Popular evangelist Chuck Swindoll was speaking on the theme of grace and its relationship to God’s will on his radio program “Insight for Living,” looking at material from Paul’s letter to the churches of Galatia. Among his textual references for the day was this sobering one from chapter 1:
“I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel — which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned! As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned” (Galatians 1:6-9),
Swindoll made the observation that “If people turned from the gospel in Paul’s day, it can surely happen in our ministries, when there are no apostles to confirm our theology.”
Swindoll points to something many would likely consider obvious, and yet some seemingly do not see as of much concern. In spite of this, teaching what deviates from the gospel of Christ in the New Testament distorts God’s intentions regarding salvation and bears eternal consequences. The existence of such is possible in our age, just as in the time of the apostle’s work.
So great was Paul’s desire to impress these Christians with the importance of staying with an uncorrupted message, and the corresponding necessity of careful teaching, he made it clear that divinely appointed apostles, even angels, would be held accountable for the content of their instruction about the person, life, will and work of Jesus Christ!
Chuck Swindoll said that today “…there are no apostles to confirm our theology.” This is absolutely correct. However, the apostles of the early church confirm today’s teaching that is true to the will of God through their inspired messages in the text of the New Testament. Paul implies this in the Galatian passage in his reference to “a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you” (Galatians 1:8).
The Galatian Christians were to judge any teaching they received by the message they originally received from Paul and his companions.
Other passages point out the significance of inspired apostolic teaching. Note just a few: Matthew 28:19-20; John 14:26,15:26-27 and 16:13; and Ephesians 2:19-20.
No one is perfect in understanding or teaching the Bible. Yet there is a sense of gravity, accented in the passage from Galatians 1 that requires us to be faithful to the will of God in our teaching holy scripture as confirmed by his apostles and other inspired teachers for all time
Every teacher should give thanks for the opportunity to share the gospel with others.