A Tale of Two Apostles

September 19, 2008

A long time ago, in a Roman land far away, there was an apostle named Paul from the city of Tarsus. Paul was sent to proclaim Jesus’ gospel to the Gentiles. And Paul was very protective of that gospel.

He got angry when anyone changed the content of the gospel. He even wrote a letter to the churches in Galatia, warning them: “If any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed!”

Another time, Paul scolded the church in Corinth for putting up with so-called apostles who were teaching a different gospel:

For if one comes and preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted, you bear this beautifully. … For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ.

What was the gospel Paul preached? He stated it in clear terms to the church in Corinth, so there’d be no confusion:

Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you … by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word I preached to you … that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day.

Paul’s gospel was that Jesus came to save sinners.

The ‘Apostle’ C. Peter Wagner

C. Peter Wagner

C. Peter Wagner

Not so long ago, in a place not so far away — the city of Colorado Springs, Colo. — there is another “apostle” named C. Peter Wagner.

Wagner claims he, too, is sent by Jesus. Yet, Wagner’s gospel sounds very different than the one preached by the Apostle Paul. One day last January, Wagner shared his gospel with Christians at a conference in Denton, Texas:

“Jesus came to save that which was lost — literally the dominion that Adam gave up in the Garden of Eden is now being restored.”

And what was the dominion Wagner preached? He stated it in clear terms to the conference attendees, so there’d be no confusion:

Dominion has to do with control, dominion has to do with rulership, dominion has to do with authority and subduing — and it relates to society. … In other words, it’s talking about transforming society. Watch him here.

Wagner’s gospel is that Jesus came to give Christians dominion.

So, whose version of the gospel is right?