Half Christian?

(Got this devotional in my email this week from Pastor Steve Taylor.  I thought it would be good to post here for some thoughts and discussion)

Are you only half a Christian if you’ve only received half of the Gospel? Maybe that sounds like a ridiculous question but it’s a very real concern that I’ve had for some time.  

Acts 8:12 states, “But when they believed Philip preaching the good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were being baptized, men and women alike.” 

I’m absolutely convinced that the key component of the first-century church was that they embraced the complete, two-part Gospel – the good news of the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ. The dynamic mix of these two essentials was central to the unleashing of Holy Spirit power on the day of Pentecost.  The first believers understood that they could not have a King without a Kingdom nor a Kingdom without a King. It was unthinkable for them to believe or proclaim half of the Gospel. 

Evidence of embracing this essential two-part Gospel abounds in Acts – 14:22; 19:8; 20:25; and 28:23,31 are all direct references along with many other indirect references. This two-part Gospel was the “magnificent obsession” of the early Church. 

Many believers throughout the ages have sought to “re-enact Acts”. Some have assumed that if they could get the gift of tongues, healings, and miracles and live communally that they would succeed. Without the complete two-part Gospel there is not the slightest chance that any of these things would even come close. 

I’ve been asked many times if it really makes that much difference whether one “believes in Jesus” or “the good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ”. Are you only half a Christian if you only believe in half of the Gospel? 

The difference in which Gospel you believe in may appear to be subtle but so it is with anything that is counterfeit. Counterfeit currency can be very convincing unless one is very discerning. I may be naive enough to receive a counterfeit twenty dollar bill from a cashier but another observant cashier will recognize the counterfeit when I try to spend it and, to my loss, I will discover that it is totally useless. 

Receiving half of the Gospel is comparable to flying on a plane that has its flight plan only half right. Flying at the right altitude does little good if the pilot doesn’t also have the coordinates for the destination.  

Given the choice of having a whole piece of pie versus a half a piece of pie for dessert, I’m selfish enough to insist on the whole piece of pie. When it comes to the Gospel, we all should be “righteously selfish” (is that really a phrase?) and insist on the whole Gospel instead of only half of it. 

Blessings today as you receive the fullness of God’s grace by embracing the whole Gospel. 

Pastor Steve

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One response to this post.

  1. Posted by JohnO on February 23, 2007 at 7:02 pm

    I wonder if one is Christian at all. If the Gospel saves, and you’re missing it – you have to wonder if you’re saved.

    Reply

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