Adult Sunday school at GLBBC saw Pastor Vince Giardino as our “teacher”. His topic was “What is the gospel?” Further, he challenged us to consider, “What makes our belief system unique?” and to “look under the hood” of the gospel.
Using many scriptural verses to define characteristics of the gospel, we were shown that the gospel is a declaration, set in order, most surely believed, a faithful saying, sealed with the holy spirit, and a purchased possession. Pastor Giardino then had us turn to Titus 3:3-8 where the gospel is summarized nicely. Verse 3 describes how we were before we were saved; verses 4-6 describe how we are saved; and verses 7 and 8 describe a saved Christian’s condition.
The key to the answer to the question, “What is the gospel?” is found in I Cor 15:1-4. Pastor Giardino, using the white board, demonstrated the structure of this passage as a set of 3 books surrounded by two book ends. The 3 books represent the gospel message of death, burial, and resurrection. The book ends are the scriptures. Thus, in Verse 1, Paul declares the gospel and cites the need for the gospel to be preached and to be received. Continuing, Paul, in verse 2, asks that the gospel he preaches be kept in memory. Then the gospel is set forth in verses 3 and 4: “that Christ died for our sins”, “that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day”. But the key to what makes our belief system not only unique, but correct, is the phrase “according to the scriptures”, which are pastor’s book ends. As Baptists, we base our beliefs in the true and unaltered Word of God presented in the 1611 King James Bible, which we believe to be preserved and inspired.
Paul warns in Galatians 1:6-9 that there are those that “would pervert the gospel of Christ”. Pastor Giardino used Paul’s words to show how, today, many other belief systems are based on bible versions that have been altered through “addition, subtraction, and imitation”. These religions do not use the true scriptures to base their theology on. As a final thought, our pastor wanted us to be aware that the Baptist faith did not arise from the Reformation and therefore cannot be called a Protestant denomination. The Roman Catholic religion cannot point a finger at Baptists and accuse them of straying from their church.