No Other Gospel -- By: George H. Martin

Journal: Southern Baptist Journal of Theology
Volume: SBJT 01:4 (Winter 1997)
Article: No Other Gospel
Author: George H. Martin


No Other Gospel

George H. Martin

George Martin is Associate Professor of Missions at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, where he has taught since 1996. A veteran missionary, Martin combines biblical scholarship and practical ministry in his lectures and writings.

Tell me the old, old story
Of unseen things above,

Of Jesus and His glory,
Of Jesus and His love

So go the opening lines of the great old hymn so familiar to many. Then, filling out the story and its meaning, lyricist Katherine Hankey continues:

Tell me the story slowly,
That I may take it in -

That wonderful redemption,
God’s remedy for sin.

Tell me the story often,
For I forget so soon;

The early dew of morning
Has passed away at noon.

The gospel message is about redemption, the remedy for sin. These truths are easily forgotten, thus the need constantly to be reminded—Tell me the story often, For I forget so soon. The question arises, though, as to whether the core of that old, old story that is loved so passionately—that Jesus came to die as God’s remedy for sin—is a story with universal application.

Reaching People for Jesus

The following scenarios indicate that not all professing Christians agree on the answer to the question just posed. Envision a discussion about possible strategies for reaching animists1 with the gospel.2 The discussion ranges far afield, touching on the best use of financial and human resources, the linguistic and cultural barriers involved in evangelizing the animists, and many other pertinent matters.

At one point in the discussion the following statements are made. “We should not present Jesus Christ to the animists as the savior of sinners. After all, their concept of sin is not the same as ours. Nor do they, in the same sense as we, understand themselves to need a savior. The great concern of the animists is to be delivered from the malevolent spirits, which they believe inhabit the world around them. Thus, we need to present Jesus to them not as the savior of sinners, but as the ‘Great Spirit’ who can protect them and enrich their lives.”

Imagine a different dialogue, at another place and time, among a number of people who are keenly interested in missions. Thinking about the difficulty of communicating the gospel across cultures, the statement is made, “Western missionaries press on with the concept of ‘justification’ even among people for whom that is not a concern. Often, they (the ...

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