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.

1831

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3 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


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