Two Gospels

by Jerry Shugart

The Offer of the Kingdom on the Day of Pentecost

On the Day of Pentecost Peter addressed the following words to the nation of Israel:

"Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, that the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord. And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you" (Acts 3:19-20).

This message is a continuation of the "gospel of the kingdom." Alva J. McClain, a noted Acts 2 dispensationalist, writes:

"If they will repent and turn again, their sins will be blotted out, and Jesus shall be sent from heaven to restore all things spoken by the Old Testament prophets. And in confirmation of the bona fide character of this reoffer of the kingdom, we find early in the Acts period many of the miraculous signs and wonders which we associated with our Lord's own original offer of the kingdom...there is the continued proclamation of the coming kingdom as an immediate possibility, depending on the attitude of the nation of Israel" (McClain, "The Greatness of the Kingdom," Biblioteca Sacra Oct. 1955; Vol. 112 # 448, p.305,307).

In The Bible Knowledge Commentary (An Exposition of the Scriptures by Dallas Seminary Faculty) Stanley D. Toussaint offers the following comments on Acts 3:19-20: "Peter's exhoration, as in his Pentecost sermon (2:38), was to repent. Was Peter saying here that if Israel repented, God's kingdom would have come to earth? This must be answered in the affirmative for several reasons..." (Walvoord & Zuck, The Bible Knowledge Commentary; New Testament [Chariot Victor Publishig 1983] p.361).

Another Acts 2 dispensationalist, Miles Stanford, wrote that "Peter preached the Kingdom, the Lordship and Messiahship of Christ (Acts 2 and 3), but not Christ as Head of the Body, the Church. Peter's distinct line [of preaching] was the Kingdom. It was the keys of the kingdom that the Lord gave him in Matthew 16:19, and it is the kingdom theme that he follows in his ministry in Acts" (Stanford, Authoritive Voices From the First Century).

Sir Robert Anderson makes the following remarks in regard to these words of Peter at Acts 3:19-20:

"To represent this as Christian doctrine, or the institution of a new religion , is to betray ignorance alike of Judaism and of Christianity. The speakers were Jews -the apostles of One who was Himself a minister of the circumcision . Their hearers were Jews, and as Jews they were addressed. The Pentecostal Church which was based upon the testimony was intensely and altogether Jewish. It was not merely that the converts were Jews, and none but Jews, but that the idea of evangelising Gentiles never was even mooted. When the first great persecution scattered the disciples, and they went everywhere preaching the Word , they preached, we are expressly told, to none but to the Jews ."

"The Jerusalem Church, then, was Jewish. Their Bible was the Jewish Scriptures. The Jewish temple was their house of prayer and common meeting-place. Their beliefs and hopes and words and acts all marked them out as Jews...Nothing was further from the thoughts of these men than founding a new religion . On the contrary, while hailing the rejected Nazarene as their national Messiah, they clung with passionate devotion to the religion of their fathers" (Anderson, The Silence of God [Kregel Publications, 1978] pp. 75-76; 77-78).