The Gospel

What is the gospel?

Yesterday Ryan wrote an insightful post: Militant Mysticism: Wrestling with Rob Bell. In it Ryan brings up some excellent points regarding the importance of the explaining the work of Christ on the  Cross when proclaiming the gospel.

Adding to his thought, I recently came across this definition provided in The Gospel Coalition’s Statement of Faith:

We believe that the gospel is the good news of Jesus Christ—God’s very wisdom. Utter folly to the world, even though it is the power of God to those who are being saved, this good news is christological, centering on the cross and resurrection: the gospel is not proclaimed if Christ is not proclaimed, and the authentic Christ has not been proclaimed if his death and resurrection are not central (the message is “Christ died for our sins . . . [and] was raised”). This good news is biblical (his death and resurrection are according to the Scriptures), theological and salvific (Christ died for our sins, to reconcile us to God), historical (if the saving events did not happen, our faith is worthless, we are still in our sins, and we are to be pitied more than all others), apostolic (the message was entrusted to and transmitted by the apostles, who were witnesses of these saving events), and intensely personal (where it is received, believed, and held firmly, individual persons are saved).

What do you think? Do you think the statement is acurate? Can you present the gospel without making the death and resurrection of Christ central?

matt

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9 Responses

  1. I think they are right for it is exactly what peter says in acts 2 and 10…

    B

  2. I agree with them. They did a great job.

  3. I find it absurd we associate the gospel with Jesus dying for sins. Simply it is a distortion of what the Bible is really communicating.

    Jesus meant to overcome oppression and take the side of the poor. He sought to make a mockery of the powers and shows that Empires will in the end be defeated by those whom God God has come to side with; the poor.

    I would challenge you to re-think you narrow understanding of the gospel that is only vertically oriented and embrace an understanding of the Gospel that has more to do with the life of Jesus than anything else.

  4. Yaric – there is one problem in your statement – the gospel is centered around the death and resurrection of Jesus. Take that away and nothing he did or taught in his life matters. He is just some other guy with some good ideas. By saying the Gospel is about the life of Jesus more then anything you just put Jesus, the Son of God – fully God yet fully man – on par with Gandy, Martin Luther King and others. To me that is a slap in the face to Jesus and the Gospel. I think your understanding of the gospel is narrow and it shows that you do not have a grasp on what the message of Jesus truly is….

    The power of the gospel is this:

    1) You can be changed. Jesus death and resurrection made it possible for you to live differently. Both to the poor and the rich.

    2) God will come back one day and destroy everyone who is not on his side, both rich and poor. So to say that the Gospel is just about the poor is a dramatic change from the message of Jesus and thus the message of the Gospel. Again, I believe the gospel is not just the cross and resurrection but also the 2nd coming of Jesus when he will destroy all evil and set up His kingdom on the earth.

    At the end of the day if a poor person does not accept the death of Christ and His resurrection, does not acknowledge Jesus as Lord, then that poor person is no better then the rich person oppressing them. Jesus will destroy the rich who oppress the poor and do not acknowledge His lordship and Jesus will destroy the poor who are oppressed and do not acknowledge his lordship.

  5. Topdog and Yaric, i think we are missing something in our interchange. the word gospel translates as good news. the questions is what is the good news? to pull from the gospels themselves, john 3:16 says that “For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. 17 God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.”

    To me that good news is that God LOVED us enough to come down to earth, to die a hideous death to clear us of our sins.

    that is why the cross is so important, it is a symbol of how much God loved, without the cross… all there is social justice and good ideas. But with the cross, there is the love of God for us, there is hope for the poor and the rich, the powerful and the meek.

    Jesus’ life was so that we could understand how to live our lives and to quote Jesus the greatest command is to love the Lord your God with all your heart soul and mind, and the second greatest is to love your neighbor as yourself.

    B

  6. @Topdog & Ben,

    Your brand of Christianity is toxic. Jesus is our model and violence has no place in the gospel. Your views only continue a crazy idea that sin needs forgiving. God can forgive whatever he wants without punishing his Son. Why would he punish an innocent man for others? That is not fair.

    Jesus made it clear through his life that the gospel was a lifestyle and something we were to live in light of. The cross and his death has little to do with the gospel. Rather we should focus on his subversive nature of the empire he faced. Christians should continue to rebel against the empire’s they find themselves in.

  7. @ Yaric –

    Well I think it is clear that we are actually thinking two different thoughts. You see Christianity completely different then I do.

  8. Yaric,

    you said, “Jesus meant to overcome oppression and take the side of the poor. He sought to make a mockery of the powers and shows that Empires will in the end be defeated by those whom God God has come to side with; the poor.”

    Try preaching that message to someone on death row who will be executed later that night.

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