I often- actually, virtually always- hear the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John’s written accounts in the New Testament referred to collectively as “the Gospels,” plural. I have done it myself. We know what we are referring to when we say it, but it is not correct. I mention this not to make a mountain out of a molehill, but to take care not to misspeak or think wrongly of the subject in an age of pluralism and an increase in knowledge in all realms of life—including the importance and eternality of spiritual matters.
Christianity is not simply a belief system, religion or ideology amidst a sea of others in today’s world. It is not a set of competing ideas which many take no heed to, are adversarial towards, consider extreme or fight directly against. It contains, promotes, shares and lives out “the Gospel,” singular. The word Gospel literally means “Good News.” To pluralize the Gospel does one, or both, of two things which are wrong.
First, it lends possible credence to the fallacy and misconception that the men who penned it from personal, individual and unique viewpoints while empowered and inspired by the Holy Spirit somehow foster varying versions of the Gospel. This is certainly incorrect. Second, and worse, it gives the impression that there is more than one truth; more than one News which is Good—and by this, I mean the widely-championed myth that there is more than one Way to heaven. As unbelievers or as ones still seeking, let me tell you this is absolutely not the case no matter how many people may talk about it, write about it, or no matter the celebrity of someone espousing it. Although a lie can somehow get easier to believe the more one hears it, it is still untrue and remains that way.
Further, the Gospel is written of this way: “It is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek (non-Jew). For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, ‘the righteous shall live by faith.’“ More evidence of the principle behind the Gospel of Christianity is “mercy is better than judgment” and “He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to His own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by His grace we might become heirs according to the hope (sure knowledge) of eternal life.” This is indeed Good News!
Matthew, Mark, Luke and John do not write differing versions of the Gospel. Rather, they corroborate each other’s testimonies as first-hand witnesses focusing on different details. The headers, if you will, of each of these books begin with the words, “The Gospel according to…” It is the same and only Gospel but analogous, personal accounts. In fact, there are FOUR writers. Scripture tells us in 2 Corinthians 13:1, Deuteronomy 17:6 and 19:15, John 8:17, 1 Timothy 5:19, Matthew 18:16 and others that “every matter must be established by two or three witnesses,” “only on the evidence of two or three witnesses shall a charge be established” and “even in your own law it is written that the testimony of two men is true.” The Lord just recently revealed to me that one of the reasons there are the separate accounts is based on these very scriptures; not two witnesses, not three witnesses (which are enough to prove validity), but here we have more than enough—FOUR! The Good News, its truth, its accuracy, its faithfulness and its wonder have been established.
So, let us not pluralize it by unintentionally associating it with any false method of supposed salvation such as reincarnation (Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism), good works (Catholicism, Islam), innate goodness (Humanism, New Age) or belief that there is no need for salvation at all (Atheism, Agnosticism). The GOSPEL—the GOOD NEWS OF JESUS CHRIST—is most certainly singular and, simultaneously, spectacular! God bless you.