A Comparison of Biblical and Evangelical Christianity

 Biblical Christianity
 Evangelical Christianity
 God judges people relative to
  • how they judge others (Luke 6:37, James 2:13, Matthew 7:2, John 9:41)
  • their own enlightenment (Matthew 23:29-33, John 15:22-24, Isaiah 65:12, Jeremiah 36:31, 1st Samuel 3:13, James 3:1, and the entire book of Zephaniah)
  • their conscience (Genesis 20:5-6, Romans 1:18-19, 1st Corinthians 8:10, James 4:17)
  • human norms (Matthew 11:21-24, 23:29-33, Luke 11:31-32)
 God judges people against a perfect standard no mortal can satisfy.
 The central truth is Jesus as King sent to turn God's people back to God as proved by His prophesied crucifixion and resurrection.

This is shown by too many verses to cite, but it is showcased where we expect to see the gospel portrayed most clearly: the conclusion of each gospel as well as the entirety of Acts. Particular verses include Matthew 28:18, Mark 16:6, Luke 24:25-27, 45-48, John 20:29-30, 21:12-14, Acts 2:14-41, 3:12-26, 4:8-12, 5:30-32, 10:34-43, 13:16-41, 17:2-4, 18-31, 22:1-21, 26:1-29.

That Christ's purpose was to call people to do good is particularly clear at the conclusions of Peter's pentecostal sermon: Acts 3:26 but is found throughout the Bible (e.g., Romans 6:4-6, Titus 2:14, Hebrews 9:14, 1st Peter 2:24, 1st John 3:4-5). Of course, Jesus characterized this as His purpose during His earthly ministry as well (Luke 5:32, 13:6-9, John 8:34-36). Indeed, that was bulk of both Jesus' and John the Baptists' gospel: Repent! for the time of the new covenant was at hand.
As shown throughout the prophets, repentance was the crucial requirement for forgiveness.

This exhortation to do God's will was precisely what Jesus and John preached before their deaths (Matthew 3:2, 4:17, 5:19-20, 7:21, Mark 1:4, 15, 6:12, Luke 3:3, 6:46-49) , what Jesus told His disciples to preach after His resurrection (Luke 24:47), and what the apostles themselves did preach (Acts 3:19-20, 26, 5:31, 11:18, 13:24)
 The central truth is that God is unable to forgive sin without sacrifice, so God sacrificed Jesus to Godself as a way to get around this limit on God's ability.
 Jesus is seen as protecting believers from the physical wrath God had prophesied upon the earth.
 Jesus is seen as protecting believers from His own righteous Judgment of all humanity occurring after the grand resurrection (which occurs after the end of the age, which itself only occurs after the physical wrath of God upon the earth.)
 Jesus' blood mediates the New Covenant prophesied in Jeremiah 34:31-34 by sending the Holy Spirit to those who have received forgiveness through repentance (Luke 10:45, John 7:39, 16:7, Acts 2:38, 5:32, 8:30, 11:17-18, 15:9, 26:20 Hebrews 6:4)
 The "New Covenant" is not clearly defined.
 Christ's blood allows Gentiles to enjoy the gift of the Holy Spirit through faith (Galatians 3:14), removing the wall of partition and hostility between Jews and Gentiles (Ephesians 2:14) so that the ordinances of the Mosaic law no longer deterred people from being in God's Kingdom (Colossians 2:14).

While this blood allows those who convert to receive the Holy Spirit after receiving forgiveness for earlier sins through repentance, it does not work as a blanket atonement for ongoing sins of believers. Neither Christ's sacrifice nor those in the Old Testament worked forgiveness for intentional sins (Numbers 15:30, John 5:29, Hebrews 10:26, 1st Corinthians 6:9-10, 2nd Corinthians 5:10, Colossians 3:24-25, Ephesians 5:4-5, Revelation 21:8) Note that most of these, in particular Paul's were written to people who were already believers. Indeed, Paul's own concern for his future in 1st Corinthians 9:24-27 and Acts 24:15-16 should be a lesson to any believer.
 Jesus blood is seen as plenary payment of debt each individual owes toward God due to sins committed. Since the smallest debt toward God would leave one subject to wrath, and there is no way for anyone to atone for the smallest amount of wrong, a single unforgiven sin leaves one consigned to Hell.
There are a multitude of ways for someone to receive forgiveness:
  • Forgiving others (Matthew 6:14)
  • Repentance (2nd Chronicles 7:14, Jeremiah 36:3, Ezekiel 18:27, 33:14-16, Luke 3:3 and many other verses already cited)
  • Church intervention (John 20:23)
  • The prayers of believers (1st John 5:16)
  • Confession of sins (1st John 1:9)
Note that many of these are available to people who have no understanding or knowledge of the gospel. Stephen prayed for the forgiveness of those who were stoning him.
It is also hard to understand why confession of sins, having others pray for you, etc. are given as ways to have sins forgiven if those sins are assumed to already be forgiven through faith in Christ. (James 5:14-16)
 The only way to have sins forgiven is through faith in Christ.
 People can be pleasing to God through faith in God without any knowledge of the gospel of Christ. (Rahab, the denizens of Nineveh, Cornelius before Peter arrived)
 Only those who have faith in Christ (not mere faith in God) can please God.
Judgment is seen as an evaluation of disposition with the totality of one's actions, words, and thoughts considered. Believers are not dealt with any differently than non-believers. (Matthew 7:21, 12:36-37, 13:49-50, 25:31-46, Luke 6:46, John 5:29, Acts 24:15-16, Romans 2:15-16, 1st Corinthians 9:24-27, 2nd Corinthians 5:10, Colossians 3:25, Hebrews 10:29, 2nd Peter 1:17, Revelation 20:13)
Judgment is seen as a trial where the principle question of importance is whether someone is guilty of even one (unforgiven) sin.
Believers are dealt with entirely differently than non-believers.
Jesus is seen as fulfillment of promise made to Abraham and the covenant made to David. Gentiles are able to take part because through grace they become sons of Abraham. Isaiah 37:35, Jeremiah 23:5, 30:9, 33:15-21, Ezekiel 34:23-24, 37:24-25, Hosea 3:5, Amos 9:11, Matthew 1:1, 9:27, 12:23, 15:22, 20:30, 21:9,  Mark 10:47-48, 11:10, Luke 1:27, 32, 69-76, 3:8, 13:16, 18:38-39, 19:9, 24:49, John 7:42, Acts 2:33-39, 3:25, 7:17, 13:23-24, 26:7, Romans 1:3, 4:16, 9:7, Galatians 3:7-8, 14:29, 2nd Timothy 2:8,  Hebrews 2:16, Revelation 5:5, 22:16.
Jesus is seen as fulfillment of the curse in Genesis 3:15 describing why snakes have no legs, notwithstanding the fact that no gospel writer found this verse (or the fall in general) worth mentioning even once, nor does it show up in any of the evangelism shown in Acts, even when apostles brought the word to non-Jews. While seeing Christ as the second Adam who overcame temptation certainly has its place, to suggest it is central to the gospel is to claim something never mentioned when the apostles of the early church were spreading the gospel. (Paul references it a couple times when writing to people who already believed in Christ, but it shows up nowhere in any writing intended to convey the central message of Christianity to those who had never heard the gospel. Furthermore, in the only New Testament reference to Genesis 3:15, (Romans 16:20) Jesus is not even described as the one fulfilling the prophecy, and the prophecy is not pictured as having been fulfilled upon His crucifixion!)
The fall of Adam is seen as the cause of spiritual death, human weakness to selfishness (Romans 5:14, 6:6, 7:15-25) [See Romans 5:12 and 7:10 where Paul uses "death" in this way. It is not true that "everyone" died (physically) after Adam (Enoch and Elijah being examples of people who did not), and of course Paul had not "died" prior to writing the book of Romans but says that he "died" when the commandment came, for only through the commandment did temptation begin (Romans 7:7-11).
The fall of Adam is seen as the condemning the entire human race to eternal punishment.