How Do Counterfeit Gospels Affect the Gospel Story?

Counterfeit Gospels Chart: How 6 Counterfeits Affect the Gospel Story, Announcement, and Community

The best way to spot a counterfeit is to know the real thing.

When it comes to the gospel, the best way to spot a counterfeit gospel is to know the biblical gospel – not only to master it in a cerebral, objective sense, but to be captured by the beauty of what God has done for us in Christ.

Earlier this year, I listed nine “counterfeit gospels” that I considered writing about in Counterfeit Gospels. Then, I asked readers of Kingdom People to participate in a poll, choosing the six most prevalent among evangelicals today.

Later, I described the biblical gospel by using the analogy of a three-legged stool.

  • There’s the Gospel Story – the grand narrative of Scripture (Creation, Fall, Redemption, Restoration).
  • Within that overarching framework, we make the Gospel Announcement about Jesus Christ (His perfect life, substitutionary death, resurrection, exaltation).
  • The gospel announcement then births the Gospel Community: God’s church – the embodiment of the gospel, the manifestation of God’s kingdom.

In the book, I describe a counterfeit gospel as a colony of termites, eating away at one of the legs of the stool until it topples the whole thing. Below is a handy chart included in the book that lays out the six counterfeits we deal with in the book and how each counterfeit affects the gospel Story, gospel Announcement, and gospel Community.

Take a look at the chart below and let me know what you think.

Does your heart drift toward any of these counterfeits? Why or why not?

Which counterfeits do you see as particularly dangerous in our day and age?

Article is Used in Its Entirety by Permission of Trevin Wax, Nov 2012, copyright 2012 The Gospel Coalition.  You might want to consider purchasing Trevin Wax’s book, Counterfeit Gospels: Rediscovering the Good News in a World of False Hope, Moody 2011. Here is the link to his blog Kingdom People:  Living on Earth as Citizens of Heaven, where the excerpt from his book is located.  Many thanks to Trevin Wax for his permission.

Can One Be Saved And Not Be Filled With The Holy Spirit?

[Editors Note: The question came up on this blog listed in the title above, “Can One Be Saved And Not Be Filled With The Holy Spirit?” from Alice. While it is true that all Christians at the point of conversion (the new birth) are baptized or indwelt by the Holy Spirit, a Christian must be filled or controlled by the Holy Spirit in a moment by moment decision throughout the rest of his (her) life.  In the Book of Acts, it is apparent that the Apostles and disciples were being filled with the Holy Spirit  at various times (see Acts 2:4; 4:8; 4:31 where Peter and others filled more than once).The same can be said for Paul (Acts 9:17, 13:9); and it is Paul who commands us to be filled with the Holy Spirit (Eph 5:18). Dr. John MacArthur wrote an excellent article, “Is It Real?”.  For about $1.50 you can order the pamphlet,  Please read the following longer explanation below and supporting scripture for good balance in answering this delicate and sensitive question from Alice, with an excellent article from one of our Bible researchers, “Fruit of the Spirit“.  After all, aren’t we commanded in Ephesians 5:18,  “And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit.” ? The Greek word in Strong’s, πλήρης (G4134) uses several close definitions which infer “to fill up, to fill to the full.”]

Fruit of the Spirit

Galatians 5:22

          The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Conversely the works of the flesh are. Sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. Some of these worldly desires and unsocial activities were part of my life before I came to know the Lord. I acted similar to the world I saw around me. By the worlds standard some forms of behavior were so common I felt out of place, like I was missing out and needed to catch up. From the worlds standpoint it was just expected of you, if you were a “real man”, to think and feel and act toward girls the way they were depicted in this world. And of course I wanted to fit in as most of us do. If truthful with ourselves, we know that all have lived in and of the world. If not physically then in our thought lives. Scripture says it plainly “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Lets face it, satan [editor comment: author doesn’t wish to capitalize the name of satan to elevate his prominence] doesn’t make temptations ugly and undesirable. And sin is fun for a season, but there are consequences that we will dearly pay, sometimes for the rest of our lives. These consequences don’t go away once we are saved by the blood of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I can do nothing to eliminate the guilt of sin in my life, but by the grace of God, the atonement of Jesus death for my sins, and the power of the Holy Spirit to change my life, I can live a joyful life knowing I have been pardoned.

By prayer and supplication with thanksgiving and letting our request be known to God, the peace of God which surpasses all understanding, will guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

I need the Holy Spirit in every aspect of my life. Without His power and control of my life the fruit of the Spirit would not be apparent or would be twisted with pride and with selfish motives. Again let me say I am a sinful person and the only goodness that comes out of me is because of the Holy Spirit’s indwelling power.

Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Colossians 3:12-17


Paul urges us to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

Ephesians 4:1-3


You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the LORD.

Leviticus 19:18


You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.

Deuteronomy 6:5


Alice I had to give a little foundation, now in answer to your question from my heart, which I will also find some scripture to back up, let me say that without the Holy Spirit I would still be dead in my past sins. I can do nothing on my own, although we continually want to believe we are in control. If I wasn’t led by the Holy Spirit I would still be that selfish person I was in the past.

Alice the evidence of really being a Christian ( follower of Jesus ) is the fruit that is produced in our lives. Galatians 5:22, We are a stick on the ground, a branch fallen off a tree, a single vine.

Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.

John 15:4-5


Alice as we allow the Holy Spirit to work in us and through us our character will be changed, there will be more love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, etc. At the same time we must realize it is not of our doing.

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

Ephesians 2:8-10

I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

Galatians 2:20

You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.

Romans 8:9-11


Alice sorry this is so long but but God’s word is so very important.

In conclusion:  A person is baptized with the Holy Spirit one time when they truly become a Christian. As disciples of Jesus Christ we must continually be open to the authority and direction of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit will guide us in the proper use of the armor of God, transform us so there is boldness in our witness, and influence us in all areas of our spiritual life.

Peter and John were told not to preach the gospel after being released from custody. They reported what had happened to their fellow Christians and they all went to prayer, asking for power and boldness to witness.

When they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness.

There are many other scriptures about being filled with the Holy Spirit. Read about Stephen, a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit, in Acts 5, 6, 7

We read about being filled with the Holy Spirit in scripture. Bear in mind now that the Holy Spirit is God, the third person of the Trinity, He comes into our innermost being and indwells us 100%. I don’t believe He comes and goes as in the old testament. We are completely filled with the Holy Spirit. He doesn’t evaporate or dissipate nor is He consumed or depleted. But because of our free will we can chose to ignore Him or listen to Him as the authoritative God that He is. The Holy Spirit loves us and wants to help us grow into the person we should be and prepare us for eternity. The definition of influence–the capacity to have an effect on the character, development, or behavior of someone. With this understanding I am now aware that most of the time I am ignoring Him. I really need to pray that my fallen, corrupt, sinful self will get out of the way and allow the Holy Spirit to influence my thoughts and actions. I need to be obedient to that influence. The way that will happen is through prayer and staying in “The Word of God”.

by Anonymous Author, personally tailoring the answer to our friend Alice.