Clarifying what the Gospel IS by showing what it ISN'T

6 Apr

One of the things that I have found alarming is the fact that many of us in Ekklesia521 still are unclear as to what the Gospel exactly is.  Recently, I’ve heard answers vary anywhere from “The Gospel is the Bible…” to “The Gospel is free will…”

Now, I would never say that reciting the correct answer makes somebody a Christian.  But, one thing I am certain of is that it is a cause of concern when I learn that somebody does not know what the Gospel of Jesus Christ is because, in the end, it is precisely faith in this Gospel of Jesus Christ alone that saves us.

So, to bring some clarity to the situation, I wanted to share this very helpful post from Jeff Louie, a council member of The Gospel Coalition and associate professor at Western Seminary that I found on Justin Buzzard’s blog.  In it, Louie lists 55 things that the Gospel isn’t.  Sometimes, I find it helpful to define what something is by defining what it is not.

I’ve gone ahead and selected a few misconceptions of the Gospel from the list that I find specifically in our Ekklesia521 group.  Here they are:

  • “The center [of the Gospel] is accepting all people through love.”
  • “The center [of the Gospel] is separating ourselves from the sinful world.”
  • “The center [of the Gospel] is being a good person.”
  • “The center [of the Gospel] is your devotion and piety.”
  • “The center [of the Gospel] is obeying the 10 commandments, and obeying the moral law of God.”
  • “The center [of the Gospel] is finding out your generation’s needs, and give it to them in the name of Jesus.”
  • “The center [of the Gospel] is getting people involved in the church.”
  • “The center [of the Gospel] is about worshipping God.”
  • “The center [of the Gospel] is studying the Bible.”
  • “The center [of the Gospel] is having faith so that God will bless you materially and physically in this life.”
  • “The center [of the Gospel] is spiritual-mystical, finding God through prayer and fasting.”
  • “The center [of the Gospel] is finding out what God is saying to you.”
  • “The center [of the Gospel] is that you are loved by God. The center is a good self-image and self-worth.”
  • “The center [of the Gospel] is the power of the Holy Spirit.”
  • “The center [of the Gospel] is spiritual warfare.”
  • “The center [of the Gospel] is having faith so that miracles can be done in your life.”
  • “The center [of the Gospel] is faith in Jesus, but this Jesus is vague and non-specific.”

Buzzard writes that “these may, or may not be wrong concepts; [and] most have truth in them, and are good things.  But they are not the “center” of the Gospel.”

What is the Center of the Gospel then?

The Gospel Center is Jesus’ person, work on the cross for forgiveness of sins, and his resurrected triumph over death. From that center we understand the fuller work of the triumphant Christ, from his perfect life to his enthronement and return.  Again, some of the above statements are blatantly wrong, others have a high degree of truth in them.  Most are good, but good is not the center of the Gospel. It should be the goal of the theological student to understand how the Gospel Center relates to the above statements.

Click here to read the rest of the article.

[HT: Justin Buzzard]

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