Christianity Is The Gospel of the Grace of God, Not the Gospel of the Kingdom. By Robert C. Brock. St. Petersburg , FL : Right Division, Inc, nd. 32 pp. Paper. $1.00.
The author staunchly defends justification by faith alone for this age. In his view, from the time of Moses until the regeneration of Cornelius and his family, justification was by faith plus works.
There are a number of Free Grace people who understand the expression the gospel of the Kingdom to be distinct from the gospel of Jesus Christ and the gospel of Paul. Brock, however, says that the gospel of Jesus Christ was this gospel of the Kingdom (p. 12). This comment by him startled me: “And when one studies the gospel accounts of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, this theme of faith plus works is repeated over and over again” (p. 16). A page later he gives this explanation, “God did require under the Dispensation of Law faith plus the works of the Law for salvation for the Millennial Kingdom of God” (p. 17).
He then immediately continues, “This principle of works continued up to the time of Cornelius in Acts 10…” (p. 17).
In the next paragraph he says, “James 2:14-26 is also in this same category…Putting it [James 2] with the Gospel of the Kingdom gives us the right meaning of what it says” (p. 17).
The beauty of this system is that we find the good news for this age in a very restricted area of Scripture. The entire OT is out. Acts is out until after Chapter 10. The four gospels are out. James is out. And, based on remarks made toward the end of the booklet, so are 1-2 Peter, Hebrews, 1-3 John, Revelation, and Jude. We find the gospel for this age only in Paul’s writings: “Why Paul? Because he was God’s spokesman for this dispensation of grace…Real Christianity is Pauline Christianity” (p. 31, emphasis his).
While we might be tempted to adopt a system that eliminated all soteriologically difficult texts outside of Paul’s epistles, that leads, in my opinion, to great confusion. Then John’s Gospel ceases to be the only evangelistic book in the Bible. Thus, John’s Gospel is not for this age. And the message Jesus preached is no longer the saving message for today! Paul’s gospel is not Jesus’ gospel—at least not the gospel which Jesus Himself preached. According to this system the good news Paul says in Galatians 1 that he received directly from Jesus was a new gospel from Jesus.
While I am a Dispensationalist, I feel this form of Dispensationalism goes further than the biblical evidence warrants.
Biblically it is best to understand justification to have always been by faith alone (Gen 3:15 ; 15:6). Adam, Abraham, Moses, Daniel, Peter, James, John, and Saul of Tarsus were all born again by faith alone in the Messiah alone. The OT saints may not have known His name. But they knew that simply by faith in Him they had eternal life. Adam, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and Paul all proclaimed justification by faith alone in Christ alone.
It is much simpler to understand the term gospel to mean good news. Thus “the gospel of the Kingdom” is the good news that the Kingdom was being offered to Israel . While the message of what one must do to have eternal life is included in the gospel, the term gospel is broader than that one message.
I found this booklet to be helpful for those wishing to learn about the view that relegates all justification truth for this age to the writings of Paul. However, while I appreciate its Free Grace position on justification today, I cannot endorse most of its conclusions.
Robert N. Wilkin
Journal of the Grace Evangelical Society
Irving , TX