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.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Gospel Definitions

What is the deal with defining the gospel?  I am sensing there are different camps of Christians pushing their gospel definitions. I confess I have done some of this myself.

Trevin Wax has put together a collection of over 70 gospel definitions he has found here: http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/trevinwax/category/gospel/gospel-definitions/

There are some that I like more than others.  But if I was asked to give a definition of the gospel I would likely write something slightly different.

So I am wondering if we should back off on pushing our different gospel definitions.

Should we take an honest look and recognize that the terms for gospel and good new get used in many different ways in Scripture.  We don't find one gospel definition in Scripture that gets used over and over again.

Is the problem that we have made the word gospel to mean something more than it meant in Scripture? When we try to define the gospel, are we trying to create a summary of the main points of the Christian faith?

Have we changed the meaning of "good news" into "most important beliefs"?

Consider the example of gospel or good news in Luke 2:10. The angles pronounce good news (gospel) that a savior was born.  Does the use of the term for gospel here give a main summary of the beliefs of the Christian faith?  When we share the gospel with others are we to simply repeat what the angels said here?

I do sense some Christians are hesitant to accept that Jesus preached a good news message about the kingdom of God - and that He sent His disciples out preaching in a similar way. There are at least 8 passages where the terms good news or gospel are linked to a kingdom message in the gospels. To be honest I am not sure what concerns they have over this message. I am trying to sort it out.

I am not ashamed of the gospel of the kingdom that Jesus and His disciples preached. I am also not ashamed of any of the gospel accounts of Jesus. Nor am I ashamed of the good news message of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. Whenever Jesus and the writers of scripture say "this is good news", I want to agree and share the good news with others.

But I am recognizing there is no record in our Scriptures of a gospel presentation that includes a summary of all the main beliefs of the Christian faith.  If we simply look at all the times the words gospel, and good news show up, we do not see a pattern to piece together such a gospel presentation.  The same goes when we look at different passages where people share the message of Jesus to others.  Even Jesus gives different explanations to different people on how to be saved.

I have some concerns over how much proof-texting is required for most gospel presentations.  If you have to piece together a summary by cutting and pasting sentences from different places... don't you think it is odd that at least one, if not all the NT books had a complete summary like the one you have made? 

It is good to study the Bible and try to piece it together to understand what God is asking of you.  But we should notice that Jesus didn't really put together any creeds, doctrinal statements, or even a systematic gospel presentation that we should memorize, repeat, and spread. 

So as I strive to simply follow Jesus, I think I may be free from needing to have the best definition of "good news".  May Jesus be good news for those around me.

I guess I may need to re-word some of my old posts on this topic.

I'd love to hear your thoughts.

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