Larry Ray Hafley


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Contending for the Faith

"The Four Gospels Are All We Need"


Larry, do you have any material or thoughts when one says that the 4 gospels are all we need, and that Paul was corrupt and did not preach what Jesus said?


First, though I understand what you mean, and often use the term myself, it is actually one gospel with four different records of it.

Second, if the four gospel accounts are all we need:

  1. Why did the Lord say that he that heareth you heareth me (Lk. 10:16)? More was to come to the apostles, for they could not grasp it all then (Jn. 16:12, 13). But why speak of that which would be revealed if the gospel accounts are all we need?

  2. Why did Jesus speak of some who would believe on him through their (the apostles') word (Jn. 17:20)? Why speak of "their word," which would be given later to them, if the gospel accounts are all we need (Jn. 16:7-14)?

  3. Why did Jesus speak of the apostles doing greater works than he had done (Jn. 14:12)? Since they did not do them during the gospel accounts, when did they do them and why, if the gospel accounts are all we need?

  4. Why did Jesus, in the gospel accounts, speak of the Holy Spirit convicting the world of sin, if they (the gospel accounts) alone are sufficient (Cf. Jn.7:37-39; 16:8; Acts 1:8; 2:4, 36-41)?

  5. Why did Jesus speak of the gospel being "preached in the whole world" (to Jew and Gentile) if the gospel accounts are all we need (Matt. 26:13--"whole world")? This preaching of the gospel was not done prior to the great commission of Matthew 28:18-20; Mk. 16:15, 16; Lk. 24:46-49; Acts 1:8; 2:4). This preaching to the "whole world" was after Jesus' death, burial, resurrection and ascension to the right hand of the Father (Acts 2:30-36). So, why did Jesus refer to it, IF the gospel accounts alone are sufficient?

  6. If Paul was corrupt and "did not preach what Jesus said," so was the gospel which Peter preached, for they both spoke the same thing (dispensationalist doctrine to the contrary notwithstanding).

      (A) In Galatians 1:23, Paul said he now preached the gospel which he once opposed. What gospel did he once oppose (Acts 8:1-3; 9:1, 2)? He once opposed the gospel Peter preached, and that gospel was that of the resurrection of Christ (Acts 4:2, 33; 14:3). If Paul's gospel "was corrupt," so was Peter's.

      (B) in 1 Corinthians 15:11, Paul said, "Therefore whether it were I or they, so we preach, and so ye believed." As context clearly shows, "they" included Peter and the other apostles (15:5-11). It made no difference whether one heard Paul or Peter, true gospel faith and salvation resulted, no matter which one they heard. If Paul's gospel was corrupt, so was Peter's.

      (C) Paul worked the signs of an apostle (2 Cor. 12:12). The things he wrote were "the commandments of the Lord" (1 Cor. 14:37; Eph. 3:5). These were things delivered to the "holy apostles and prophets" (Cf. Eph. 3:3-5, 8-11; 2 Pet. 3:1, 2). Peter could do more than work "the signs of an apostle," so if Paul's teaching is "corrupt," so is Peter's.

  7. Where do we learn of local church organization, of elders and deacons? Certainly not in "the 4 gospels"!

  8. Where do we read of a church receiving funds to do its work? Again, not in "the 4 gospels"!

  9. Where do we see that the Lord's supper is to be eaten "upon the first day of the week"? Do any of "the 4 gospels" speak of Christians partaking of it on that day?

  10. Where do we learn that Holy Spirit baptism, tongues speaking, and spiritual gifts have ceased? The gospel record of Mark ends with language which, without other testimony, particularly that given by Paul, sounds as though such miraculous works continue in perpetuity. How do we know they have ceased and that men are not being so led today without the testimony of Paul? (If one argues that Paul's denial that such gifts continue is part of his corruption, it follows that if a person cannot work miracles and perform the signs, he is an unbeliever, according to the gospel records (Mk. 16:17-20). Will those who say "that the 4 gospels are all we need" accept that consequence?)

Third, those who make the charge that Paul "did not preach what Jesus said" need to offer proof of their charge. He did speak Jesus' words and exhorted disciples to "remember the words of the Lord Jesus" (Acts 20:35). Further he said, "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom" (Col. 3:16). He said that in Christ were hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge (Col. 2:3-8) These are strange words coming from a man who allegedly did not "preach what Jesus said." So, what is there about Paul's gospel that is deficient or corrupt? We need specifics, not general accusations.

    (A) If Paul's word was "corrupt" why did Peter refer to it with approval (2 Pet. 3:16)?

    (B) If Paul's word was corrupt, why did Peter, James, and John extend to him the right hand of fellowship (Gal. 2:7-9; Cf. Acts 15:12)? If Paul was corrupt, their acceptance of him would have made them partakers of his evil deeds and doctrines (2 John 9-11; Cf. 1 Jn. 4:1, 6; 2 Cor. 6:14-17; Gal. 1:6-9; 3:1-5; 5:7).

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