How can I know if the gospel that I believe is actually the true gospel?

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I understand that in a world with hundreds of denominations, people can begin to wonder what the true gospel is. I have known a number of people over the years who became Roman Catholics. In part, I think they were just worn out by the burden to figure out what truth is. Some might consider it a relief to say: “It is up to the priest, the bishop, and the pope to figure out what truth is. I’ll just follow them.”

I understand the emotional appeal of Rome, but it’s profoundly wrong. For example, you see how wrong it is in 1 Peter, which should have special importance for Roman Catholics. Peter clearly spoke to the whole Christian community and expected them to figure out the truth from his writing. He did not say, “Just follow your bishop, and your soul will be saved.” He said, “You need to know and follow the truth because you have a personal responsibility to do so.”

At the risk of sounding naive, I would encourage you to really study the Bible. I believe that the truth about predestination, the atonement, God’s grace, justification, and so on comes through clearly. People who reject predestination are rejecting what is clearly there in Scripture. They may go through all sorts of textual gymnastics to avoid the plain meaning of the text. However, I think an honest person would have to agree with Paul in Ephesians 2, Romans 9, and with Jesus in John 6. These are really clear teachings.

The problem is not that we don’t understand the Scriptures but that we don’t want to believe them. I would encourage those who are struggling to find a church that truly believes the Bible and encourages you to study it. Now, that doesn’t mean you will easily agree about everything. There will be some issues, but those are almost always secondary issues. The great issues of the gospel, however, are plain in the Scriptures.

This transcript is from a live Ask Ligonier event with W. Robert Godfrey and has been lightly edited for readability. To ask Ligonier a biblical or theological question, email or message us on Facebook or Twitter.