To guard the gospel means to uphold it as true and defend it against whatever is contrary. The very thought confronts one of our deepest cultural values: individualism.
This value makes us feel that “I” am the final authority on what I believe and do. It passes as inclusivism, but it is really just individualism. Far from promoting community, it promotes autonomy and surface relationships.
This value has shaped our view of church as well. Christians love concepts like “organic church,” and we say things like: “When I am with my friends serving people, that is church.” I continue to hear church leaders say that we need to stop talking about what we believe and start focusing on doing what we believe. Such sentiments reflect our individualistic desire to define church and spirituality on our own terms. When someone is confronted by a pastor with regard to his doctrine or conduct, he is likely to hear it as good advice from a respected friend, but not as admonishment from godly authority. His “right” is to proceed however he wants because the individual is the final authority.
So this is an important question for our day. What does it mean that the church guards the gospel?