“I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.” Galatians 1:6-9 ESV
False gospels are running rampant these days. From the prosperity gospel to the rank heresy of the Word of Faith movement, they are making a major impact in evangelicalism, and it’s unwise not to confront them.
As we see in the above passage, the Apostle Paul uses the term “accursed.” It is the Greek word anathema. This means devoted to God for destruction. Paul doesn’t mince word; he doesn’t beat around the bush. He “tell it like it is.” Paul proclaims that anybody who preaches a false gospel is devoted to God for destruction.
He took this issue of false gospels so serious that he went further to say that “even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed.”
This is no secondary issue. It doesn’t matter how popular the person is; it doesn’t matter if the person has had faithful doctrine in the past; it doesn’t matter if they have the biggest church; it doesn’t matter if it’s an apostle of an angel–if they preach a false gospel, Galatians 1:9 is meant for them.
John Piper said this about this passage:
“If you get the gospel wrong, you perish.”
If John Piper started preaching a different gospel, we should not exclude him. He would fall under the “accursed” category. If the person gets the gospel wrong, they perish.
The Proper Response
We should take this as an example of how we should respond to false gospels. We should not cower in fear of criticism; we should not take a step back and “let God be the judge.” We are commanded to confront false teachers/gospels with the authority of Scripture.
If we care about the souls of false teachers—if we care about the souls of anybody—we would lovingly confront the false teaching and call them to repentance.
Confronting false gospels is no small task. We should learn from the Apostle Paul and make it a point to confront when appropriate. With that being said, we need to make sure heresy is being preached. Is there ambiguity, or is it clear what’s being preached? Let’s be slow to speak, but let’s also be confident in the authority of Scripture.
During these times, a lot of heresy is confronted on Facebook/Twitter. I am not saying this is wrong—far from it. But be careful how you come across on these mediums. Nobody can see your tone. Simply be careful how you come across.
Let us not be complicit with false gospels. Stand firm on the Word of God!
Soli Deo Gloria