Disclaimer: About This Blog

THIS BLOG IS: my personal journey of how I am rethinking some of my spiritual beliefs.
THIS BLOG IS NOT: intended to point fingers at people who I think are wrong.
I do not believe the final judgement will be based on how many correct answers we get on a theology exam. I believe many people throughout history have had genuine relationships with our Lord and Saviour Jesus, despite holding questionable beliefs and practices. I make no claim to having it all figured out or being your judge. If we end up disagreeing over these topics I pray we can find a way to demonstrate grace.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

My 95 Thesis - Point 2 - Gospel

Here's my 2nd Point in My 95 Theses.

'Evangelicals' believe we are following Christ's command to go into all the world and preach the gospel.

But I suspect the definition used for 'gospel' is different than the gospel Jesus and his disciples preached.

The words 'gospel' or 'good news' show up 23 times in 'the gospels' (mostly pre-cross).

Was the gospel message that Jesus shared something like this?

God - God is Holy - completely without sin and never does anything wrong - He's always right and can't have sin in His presence. Isaiah 59:1-2
Ourselves - we are all sinners - we've all broken God's standard of holiness and perfection - we're all offenders of God. Romans 3:23
Sentence - what we deserve, what we've earned for our offences towards a Holy god - our punishment - is eternal separation from Him forever! Romans 6:23a
Powerless - there's nothing in and of ourselves that we can do to make things right before a Holy God! Isaiah 64:6
Extreme love - God demonstrates extreme love towards us. He sends His perfect and sinless Son, Jesus to take our punishment. Romans 5:8, 2 Cor 5:21
Life - The offer is ours to receive or reject. God in His Love provides a way for relationship with Him. God in His Mercy offers pardon for our wrongdoing. God in His Grace offers us forgiveness of sin and eternal joy and life through His Son Jesus - starting right now! If we choose to receive what God offers us in love, then we need to turn from our sin and by faith, embrace all that Jesus has done. Romans 6:23b, Ephesioans 2:8-9
Or something like this:
Jesus is Lord!
God's kingdom is here!
The reign of God is here!
Change your life, believe this message!

Did you know God's power is available to you? You don't have to do everything in your own strength and wisdom. If you allow God to rule in your life (the work of the Holy Spirit), instead of your selfish ambitions, He will restore your life to what it was intended to be.
I've seen many different definitions of the gospel. Many of them are full of truths. But I suspect they are an attempt to summarize all the key doctrines of their unique brand of Christianity and tag some supporting Bible verses that go along with their teachings... and using the label gospel to create or maintain divisions in Christ's church.

I think it is worth asking:
  • What was the gospel message Jesus and his disciples preached?
  • And would this same gospel message work today?
Related Posts:


Jim Kerr said...

The Apostle Paul couldn’t have been clearer in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4:

Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:

Gospel is the Greek εὐαγγέλιον (euangelion) and means “good report” or “good news” (historically the good report of a victory in battle). The gospel of Christ is that He died the atoning death for His people, was buried then resurrected Himself and is therefore the promised Messiah to “all flesh”; believers from every nation, not just those of the Jewish nation.

Btw, Christ only commanded the Apostles to go into all the Jewish world of the day (they weren’t to preach the Gospel to the Gentiles until after Peter’s vision in Acts 10). This was accomplished in Acts 2 when all the Jewish world was gathered in Jerusalem for Pentecost.

Jonathan said...

Thanks for the comment. Yes that is one of the many verses in the Bible that use the word Gospel. But is that the gospel Jesus preached? Is that the gospel according to the gospels? Wouldn't each gospel writer written with enough details to share the gospel message with their audience?

Please read some of my related posts linked to this post if you want to understand why I'm questioning the traditional definition of gospel.

God bless!

Jim Kerr said...

There is only one "Gospel of Christ" mentioned in the Bible--the definition of which Paul gave us in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4. Every verse that mentions the Gospel is referring to this one. The title "Gospel" was given to each of the four accounts of Jesus' life, death and resurrection because they give the details of THE Gospel.

I don't want to understand why you are challenging the traditional definition of the Gospel, I just want to make sure you (and your readers) know what the ACTUAL definition of the Gospel is. If you (or they) choose to argue with the Apostle Paul, well, good luck with that....


Jonathan said...

Do you think everyone who had a copy of the Matthew, and came across verses like this:

4:23 "Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people."

Did they then cross reference the word gospel with those two sentences in the middle of a letter Paul wrote to the church in Corinthians? Do you think they had a copy of all the letters?

Why don't you want to look at the word gospel first from the teachings of Jesus, and then build on that with the teachings of Paul?

But if you don't want to understand my point of view that is OK. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your point of view. God bless!

Jim Kerr said...

I didn’t say anything about not wanting to understand your point of view, I meant I wasn’t interested in any “traditional view” of the Gospel. I’m only interested in the actual biblical meaning of Gospel.

The Gospel is defined by Paul for those of us who have access to his epistle, but that doesn’t change what the Gospel is for those who didn’t or don’t. It is the same Gospel written in the OT prophecies. Any believer who had a copy of Matthew would’ve been preached to and had the Gospel explained to them (if they hadn’t already heard it in their synagogues).

Jesus preached the same Gospel that Paul eventually preached; the “gospel from the teachings of Jesus” is the SAME one in “the teachings of Paul”. You write about them as though they are different. You seem hung up on points of view rather than the one true point of view. Perhaps your problem with “Sola Scriptura” (that I learned about after commenting above) is where you’re getting hung up…?


Jonathan said...

OK, fair then. You are welcome to read my other related posts on the topic of the how the term gospel is used in the gospels, and discuss further. So when Jesus preached the gospel of the kingdom, and sent his disciples out preaching the same message, what do you think they were preaching from town to town?

Matt 4:23 Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people.

Matt 9:35 Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness.

Matt 10:7 As you go, proclaim this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’

Matt 24:14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.

Matt 26:13 Truly I tell you, wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.”

Jonathan said...

BTW. I don't think Paul and Jesus contradict each other on the gospel. I am questioning the proof-text version of the gospel that gets frequently preached today. Typically the gospel message includes our logic + a number of separate verses, mostly by Paul. But rarely do I hear people starting with the gospel that Jesus preached and move forward from there.

"Good News" or "Gospel" or evangelion get used in many places in the Bible. What makes some elevate one verse of Paul's over all the rest? There is a lot of use of the term gospel in the gospels, why not start there?

Jim Kerr said...

Jonathon, I'm not trying to be rude, but how many times do you need me to say it? There is only ONE Gospel.

Jesus & all the Apostles preached the same thing: that Jesus was the Messiah, the Christ, promised in the OT; that He would be killed, buried and raised on the third day according to the Scriptures (the OT). It is the same Gospel that Paul defined for us in 1 Cor 15:1-4. Every time the gospel (euangelion) is used in the NT it is referring to that. Look at all those verses you just cited; in every one of them the Gospel is the same: Jesus is the Messiah of God, the Prince, the King of Israel, and the Kingdom (the Church) is now here. That's the Gospel!

Jim Kerr said...

Not sure what you mean by the "proof-text version...preached today". Sounds ominous; and you're probably right to question it, if it's not THE Gospel of the Kingdom--which is that the King is Here (see my reply to your previous reply above).

I imagine that you rarely here anyone preach on "the Gospel that Jesus preached" because 90% or more of preachers today don't have a clue as to what that was.

Jonathan said...

OK. I'm not sure if that is what Jesus was saying when he preached the good news of the kingdom of God. I'm not sure anyone would conclude that if the only book they read was one of the gospels. But thanks for saying it again. :)

Jonathan said...

Oh, sorry, my last reply was done before I saw your latest comment. Yes... I agree with you that this is the gospel:

"Look at all those verses you just cited; in every one of them the Gospel is the same: Jesus is the Messiah of God, the Prince, the King of Israel, and the Kingdom (the Church) is now here. That's the Gospel!"