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Mid Acts Dispensationalist Movement: What Did Paul Preach? The Gospel or the Kingdom of God?
Within the Mid Acts Dispensationalist movement there many doctrines that are not Biblical and that need to be addressed and examined by looking at what the Bible teaches. Those within this movement believe that Paul taught a different gospel message than what the other Apostles taught. There are two terms that need to be defined for proper understanding concerning what this information will present. The Gospel according to an Mid Acts Dispensationalist is that Jesus Christ died on the cross, rose again the third day, and that the gift of eternal life is a free gift to anyone who believes in the finished work of Jesus Christ. Mid Acts Dispensationalists believe that Paul was the first one to preach this Gospel and that the other Apostles were preaching a faith-works gospel called the Kingdom of God. They believe that Jesus came only for the nation of Israel and that the Apostles went out preaching the Kingdom of God only to the Jews, and that message was to repent and be baptized, and the doctrine of grace was not revealed until the conversion of the Apostle Paul.
This is the dividing line when it comes to the truth of the Gospel and the Kingdom of God. What is the Gospel? What is the Kingdom of God? Did Paul only preach the Gospel or did Paul preach both the Gospel and the Kingdom of God as being the same truth? The following Scripture references are from the King James Version.
The Gospel and the Kingdom of God in the Epistle of 1 Corinthians 15
In 1 Corinthians 15 Paul expounds on the Gospel message: “1 Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; 2 By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. 3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; 4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures.” (1 Corinthians 15:1-4) Something’s to point out here concerning what Paul is teaching. Paul is speaking to those who are believers in Corinth on the message that he has taught them concerning the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Paul states that the Gospel saves, but it seems that Paul is concerned that there is some that may not be truly standing on the message that he taught them and was concerned that some may of believed in vain. Paul presents the Gospel in simple language. Paul states that it is the Scriptures that teach the truth concerning the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The truth of the Gospel is what saves anyone from the sting of death and sin, and Paul is teaching this truth throughout all of 1 Corinthians 15. In 1 Corinthians 15:50-58 Paul teaches the same Gospel truth concerning the believers future state of being transformed from the natural body to the spiritual body, and Paul is addresses that the natural man can not “inherit the Kingdom of God.”
1 Corinthians 15:50-58 states: “50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. 51 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal [must] put on immortality. 54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. 55 O death, where [is] thy sting? O grave, where [is] thy victory? 56 The sting of death [is] sin; and the strength of sin [is] the law. 57 But thanks [be] to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.”
These Scriptures go with what Paul taught in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 on the Gospel saving those who believe in Jesus, and addresses all those who believe their labor is not in vain. Paul is teaching in verses 50-58 on the doctrine of a believer in Christ being transformed from the natural body, which is corruptible, to the spiritual body, which is incorruptible. Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:50 teaches that the natural man can not “inherit the kingdom of God” without being transformed, which is clearly speaking of being able to enter into the presence of God. The clear context is the work of the cross and the resurrection accomplished victory over sin and death. The statement “kingdom of God” in 1 Corinthians 15:50 is speaking of eternal life in the presence of God, and Paul equates the Gospel and the Kingdom of God as being the same truth here.
The Gospel and the Kingdom of God in the Epistle of Galatians 5
Throughout the Epistle of Galatians the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the central teaching. In Galatians 5 Paul is addressing the lifestyle of those who claim to be believers and those who are walking according to the Spirit. Galatians 5:19-21 states: “19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are [these]; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, 20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, 21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told [you] in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.” Paul throughout his Epistles clarifies the doctrine of grace and that those who are truly in Christ are saved by grace through faith and not of works. Paul in the close of verse 21 states “which do such things” shall not inherit “the kingdom of God.” The statement “which do such things” in the Greek actually is stating those who “practice or live in a state of habitual sin”, not the mere act of a sin. The statement “kingdom of God” in verse 21 is a clear reference to the presence of God, and Paul is teaching those who live a life of habitual sin truly are not of God and they will not enter into His presence. The importance of this truth is that Paul taught “the Kingdom of God” as being the same as the Gospel message. The grace of God not only saves anyone from sin and eternal judgment to come, but also teaches to deny unrighteousness and ungodliness. (Titus 2:11-12)
The Gospel and Kingdom of God in the book of Acts
The Mid Acts Dispensationalists teach that Paul went through transitions in his theology. The truth is that Paul taught the Kingdom of God as the Gospel message throughout his Epistles and is seen throughout the book of Acts. Acts 14:21-22 states: “21 And when they had preached the gospel to that city, and had taught many, they returned again to Lystra, and [to] Iconium, and Antioch, 22 Confirming the souls of the disciples, [and] exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.” Paul and Barnabas here preached “the gospel” to those in Acts 14, and in verses 6-7 it states they preached “the gospel” to them: “6 They were ware of [it], and fled unto Lystra and Derbe, cities of Lycaonia, and unto the region that lieth round about: 7 And there they preached the gospel.” (Acts 14:6-7)
These verses go with Acts 14:21-22 and within these verses we find the following:
- The Gospel was preached and people were saved
Paul and Barnabas returned to exhort them to continue in the faith Peter and Barnabas returned and exhorted them on going through much tribulation to enter into the Kingdom of God.
Within these Scriptures we see the Gospel message being the same truth of the Kingdom of God.
In the book of Acts chapter 20 Paul states the following: “21 Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. 22 And now, behold, I go bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall me there: 23 Save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide me. 24 But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God. 25 And now, behold, I know that ye all, among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God, shall see my face no more. 26 Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I [am] pure from the blood of all [men]. 27 For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.” (Acts 20:21-27) Paul is addressing believers in Ephesus on what he has taught them concerning Jesus Christ. It is clear that Paul taught both Jews and Greeks repentance toward God and faith toward Jesus Christ. It is clear that Paul spoke of his ministry in which he testified of “the gospel of the grace of God” and the “preaching of the kingdom of God.” The context is clear that Paul equates the Gospel and the Kingdom of God as being the same truth concerning Jesus Christ.
In the closing of the book of Acts Paul is recorded on teaching the following:
“23 And when they had appointed him a day, there came many to him into [his] lodging; to whom he expounded and testified the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus, both out of the law of Moses, and [out of] the prophets, from morning till evening. 24 And some believed the things which were spoken, and some believed not. 25 And when they agreed not among themselves, they departed, after that Paul had spoken one word, Well spake the Holy Ghost by Esaias the prophet unto our fathers, 26 Saying, Go unto this people, and say, Hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and not perceive: 27 For the heart of this people is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes have they closed; lest they should see with [their] eyes, and hear with [their] ears, and understand with [their] heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. 28 Be it known therefore unto you, that the salvation of God is sent unto the Gentiles, and [that] they will hear it. 29 And when he had said these words, the Jews departed, and had great reasoning among themselves. 30 And Paul dwelt two whole years in his own hired house, and received all that came in unto him, 31 Preaching the kingdom of God, and teaching those things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ, with all confidence, no man forbidding him.” (Acts 28:23-31)
Paul in these Scriptures is said to be teaching and preaching the Kingdom of God concerning Jesus Christ. Did Paul teach what Mid Acts Dispensationalists teach on the Gospel being different from the Kingdom of God? It is very clear that the Kingdom of God truth is the Gospel message. The Kingdom of God was to believe in Jesus, and it is clear that Paul taught this.
The Kingdom of God is coming to Christ and being delivered from the domain of Satan
Paul in his Epistle to the Colossians states the following: “13 Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated [us] into the kingdom of his dear Son: 14 In whom we have redemption through his blood, [even] the forgiveness of sins.” (Colossians 1:13-14) The truth of the Gospel message is that those who have become believers in Christ Jesus have been delivered from the power of darkness (Satan), and have been translated into the Kingdom of His Son. The true Kingdom of God is the work of the cross and what Jesus paid for with His life and through the resurrection.
Mid Acts Dispensationalists are deceived in their doctrines concerning what the Apostle Paul taught. Mid Acts Dispensationalists have false teachings on what the Gospel and the Kingdom of God truly is, and the Bible is very clear that they are not teaching the Word of God in truth. The Apostle Peter wrote that there were those who were wrongly interpreting what Paul was teaching:
“15 And account [that] the longsuffering of our Lord [is] salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; 16 As also in all [his] epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as [they do] also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction. 17 Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know [these things] before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness. 18 But grow in grace, and [in] the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him [be] glory both now and for ever. Amen.” (2 Peter 3:15-18)
There were people who were being misled by their own theology on what Paul taught back then and continues today. May this information be used to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ and help those who have been deceived in this false movement that claims to be of God come to see the truth of God’s Word.
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