Recently, a couple of Christian friends and I agreed to submit to one another a short statement on our respective understandings of ‘the gospel’, the ‘good news’ of Jesus Christ.
It feels as though it should be easy for a person who has been a Bible-believing, gospel-loving follower of Jesus Christ for nearly half a century to give a short, clear, answer to the question, “What is the good news of Jesus?”
But I didn’t find it quite so easy:
For one thing, there is no one place in Scripture where such an answer is given (although 1 Corinthians 15:3-7 perhaps comes closest).…
Six aspects of the gospel stand out in 1 Corinthians 15:3-8:-
1. It is Christological. It centres on the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ: these emphases are ‘of first importance’, v3. Christianity is Christ: and it is Christ crucified and risen.
2. It is biblical. The work of Christ was achieved ‘according to the Scriptures, v3,4. Cf. Lk 24:25-27,44-46; Acts 2:25-31. ‘The first Christian evangelists made much of the fact that the death and resurrection of Jesus were corroborated by two witnesses – the prophets and the apostles, or, as we would say, the Old Testament and the New Testament.’
You might have heard it said that the faithful preaching of the gospel will inevitably cause offence. In fact, if your evangelism does not cause offense, you’re probably not doing it properly. You might as well measure your faithfulness to the gospel by the number of people who hate you. Count it as a badge of honour.
About this assertion I shall say nothing at the present time, except that any truth that might reside in the first of these claims is utterly negated by the attitude which it expresses.…
According to Acts, the gospel is all about the Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 1:1; 2:36, 38; 4:8–12; 5:42; 8:12, 35; 10:36; 11:20–21; 13:38–39; 15:11; 16:31; 18:5, 28; 19:4; 20:24; 24:24; 28:31).
David Cook (Teaching Acts) notes that:
• At Pentecost Peter preaches about Jesus (Acts 2:14–39).
• At the healing of the lame man, Peter preaches about Jesus (Acts 3:6).
• To the God-fearing, Peter preaches Jesus (Acts 10:34–48).
• To conservative Jews, the apostles preach Jesus (Acts 14:3).…
Should we preach only the gospel? Whatever the starting-point of the sermon, should we always make a beeline for Calvary and issue an appeal to the unconverted?
It is tempting to answer with an unqualified ‘Yes’. After all, there is little enough faithful preaching of the gospel these days, so shouldn’t we take every opportunity to do so? And did not the apostle Paul write, ‘I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified’ (1 Corinthians 2:2).…
Writing in the Church Times, Miranda Threlfall-Holmes, rector of St. Bride’s Liverpool, says that she wants to reclaim evangelism for liberal, progressive Christians such as herself.
What is the gospel of liberal Christianity? ‘The belief that God’s love is unconditional, and is enough.’
That’s about it. For the rest, it is about ‘exploring spirituality’. Liberal theology ‘does not see our salvation as relying on our getting Christianity right.’ It does not believe in ‘original sin’, but in ‘original blessing.’ It is about ‘commitment to relationship and genuine dialogue’. …