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608: Defining the Gospel & Who’s a “Real” Christian with Matthew Bates

Updated: Mar 29

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Earlier this year, John MacArthur said that Martin Luther King Jr. was “a nonbeliever who misrepresented everything about Christ and the gospel.” Last week, Justin Giboney responded with an article in CT explaining why MacArthur was wrong about MLK. This leads Phil, Kaitlyn, and Skye to ask when is it appropriate to define who is, and who is not, a true Christian, and what criteria should we use? Theologian Matthew Bates is back to discuss his new book, “Why the Gospel?” He defines six popular “malformed” gospels, and why bypassing the importance of Jesus’ kingship is dangerous for the church. Also this week—A Christian musician from Ireland claims Taylor Swift is satanic, and beware of the bonnacon!

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0:00  - Sponsor - World Relief - Visit to download your family refugee guide and learn more about the Path Community

0:56 - Intro

2:46 - Show Starts

5:05 - Theme Song

5:27 - Sponsor - Go to to receive 50% off your first order

6:34 - News of the Butt

12:47 - Taylor Swift Satanic Ritual

21:57 - John MacArthur on Martin Luther King Jr.

48:46 - Should We Ask Who Is or Isn’t a Christian?

51:23 - Sponsor - Better Help - Get 10% off your first month at

52:21 - Sponsor - Tyndale - Order the Study Life Application Study Bible today at

53:25 - Interview

54:19 - Why the Gospel?

59:49 - The Kinghood of Jesus

1:06:41- Christ Installed on the Throne

1:37:43 - End Credits

Links Mentioned in the News Segment:

Animal with ‘Amazing Flatulence’ Found in Medieval Book

Taylor Swift is Engaging in Satanic Rituals in Live Shows, Christian Artist Claims: ‘Music is Dangerous’

Why John MacArthur is Wrong About MLK

Mass Deportation of Immigrants Destroys More Native-Born American Jobs Than They Create

Other resources:

Why the Gospel? Living the Good News of King Jesus with a Purpose by Matthew W. Bates:

Holy Post website:

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Holy Post Merch Store:

The Holy Post is supported by our listeners. We may earn affiliate commissions through links listed here. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases.


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Todd Heim
Todd Heim
Mar 21

Highly disappointed in the discussion concerning whether or not we can tell if someone is a Christian.

While Kaitlyn, Phil and Skye get it right on the end (we can’t tell. We can only tell of a particular behavior is Christ like), I’m disappointed that the word Grace shows up only 1 time. (Thank you Kaitlyn for at least the 1 time.) We cannot be a Christian without grace. Those who are Christian’s are Christians in spite of behavior that isn’t Christ like through grace.

A big thank you to Kaitlyn also for acknowledging that our judgements about such behaviors could be wrong. Likely all of us will experience being wrong in this life and discover more wrongs once we…


Everyday for the last 8 years I have heard from evangelicals that character is not important, but what is important are a person's policies.

So MacArthur comes along and criticizes MLK for being a womanizer. However, isn't that about character? I guess MacArthur did not get the memo to no longer preach on character.

Historically large white protestants denominations like the Southern Baptists supported the Confederacy, the Klan, Jim Crow, Segregation, Racism, and by in large did not have a problem with the policies.

MLK comes along and criticizes the political infrastructure and people got very upset, including a very large segment of the population who were white evangelicals.


I can see Kathy’s point in her comment. I enjoyed the conversation between Skye and Mr. Bates about the book, but I could see how the emphasis on the inadequacies of the other gospel presentations could have been unhelpful if others feel the need to scrap them altogether.

I think a constructive approach could be, “Here is another important angle on the gospel that is also not perfect but valuable. When it blends with the best points from other perspectives, we get a beautiful, powerful picture of the gospel.”

The gospel, like the Trinity, to me, is so magnificent, no one view captures it fully. The interview made it sound like his view was superior to the others.


If Skye's interview with Matthew Bates accurately represents Mr. Bates's version of the gospel, I'd say it is also incomplete. I don't think I heard the word "love" mentioned once.

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