Accuracy is, of course, the only attribute of the news that trumps speed in importance. So it must have been with unreserved horror that the editor of an English newspaper a little more than a hundred years ago opened his printed and distributed paper to find in it a most embarrassing unintentional typographical conflation of two stories: one story being about a patent pig-killing and sausage-making machine and the other about a local clergyman, the Rev. Dr. Mudge, who was being presented with a gold-headed cane. A portion of the famously-mangled story reads as follows:
Several of Rev. Dr. Mudge’s friends called upon him yesterday, and after a conversation the unsuspecting pig was seized by the hind leg, and slid along a beam until he reached the hot-water tank. . . . Thereupon he came forward and said that there were times when the feelings overpowered one, and for that reason he would not attempt to do more than thank those around him for the manner in which such a huge animal was cut into fragments was simply astonishing. The doctor concluded his remarks, when the machine seized him and, in less time than it takes to write it, the pig was cut into fragments and worked up into a delicious sausage. The occasion will be long remembered by the doctor’s friends as one of the most delightful of their lives. The best pieces can be procured for tenpence a pound, and we are sure that those who have sat so long under his ministry will rejoice that he has been treated so handsomely.
(From: Mark Dever, 9 Marks of a Healthy Church, 79.)
In his chapter on the gospel, Mark Dever points out that general belief is not the central key to saving faith in Christ. What matters, what truly matters, is that the one who believes believe in an accurate, authentic, clear gospel.
We live among a people who have many different beliefs about what it means to be saved. Some people thing God is simply not willing to punish sin. Others think they are not so bad. Still others assume that they will have a chance to make things right with God later in life or after they are dead. Some think they will be good enough to earn God’s grace. Some think they can give to a church or serve in the community to earn a pass into heaven.
Christians, it is crucial for us to see to it that those around us—our friends, neighbors, and families—know the one true gospel. They must see that the only way to be made right with God is not through good deeds, but through a genuine, life-changing, soul-entrusting faith in the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ. If we are to do this, we must be committed to two things. First, we must be committed to being certain that we personally have a solid grasp of the content of the gospel. Second, we must make it our priority to take that gospel to every person in our community and to see to it that it gets to every people group in the world. Will you make it your priority to know the gospel and then go and share it with a lost world?