Shepherds’ Conference 2017 Session 2 Notes

Shepherds Conference 2017

Session 2

Phil Johnson


No Other Gospel

Galatians 1:6-7


Galatia was a region, not a single city.

Paul went through there in Acts 13-14.

Lystra, Derbe, other places were Galatian cities.


False teachers liked to follow Paul and tell the gentile converts that, if they wanted to become real Christians, they must be first converted to Judaism.

Paul showed in Romans that Abram was saved long before he was circumcised.

Acts 15 describes the false doctrine Paul had to battle in Galatians.


Two different words for another gospel in this passage.

Heteros, another of a different kind.

Allos another of the same kind.

They bring another gospel that is not another.

There is no other gospel.

Paul presents a harsh, double curse for those who would offer a different gospel.

You must not miss the significance of the language Paul used here.

Paul does not invite these people to debate with him on the false gospel.

He just calls them heretics and tells the Galatians to have nothing at all to do with them.

The point of not listening to an angel is hypothetical,

Such would never happen.


It is clearly not always right to be warm and welcoming.

Sometimes a curse is required.

That does not mean you should be a full time contrarian.

1 Pet 3:9, no repaying evil for evil.

Bless those who persecute you.


But the problem here is not Paul’s personal honor.

This was an attack on the gospel.

Him who called you is the Lord, not Paul.

These false teachers were turning people against Christ.

That is why Paul fought hard.

He was defending the message, not the messenger.


Many protestants have forgotten the problem with the Roman Catholic gospel.

The prosperity preachers of TBN are offering earthly blessing for money. They are selling indulgences as much as were sold in the 16th century.

We need a generation of men with the spirit of Luther and Calvin.

We need to wage war against false gospels.

The best scholars throughout church history have always been passionate polemicists.

We need clear and uncompromising voices.



First verse after the introduction.

Intro usually has words of praise after Paul’s name.

He even had praise for the believers in Corinth.

Paul thanked God for the Corinthians and for God’s grace on them.

Every one of Paul’s letters has kind things to say to the church except the book of Galatians.

But there is no commendation in Galatians, all through the book.


Paul’s rebuke is passionate.

This book is a strong reprimand.

Paul remains stern and never blunts his voice of rebuke in this letter.


Paul’s opening words in a letter always contain some sort of gospel words.

V4 has the gospel and substitutionary atonement.

In Scripture, people are surprised at how rapidly heresy infected and damaged the churches.

Revelation and Galatians show us this.

This is one reason why we cannot assume that, just because something became a practice, even in the early church, it is what should be our practice today.


Part of being fallen is to desire a different gospel than the one God presents.

The gospel offends our sinful hearts.

An R. C. Sproul story.

A person told him the gospel was primitive and obscene.

Primitive is proper.

God is making the gospel accessible to ordinary, primitive people.

It is obscene.

How else could we deal with the ugliness of the accumulated sin that God will forgive?


Most gospel corrupters do not set out to be heretics.

Most are deceived before they become deceivers.

They are self-deceived.

They think they can fix what is distasteful about the message of the cross.

The desire to fix the gospel and make it not offensive is a sinful desire.

People who think we can be so radically contextualized so as to be cool and popular in our world will always end up compromising the gospel somewhere.


2 Cor 11:3, a main strategy of Satan is to draw us away from the simplicity of the gospel.




Point 1: An itch for something new.

Why do evangelicals move from fad to fad with such ease?

The people we minister to are far too easily corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.

People say we need to follow the styles of popular culture to reach the culture.

Today’s fads will be the brunt of tomorrow’s jokes.

Consider that no person of influence in evangelicalism today is talking about The Prayer of jabez.

That which is true is not new, and that which is new is not true.

Paul was astonished at their jumping for the new stuff.

While he was with them, in person, he already warned them not to buy into a new message.

Acts 17:21, spending your time only talking about and listening for what is new.

That is like the Internet.

There is only one gospel, and it cannot be improved upon.

Some people would rather talk about anything other than the simple content of the gospel.

Sin, righteousness, and judgment are omitted from the pulpits of today in the name of being relevant.

But that is what the Spirit will teach us.


Point 2: An urge to modify.

V7, some want to distort the gospel.

They probably thought they were improving the gospel.

It is not always a love of the new.

The circumcision party wanted to preserve the old.

They wanted to modify the gospel.

The urge to modify is the Bain of many who work in the academic realm

Novelty is required in many dissertations.

Scholars spin out new perspectives and other modified doctrines.

The circumcision party wanted to make a little tweak, a slight change in the ordo solutis.

They wanted to put a good work before justification.

A minimal expression of obedience was something they thought should come before justification.

In many of our worlds, people would not find this enough to disagree about.

Just think of all they agreed on.

Deity of Christ, imputation, faith, resurrection, etc.

But Paul would not compromise.

The circumcision party made justification hinge on a work done by the sinner.

That was enough to lose the gospel completely.

To make any kind of human work instrumental in justification is to destroy the doctrine completely.

When it comes to the gospel, the urge to modify is damnably sinful.


Point 3: A craving for the applause of men.


Paul could have pleased a lot of people had he went along with the circumcision or just ignored them.

Paul knew what it was like to crave the applause of men.

He did that in his former life.

There is no greater impediment to genuine faith than seeking the praise of men.

You cannot faithfully proclaim the gospel if you mince words.