Gospel Allegiance

What Faith in Jesus Misses for Salvation in Christ

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Is faith in Jesus enough for salvation? Perhaps, says Matthew Bates, but we're missing pieces of the gospel. The biblical gospel can never change. Yet our understanding of the gospel must change. The church needs an allegiance shift.

Popular pastoral resources on the gospel are causing widespread confusion. Bates shows that the biblical gospel is different, fuller, and more beautiful than we have been led to believe. He explains that saving faith doesn't come through trust in Jesus's death on the cross alone but through allegiance to Christ the king. There is only one true gospel and one required response: allegiance.

Bates ignited conversation with his successful and influential book Salvation by Allegiance Alone. Here he goes deeper while making his acclaimed teaching on salvation more accessible and experiential for believers who want to better understand and share the gospel. Gospel Allegiance includes a guide for further conversation, making it ideal for church groups, pastors, leaders, and students.


Part 1: Discovering Gospel Allegiance
1. Getting the Gospel Right
2. Not Faith but Allegiance
3. The Full Gospel of the King
Bridge: Gospel Clarified--Gospel Mobilized
Part 2: Advancing Gospel Allegiance
4. Grace in Six Dimensions
5. Faith Is Body Out
6. How Works Are Saving
7. Taking the Allegiance Challenge
Appendix 1: Gospel-Allegiance Summary Chart
Appendix 2: Guide for Further Conversation


"We in the Protestant tradition believe the church is always reforming, but this reforming must retain a focused eye on Scripture. Matthew Bates's Gospel Allegiance reforms the gospel of evangelicalism by undertaking an adventurous journey through gospel texts in the New Testament. He challenges major pastor-theologians to give a more accurate gospel by adding his own strong voice--one of many highlights. Never strident, never exceeding the clarity of Scripture, but always relentless in its conviction that the true gospel deserves to be given its fullness--Gospel Allegiance is a must-read for the church."

Scot McKnight, professor of New Testament, Northern Seminary; author of The King Jesus Gospel

"Dallas Willard's dictum articulated by discipleship expert Bill Hull should guide our thoughts about discipleship: 'The Jesus we preach and the gospel we uphold will determine the disciple we get.' Gospel Allegiance responds on point, showing us that the biblical gospel is a comprehensive gospel, rooted in Jesus's kingdom and the Old Testament. Faith as allegiance to King Jesus responds with baptism as an embodied commitment and it leads to a life of embodied obedience. Renew.org pursued a partnership with Bates on this book because I am convinced it will help fuel future disciple-making movements in North America and beyond."

Bobby Harrington, founder and lead servant of Renew.org and Discipleship.org

"Matthew Bates has written a stimulating and challenging book that invites us to go back to the New Testament and listen to the gospel all over again. What does the word 'faith' mean to Jesus and the apostles, and does our contemporary language about 'belief' faithfully represent their concerns? Whether or not you agree with all of his conclusions, all readers will benefit from Bates's exploration of this all-important theme in the New Testament."

Tim Mackie, cofounder of The Bible Project

"This book cuts straight to the point, and if I'm honest, it hurts. You will find yourself simultaneously stepping back in shock and leaning in with intrigue, but at the end of the day you will find yourself on your knees in surrender to the only one worthy of your allegiance."

Kyle Idleman, teaching pastor, Southeast Christian Church, Louisville, Kentucky; author of Not a Fan

"Arresting and provocative, with the aim of cultivating faithfulness, Bates's newest book zeroes in on the questions Christians are asking, or should be. His approachable prose invites readers to deep and challenging reflection that results in action. I am eager to give my students and my parishioners this tool so that we can all engage with the glory of the gospel afresh."

Amy Peeler, associate professor of New Testament, Wheaton College

"Gospel Allegiance is a simple but profound argument. In short, Bates reasons that faith is not mere belief. Rather, biblical faith is allegiance. This singular observation disentangles a number of thorny theological ideas surrounding grace and works, salvation and faith. Why does this matter? By bookending the biblical theology of the gospel with ancient sociology and modern ecclesiology, Bates demonstrates that the gospel is a way of life, not an argument to be believed. Our church will be better for it."

Mark E. Moore, teaching pastor, Christ's Church of the Valley, Phoenix; author of Core 52

The Author

  1. Matthew W. Bates

    Matthew W. Bates

    Matthew W. Bates (PhD, University of Notre Dame) is a professor of New Testament at Northern Seminary in Lombard, Illinois. He is the author of Gospel Allegiance, Salvation by Allegiance Alone, and Why the Gospel?, which won a 2024...

    Continue reading about Matthew W. Bates


"Over and over [Bates] interacts with those evangelicals who will have problems with this book or who are shaping the gospel in the evangelical world today. It is irresponsible for them not to interact with the solid exegesis of a book like this. Bates is young but he's an accomplished exegete of Scripture and his contentions score big points. . . . This is a must-read book for all pastors and students in seminaries."

Scot McKnight,

Jesus Creed blog

"It feels difficult to articulate a response to a book which made me bristle, squirm, sigh in deep relief, feel both profoundly encouraged and deeply agitated, and ultimately, want to know more. Matthew Bates's new book, Gospel Allegiance, which is a follow-up to his well-received academic work Salvation by Allegiance Alone, is pointed, honest, fearless, passionately argued, and should not be ignored, even by those who will disagree vociferously with his conclusions. . . . Don't read Bates's book expecting to agree with it, but don't read it looking for point of disagreement either. Simply read it."

Joel Wentz,

Englewood Review of Books

"Bates has presented an engaging case for understanding the gospel as primarily about the kingship of Jesus and the need for a response of loyalty. . . . There is much to both appreciate and question in his discussion. Aimed primarily at a serious Christian readership, Bates's contribution to fresh thinking about the nature of the gospel is a welcome enterprise."

Gary W. Burnett,

Journal for the Study of the New Testament

"I commend Bates's book and his project. He calls our attention to the neglected center of the gospel, without which the gospel cannot fully effect the power of God unto salvation."

Peter Leithart,

Theopolis Institute

"An ideal curriculum textbook for Christian studies, Gospel Allegiance: What Faith in Jesus Misses for Salvation in Christ is unreservedly recommended as an addition to personal, church, seminary, and academic library collections. Inspired and inspiring."

Midwest Book Review