The Effects of a Perverted Gospel, by William Rushton

William Rushton, A Defense of Particular Redemption

The Lord Jesus Christ, to whom all the saints are united, is the only foundation and bond of spiritual union. The whole family meet and center in Him. That which unites them is his glorious person and work, and that which demands their obedience is his voice. “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them and they follow me.”

This voice which they hear is the truth of the gospel which they love and which produces among them love for each other for the truth’s sake. In the exercise of His grace those who love the gospel have fellowship with each other, and they are despised by the world and are separated from it. “Lo! the people shall dwell alone, and shall nor be reckoned among the nations.”

If, therefore, the people of God are united in the bond of truth, it is evident that nothing is so effectual to scatter them as the influence of erroneous doctrine, especially such as effects the righteousness of Christ which is the ground of their unity, concord and hope. Hence the zeal of the apostle against legal doctrines and false teachers. Hence the connection between unsound doctrines and divisions in the church. “Now, I beseech you, brethren, mark them who cause divisions contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned and avoid them.” [Romans xvi. 17, 18.]

In the kingdom of Christ the advancement of doctrines which obscure the glory of imputed righteousness and exalt human merit, is an offense of the most malignant kind, because it tends directly to abase the Lord Jesus and to destroy unity among His people. For this
reason, much is said in Scripture against the teachers of such doctrines. “Woe be unto the pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! saith the Lord.” (Jeremiah 23:1.) So indignant was the holy Paul against them that he cried out, “I would they were even cut off who trouble you.” (Galatians 5:12.)

The effect of a legal ministry is not only to produce divisions among the people of God, but also to exalt the preacher. The apostle abased himself, that the brethren might be exalted, 2 Cor. 11:7; but the false teachers exalted themselves, and brought the saints into bondage, 2 Cor. 11:20.

Self-exaltation is a mark which invariably distinguishes the preachers of a perverted gospel. While their doctrine has a direct tendency to obscure the glory of Christ it tends to magnify themselves. Their followers, instead of hearing the voice of Christ, are brought into subjection to their preacher and this preacher becomes the bond of union among them. “Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to DRAW AWAY DISCIPLES AFTER THEM.” (Acts 20:30)

This spirit which began to work in the days of the apostles, is the foundation of all that clerical dominion which constitutes the very strength of antichrist and the support of his accursed kingdom.We greatly mistake the mind of the spirit in the Scriptures if we imagine that the marks of a false church are to be found nowhere except within the pale of the Papacy.according to the fruits they bring forth.

The doctrine now prevailing amongst us relative to the glorious atonement and righteousness of Christ is quite a different thing from that which is handed down to us in the Scriptures, and it has also been shown that such doctrine induces worldly conformity and a dead profession. The natural tendency of such principles is to scatter the people of God and to destroy the unity of the Spirit.

Wherever the precious doctrines of grace are kept back in the public exposition of the word, there, though carnal professors may be pleased, the saints will be deprived of that rich provision which God hath laid up for them. The communion of saints will degenerate into formal worship. That this is the sad condition of many of Zion’s children in the present day is beyond a doubt. Many who sit under a legal ministry are in a lean and famishing state for want of the pure word of the Lord.


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6 Comments on “The Effects of a Perverted Gospel, by William Rushton”

  1. markmcculley Says:

    John Owen, It is not surprising that the doctrines of faith became so rapidly corrupted in the churches. With separation from the world spurned, there is no wonder that the glory of the gospel was overshadowed, and superstitious practices flooded in along with the unconverted pagans, until, at length, Christian church discipline was remodeled on the fashion of the pagan secular state.

    Once hypocrites and other unregenerate people began, as it were, to swamp and overwhelm the believers, there soon emerged leaders who were pleased enough to accommodate spiritual doctrines to the prevailing systems of philosophy. And so it came about that faith was neglected, doctrine no longer studied, regeneration equated to the the rite of water baptism,, the majorities at best indifferent about truth, at worst bitterly hostile to truth, to the total over-shadowing of essential things.

    By that time, most of the world had taken up the Christian profession so, at most, everything that had been instituted by Christ had been basely transmuted into another gospel. Strange to tell, it was done without a protest or major split in the Church.” John Owen, Biblical Theology

  2. markmcculley Says:

    John 10: 3 The sheep hear his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and LEADS THEM OUT. 4 When he has brought all his own OUTSIDE, he goes ahead of them. The sheep FOLLOW HIM because they recognize his voice.5 They never follow a stranger. They don’t recognize the voice of strangers.

    Even if we don’t listen to strangers, but do not follow Jesus, it doesn’t matter.

    Even if we go outside, but do not hear Jesus, it doesn’t matter.

    Hebrews 13: 12 Therefore Jesus also suffered outside the gate, in order that He SET APART the people by His own blood.

    13 Let US then GO TO HIM outside the camp, bearing His disgrace.

    Even if we go out, but do not go to Him, it doesn’t matter.

    Even if we bear disgrace, but do not go to Him, it doesn’t matter

  3. markmcculley Says:

    Robert Sandeman: What satisfaction can a man find in his conscience, in maintaining Saving Grace to be Sovereign Grace, if at the same time he thinks that a man may be a true believer, so as enjoy the Divine favor, who opposes that Grace? Or what delight can a man take in the character of the true God, who thinks that his neighbor may be truly pious and happy in worshiping another god?

    In my view, the more a man knows of the character of the true God, and is yet capable of holding it in such a profane manner, he is thereby only so much the more eminently fitted to be an agent of Satan in undermining it.

    “I fondly presumed that our friendship had commenced upon a sacred foundation, even Sovereign Grace; but if we must have the same friendship for those who oppose that Grace, or who join in the opposition to it; then it is evident, there can be nothing more sacred in our friendship than in the mutual courtesy that takes place amongst infidels. Have we then been all this while employed only like two philosophers striving as to who shall get freest of inconsistencies in their manner of talking! Any attempt to revive the Christian profession with you must be the idealist thing in the world, unless it be founded in the fear of God.

    “And how can we be said to hold the Truth in the fear of God, unless we are persuaded that destruction attends every departure from it both in ourselves and others? Unless we are so persuaded, our zeal about the Gospel will amount to no more than an idol emulation about orthodoxy. And it may be held for a sure maxim, that however zealous we may be to hold a sounder set of principles than our neighbors, we can never greatly condemn ourselves for any deviation from the Truth that we think consistent with the Christian character in others. “

  4. markmcculley Says:

    Robert Sandeman–But then it will be said, that some who dislike the explicit doctrine of Absolute Sovereignty, may yet, by implication, be concluded friends at bottom to that Sovereignty. Yet nothing can be more foreign to the Scripture than such reasoning. The Scripture indeed leads us to think of men having the form of godliness without the power, but it nowhere gives us the least ground to think, that the power can possibly take place where the very form is disliked. I
    Men may someway hold the form of sound words without Faith and Love; but that Faith and Love can be where that form is disallowed, is quite foreign to every notion taught us by the Scripture.

    “If such reasoning by implication be allowed, then we may find true believers amongst those who dislike the declaration of Imputed Righteousness and Vicarious Substitution, among those who dislike the declaration of the Trinity, the Deity of Christ, and so in course everything that is most sacred. Yea, thus we may find true believers amongst the worshipers of Mohammed. For if Mohammed signifies a prophet, intercessor or mediator, and if some mean as much by the word Mohammed as others by the word Christ, who would contend for a word, while there was no material difference of meaning? ”

    “Jesus Christ, praying for his people, said; “this is life eternal, that they t know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” How then can any who disallow the declaration of that knowledge, either that of Divine Sovereignty, Justice, or Mercy be said to have any part in life eternal! If we have any ear to give to the Scripture, we must rank all such among those that “know not God, and that obey not the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ; and who {if they be not given Repentance to the acknowledgment of the Truth} shall be punished with lasting destruction.”

    “And if we have any true benevolent concern for such, it will lead us boldly to declare to them their real danger, however harsh or ridiculous it may sound in their ears at present. Though all the clergy in the world should agree in a charitable opinion of any who disallow the declaration of that knowledge, I find myself fully authorized from the Scripture to declare such charity to be the very breath and spirit of the grand destroyer.”

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