The Fourfold Gospel

January 21, 2021 | 4 minute read
Eric Crow


What is the “fourfold Gospel?”

The term fourfold Gospel describes the historic emphasis of The Christian and Missionary Alliance in Canada (C&MA) on the person of Jesus Christ. These characteristics of Jesus and His ministry are what defined the C&MA more than 100 years ago, and they continue to lay out the foundation of our Christ-centred, Spirit-empowered, Mission-focused work today. Our founder A.B. Simpson’s life was transformed by encountering the power and presence of Jesus and it is our hope that you encounter Him as well.

The pitcher symbolizes Christ our Healer. It uses the symbol of oil for divine life and physical healing.

The crown stands for Christ our Coming King. He will come back to this earth and reign forever.

The cross typifies Jesus Christ our Saviour. He died on a cross for our sins, and only through Him can we be made right with God.

The laver illustrates Christ as our Sanctifier. The laver—a large basin used in God’s temple for washing—represents cleansing from sin by the power of the Holy Spirit.

A stained glass style illustration of the cross, representing Christ the saviour.

Christ our Saviour

Jesus was sent by God to save us from sin so that we can become members of God’s eternal family.

Jesus taught that He is the only way to know God. Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). His way is the only way that leads to life—and life abundant.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16

“Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.”
Acts 4:12

A stained glass style illustration of the laver, representing Christ the sanctifier.

Christ our Sanctifier

The laver was a wash basin used in the tabernacle and temple to cleanse priests as they ministered. This basin and water symbolize Christ as the One who purifies us from sin and makes us righteous; we are made holy through Christ’s Spirit.

Just as the priests went back to the wash basin often, we too return to Jesus often. Through prayer and confession, we receive empowerment by His Holy Spirit, as He is making us new.

“For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.”
Hebrews 10:14

“May God himself the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it.”
1 Thessalonians 5:23-24

“The secret of walking closely with Christ and working successfully for Him is to fully realize that we are His beloved.”
A.B. Simpson

A stained glass style illustration of the pitcher, representing Christ the healer.

Christ our Healer

The pitcher of oil speaks of Jesus our Healer. Oil is a double symbol: one of healing and one of the Holy Spirit who is poured out on us.

Throughout the Gospels, Jesus healed people by the power of the Holy Spirit. This invitation is as fresh today as it ever was because Jesus “is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). Even today, Jesus invites us to receive healing and to be filled with the Holy Spirit. We must not forget the power of Christ living within us as an ever-present source of healing and empowerment.

“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
Luke 4:18-19

“And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you.”
Romans 8:11

A stained glass style illustration of the crown, representing Christ the coming king.

Christ our Coming King

Jesus told many parables about a king leaving for a time and returning when nobody expected. Some people were ready for the master’s return; others weren’t. We believe that Jesus will return to Earth where He will reign as King.The crown symbolizes our anticipation of this reality.

“Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.”
Matthew 24:42-44

Jesus’ return, at a time we do not know, is part of our motivation to fulfill The Great Commission–Jesus’ command to his followers—which is:

“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
Matthew 28:19-20

Download fourfold Gospel resources for your church:
Download Fourfold Resources




Eric Crow

Eric Crow is the Communications Manager at the National Ministry Centre for The Alliance Canada. Eric and his wife, Emily, have two boys. Eric enjoys lettering, coffee, and cheering for the Toronto Raptors.

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  1. Some years ago, a young candidate for ministry in the Alliance was asked, “What is the four-fold gospel?” And he replied, “Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.”

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