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The Four Gospels

May 24, 2015

Matthew, Mark, Luke and John are often called "The Four Gospels" and for good reason. They each contain an account of the life and ministry of Jesus Christ, and His subsequent death, burial and resurrection. Gospel means good message, or good news. These four books share the good news that the savior of the world has come. And, yes, they do belong in the New Testament canon of books. - Bernie Parsons



The Four Gospels

by Bernie Parsons


Presented to Globe church of Christ on 05-24-2015

Presented to Load church of Christ on 06-28-2015



There is a renewed effort in the conservative wing of the Church of Christ to push the Biblical writings we know as Matthew, Mark, Luke and John into the Old Testament canon. These are known as “The Four Gospels” because they take deep looks into the life and teachings of Jesus.


Why would the four gospels be shoved back into the Old Testament writings? Two thorny doctrines distress some conservative ministers, and by making this move, they think that their problems are solved.


One doctrine they often refer to is “What about the thief on the cross?” This question is often voiced by critics of water baptism for the remission of sins.


Luke 23:39 "And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us.

40 But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation?

41 And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss.

42 And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.

43 And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise."


Quite simply, Jesus had the power to forgive sins.


Luke 5:20 "And when he saw their faith, he said unto him, Man, thy sins are forgiven thee.

21 And the scribes and the Pharisees began to reason, saying, Who is this which speaketh blasphemies? Who can forgive sins, but God alone?

22 But when Jesus perceived their thoughts, he answering said unto them, What reason ye in your hearts?

23 Whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Rise up and walk?

24 But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power upon earth to forgive sins, (he said unto the sick of the palsy,) I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy couch, and go into thine house.

25 And immediately he rose up before them, and took up that whereon he lay, and departed to his own house, glorifying God."


The other thorny issue is when Jesus said that a man may not divorce his wife “except it be fornication”. This is actually the bigger issue and the one that drives this movement the hardest.


Matthew 19:3 "The Pharisees also came unto him, tempting him, and saying unto him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause?

4 And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female,

5 And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh?

6 Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.

7 They say unto him, Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away?

8 He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so.

9 And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.

10 His disciples say unto him, If the case of the man be so with his wife, it is not good to marry.

11 But he said unto them, All men cannot receive this saying, save they to whom it is given.

12 For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their mother's womb: and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men: and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it."


Proponents of moving the four gospels to the Old Testament feel that by doing so, they can declare the words of Jesus as “part of the Old Testament and therefore not binding today”.


Are the gospels part of the Old Testament canon, or do they belong in the New Testament?


Romans 1:16 "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek."


Mark 1:1 "The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God;

2 As it is written in the prophets, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee."


Matthew 24:14 "And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come."


Mark 16:14 "Afterward he appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen.

15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.

16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned."


Some argue that Jesus was speaking of a narrow doctrine on faith and baptism, and not all of the words that He had spoken. Yet, He knew that His entire life and ministry would be preached.


Mark 14:3 "And being in Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he sat at meat, there came a woman having an alabaster box of ointment of spikenard very precious; and she brake the box, and poured it on his head.

4 And there were some that had indignation within themselves, and said, Why was this waste of the ointment made?

5 For it might have been sold for more than three hundred pence, and have been given to the poor. And they murmured against her.

6 And Jesus said, Let her alone; why trouble ye her? she hath wrought a good work on me.

7 For ye have the poor with you always, and whensoever ye will ye may do them good: but me ye have not always.

8 She hath done what she could: she is come aforehand to anoint my body to the burying.

9 Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached throughout the whole world, this also that she hath done shall be spoken of for a memorial of her."


Many point out that the death must occur before one’s will goes into effect. True.


Hebrews 9:14 "How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

15 And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.

16 For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator.

17 For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth.

18 Whereupon neither the first testament was dedicated without blood."


Does a person write their will before they die, or afterwards? Jesus stated His will before He died, and then His death sealed it and made it effective.


Luke 4:4 "And Jesus answered him, saying, It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God."


John 15:15 "Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you."


John 14:25 "These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you.

26 But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you."


Some argue that Jesus taught the Jews how to more completely keep the Law of Moses, while the apostles were given the “New Testament doctrines” via the Holy Spirit. However, the above passages prove this to be erroneous teaching. Jesus delivered all that He had heard from His heavenly father, and the Holy Spirit was to remind them of the words that He had given them.


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