

Other than that, thank you for being one to share such things.



David Rudel said...

Hi Stephen, could you please give some examples of things you believe have been taken out of context.

My entire book is actually based on reading the whole of Bible in context both of the overall picture of God's relation with God's people and in the context of the 1st century Judaism in which the NT was written.

Much of this context comes from a reading of the prophets that foretold the coming kingdom and what the Messiah would bring about. It is those prophecies that are very often completely ignored when people discuss the reason for Christ's coming...people quote a few scraps from Isaiah to suit their needs, but they generally ignore completely all the discussion of the coming Kingdom in the prophets, the covenant God declares will be mediated through Christ, and the underlying reason for the new epoch.

I would also like to point out that I do not consider my message one born of rebellion. I was perfectly happy and content with the conservative, Reformed teachings I had grown up on. I had no philosophical qualms with the picture of God those teachings painted. It was only after I really began to read the Bible myself that I saw most of it made no sense within the framework of Evangelical Christianity.

And, indeed, most of Evangelical Christianity comes from doing exactly what you have suggested I am doing here: ripping pieces of the Bible out of context. Paul's letters have been ripped to shreds by those who find in them things that have nothing at all to do with what Paul was writing about.

I hope to continue this conversation and hear what you feel has been taken out of context.


Little Neddy said...

Hmm, so if that were true, than I guess those who are not offended as much by others in their lives will have a much easier time 'getting into heaven.'

That's convenient.

Little Neddy said...

What do you think about metaphysics, the Bible and Biblical spirituality?

David Rudel said...

Little Neddy,
Could you expand a bit on your comment about "those who are not offended as much by others having an easier time..."

I'm not sure exactly what you are saying or what you are responding to, but I would like to.

Anonymous said...

Have you considered putting your book up for a free download like Vox Day? I wonder why a book with such a message seems only for sale.

David Rudel said...

Hi Anonymous,
I have given away many copies of my book, and expect to give away several in the future. However, there are a few reasons to the book for sale:
i) People tend to put more effort into a book they have paid for rather than one that cost them nothing. [Gym memberships sometimes work the same way. I had free use of gyms while in college and practically never used them. But when you have to pay for a membership, all of a sudden you feel encouraged to make the most of it.]

The book is not an easy read, after all it's point is to show the Bible simply does not contain the message many people are told it does. For that reason, people are the most likely to get something out of it if they have had to put in some investment in obtaining it.

ii) Advertising is not free, and sales from the book help defray those costs.

iii) When people buy the book through Amazon, Amazon begins exposing the book (in the form of active or passive suggestions) to others. This way a few people buying the book can lead to several others hearing about the book.

iv) Once a free download is out, you cannot put the toothpaste back in the bottle, so I would have to be extremely sure of my decision before doing it.

The above being said, I have considered (and still am considering) the possibility of a free download. But I would point out that your observation could really be made of practically any book on Christianity, right?

Anonymous said...

I'm "Mike", David, I am reading your book about half way through. I am always cross referencing your notations, in fact reading most of the chapter, too. I am learning and growing closer to "hearing" God. So thus far I am enjoying it and feel as you too many people DONT READ for themselves. I do have a question though. Are you going to heaven (or the New Jerusalem)? If yes, how do you put into practice what you obviously have learned? Thanks Mike (no agenda either - conversation).

David Rudel said...

Hi Mike,
I certainly hope I'll be found fit for the New Jerusalem. I don't know that "putting into practice" is necessarily the best expression to use (not that it is a bad one, but for some reason it does not quite feel like what I see myself doing).

For me, discipleship consists largely in two things:

i)Relying on God and seeing the Kingdom of God.

ii)Listening to the Holy Spirit.

Now, the above really doesn't say anything...I started to elaborate on those things and realized how long of a "comment" it was going to be. So, instead, I hope you will give me a couple days and I'll make a proper blog on that topic.

I'm glad you are finding something in the book. I hope you will join us on the forum for the book [URL in the book]

Anonymous said...

Thanks for responding so quickly David. I want to finish the book before I do anything. Although after reading a little more of the blog I had to write my question. I look forward to your new post about my topic.

I study, I don't take things on the surface and I never "conclude" anything until its completed. I take time to pray, reflect and God shows us application for ourselves. Something I believe many people don't do either. I've been a believer for nearly 20 years. Your book has been a solid experience thus far. Its impressive and commend you for taking your own step of faith in publishing it. I'm glad I bought it.

For the record a lawyer friend of mine had the discussion about your book and he, too ordered it. Don't worry he's a pal. We just share simliar views on many issues so we read, discuss or challenge each other with such things.

Thanks again, more soon.

David Rudel said...

Thanks so much, Mike!
I really appreciate hearing that the book is useful for some people. As you'll find out, one of my ulterior motives is just to get people to read the Bible more themselves, regardless of whether they end up agreeing with my paradigm on salvation.