Unity Graphic

Unity of the Spirit VS Unity in Diversity

Charts (Lesson Four)
Understanding Christ and the Church
(Gospel and Doctrine)

Looking for a Perfect Church in an Imperfect World
Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43

But We Have:

That We May Become Perfect

Christ and the Church
Gospel and Doctrine

"The Cruciform Church"
C. Leonard Allen

"First, there is the simple and observable fact that, throughout Churches of Christ, many people are questioning and sometimes rejecting the traditional doctrinal system that for several generations gave Churches of Christ their distinctive identity. Acts and the Epistles as architectural 'blueprint,' as a rigid 'pattern,' as a collection of case law - these images and the interpretive method they support are steadily declining."

C. Leonard Allen, "The Cruciform Church" p. 19

Christ and the Church
Gospel and Doctrine

The Rationalization of the Bible
Why it is "Doctrine" Oriented

C. Leonard Allen, "The Cruciform Church" pp. 28-38

Christ and the Church
Gospel and Doctrine

Churches of Christ Give Up The Cross For Doctrine


C. Leonard Allen, "The Cruciform Church" pp.52-75

Christ and the Church
Gospel and Doctrine

We Preach An Anemic Gospel

C. Leonard Allen, "The Cruciform Church" pp113-121

Christ and the Church
Gospel and Doctrine

The Charge of Doctrinal Idolatry

C. Leonard Allen, "The Cruciform Church" pp.81-108

Christ and the Church
Gospel and Doctrine

Gospel of Grace - Contract Law Doctrine Displaces the Cross

C. Leonard Allen, "The Cruciform Church" pp.122-144

Assertions About
"The Core Gospel"

"God has deposited his power at the center of the faith, in the core gospel. This book asks what that core is, how we in the Restoration Movement have understood and proclaimed it, and what present trends might predict for the future. In Part One I attempt an overview of the New Testament presentation of the core gospel. This survey will then be used as a base line by which to evaluate past Restoration preaching as it relates to the core gospel and to inquire about future directions for Churches of Christ. In Part Two I report research in the first four generations of Restoration preaching to discover how we have proclaimed the core gospel in comparison with the New Testament's emphasis. I will attempt summary, conclusions and analysis of our history regarding the core gospel down to mid twentieth century. In Part Three selected sermons of twenty current preachers are excerpted to show how the core gospel is being proclaimed among Churches of Christ today. Finally, questions will be asked about our future directions as a fellowship."

Bill Love, The Core Gospel
Prologue, pp. xii, xiii

Unity in Diversity Today
(Gospel / Doctrine Distinction)



















End Result: Tolerance for Error (Doctrinal Diversity)


Mike Cope - "Traumatic Winds of Renewal" (Wineskins, August 1992)

Worship - Culture

Lynn Anderson, "Right-Brain Christians In a Left-Brain Church" (Wineskins, May 1992)

Ecclesiastes 5:1

John 4:24

What Shall We Preach!

"We have been critical of big-time evangelists like Billy Graham for 'not preaching the gospel' since he does not preach baptism ... There is a distinction between preaching the gospel and preaching baptism." N.T. evangelists preached "the gospel of the grace of God," "Jesus and him crucified," and "the person of Jesus Christ." NOT baptism.

(Leroy Garrett, Restoration Review, May 1992, p. 288)

While denominational preachers "preached, the atonement of Christ but not baptism, we preached baptism but not the atonement of Chirst"

(F.W. Mattox, Gospel Advocate, 1988, from Restoration Review, May 1992, p. 289)

"We are not a Cross-centered, grace-oriented people," and we preach baptism "as an arbitrary command unrelated to the Cross"

(K.C. Moser, from Restoration Review, May 1992, p. 289)

Preach Christ or His Church?

"Our focus moved from Christ crucified to his church, a subtle but profoundly destructive shift ... Once our sickness took hold, we grew weaker and weaker, more and more anemic"

(Main thesis of Bill Love, The Core Gospel, pg. 257, also applied to the Bible, baptism, obedience faith, conversion, etc.).

Love's Leaven, Error's Echoes

  1. Love's book endorsed by Ed Fudge, Max Lucado, Tom Olbricht (Pepperdine U.), Harold Hazelip (D. Lipscomb U.), Leonard Allen (Abilene Christian U.), and Many Other Liberals.
  2. Leonard Allen, The Cruciform Church
  3. Articles in Christianity Magazine, Feb. 1992, pp. 12, 22

Who Does This?

  1. Some brethren have strayed "from a cross-centered evangelistic message to a church-centered appeal" by focusing on "the differences between ourselves and the denominations around us"

    (Mike Rosser, Christianity Magazine, Feb. 1992, p. 22).

  2. "Too many" brethren are preaching "the kingdom, baptism, obedience, etc. ... to the apparent exclusion of Jesus Christ"

    (Floyd Chappalear, God's Work in God's Way, 1991, p. 108).

  3. "I blush to admit that, those of us who 'Preach Christ', preach more about Us than Him" Because we emphasize "baptism," "the church," and "instrumental music."

    (Don Hooton, Bulletin from Tustin, CA 1992).

None of the men cite a single preacher, book, article or sermon!

Doctrine of Christ in Disfavor

Re-define Gospel to Exclude Doctrine

"Too much doctrine" is charged

Doctrine is Controversial, Divisive, Not Clear; None can agree on Doctrine; Unity in Diversity; Use fewer scriptures; "Eliminate negative, accentuate positive"; "Lack of Clarity"; Who can be sure?" (Christianity Magazine)

Quotes - Inability of Man

"I used to illustrate like this (not knowing any better). What if, I would ask, he had commanded you to believe and jump of the Empire State building? What in the name of reason did that have to do with a sinner's relationship to the cross? I was preaching naked authority - not the gospel! But I had been taught that baptism is like the command 'walk around the city' or 'dip seven times in the Jordan'. God forgive me, I did it ignorantly."

"Justification cannot be of grace and works at the same time."

Justification is wholly outside of man."

Arnold Hardin

Imputation of Christ's Perfection

"'When God justifies the ungodly, he does not regard him as being other than he is. He only declares that justice is satisfied, and in that sense he is just.' (Hodges) ... thus becoming clothed with the robes of Christ's righteousness."

"And so justification is our being counted righteous: not really righteous, but counted so by our Lord."

"We have no robes of righteousness with which to clothe ourselves. God spent thirty three years weaving one for sinners and such must put it on."

Arnold Hardin


"Parties are formed and the party spirit maintained basically because of the widespread misunderstanding of Gospel and Doctrine! We have turned every scrap of information into gospel and each with his own understanding believes all others to be perverting the precious gospel of Christ."

"A determination of what constitutes the gospel would be incomplete until one has examined the subject in the light of Gospel and Law, or the difference between Justification and Sanctification."

Arnold Hardin

Unity In Diversity

"Does our salvation depend upon our being right about everything, or in being right about Christ? In other words, if one is right about Christ then that one can be wrong about some doctrinal instruction without being lost, can he not?"

Arnold Hardin

Which Doctrine Can I Be Wrong About?

Use of Calvinism Among Churches of Christ

Most Deny Believing in Calvinism
Terms are Re-defined with Same Result
Result: Hybrid "Neo-Calvinism"
Basis of Unity in Diversity


Quotes - The Gospel

"The gospel consisted of the life, death, burial, resurrection, ascension, coronation and glorification of Jesus."

"The gospel was proclaimed as fully and completely on the first Pentecost after the resurrection of Jesus as it ever has been, and nothing written later was added to it."

"Not one apostolic letter is a part of the gospel ... the Roman letter was not a part of the gospel ... the letter to the Galatians was not a part of the gospel."

Carl Ketcherside
Mission Messenger

Basis for "Unity in Diversity"
Neo-Calvinism's Gospel/Doctrine Distinction

Perfection Under Gospel

But this is a myth, not accepted without dispute, no basis for unity even among Neo-Calvinists

"Unity In Diversity"

"In the gospel itself there is no place or reason for diversity. ... in doctrinal matters there can be and will be diversity of opinion and interpretation ... But this is good."

"It is the gospel and not doctrine that determines fellowship."

"No man has the right to make his own deductions a test of fellowship."

Leroy Garrett

Quotes - C.H. Dodd

Asserting an unproven distinction between Gospel and Doctrine, Dodd could not agree with others what the "Gospel" was.

His list (which permitted no diversity) included:

  1. Prophecies fulfilled - new age opened
  2. Jesus born of seed of David
  3. Died according to Scriptures
  4. Was buried
  5. Rose on third day
  6. Exalted at God's right hand
  7. Will come again

Unity In Diversity Today
(Gospel Doctrine Distinction)

Ketcherside, Garrett, Hardin, Shelly, et al


Distinct From


Core Gospel - 7 Facts - Grace

Doctrine - teaching, commands, law

Saved - Establish Fellowship with God

Unity in Diversity - Fellowship with Brethren

"If we are right about Christ, we can be wrong about matters of doctrine."

"Perfectionists, Legalists, Pharisees, believe one must be right on every matter of doctrine."

Unity in Diversity Today
(Gospel Doctrine Distinction)

Are These Mutually Exclusive?




"didaskalia, didache"

"Basis of Fellowship"

"Unity in Diversity"

Ignorance Not Allowed
Must Obey Perfectly
No Diversity
"Right About Christ"

Ignorance Allowed
Perfection not Required
Diversity Permitted
"Wrong About Doctrine"

Applications: Core Gospel, Bill Love; Cruciform Church, C. Leonard Allen; R. Shelly, Hardin, Hohf, Partain, et al

Gospel and Doctrine used Interchangeably in Scripture









Doctrine Includes Gospel
2 Timothy 3:16

Gospel Includes Doctrine
1 Timothy 1:8-11

(cf. John 18:19; Acts 5:21, 28, 42; 13:12; 15:35; 17:18-19; 20:20, 25)

e-mail this author at tmr1@flash.net

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