Wednesday, September 24, 2008


This question was posed to me twice today by unrelated sources: What is the Gospel?

It was asked once at Bible study, and the answer was given that 'it's that Christ paid for our sins.'

In another place, it was answered similarly, but in many, many more layers (scroll down one post to see 'What is the Gospel'?), and also in the process claimed there is a Gospel of the Cross and Gospel of the Kingdom.

For what it's worth, my current answer to the question is that the Gospel is that God takes care of everything. Yes, literally, everything.


-Dave said...

You you ever get a question where the answer seems so big, you hardly know where to start?

That was me with that question last night.

Ben said...

I don't know if I like the dichotomy of Kingdom vs. Cross, but the concept of that dichotomy captures something. I grew up with the Cross part of the Gospel, but never really knew what followed it. I distinctly remember one time at a Campus Crusade for Christ meeting when I met a guy who said he had accepted Christ the night before. I said "Great!" and tried to be really enthusiastic for him and his eternal soul......but I didn't know what to do or say next.

What the Kingdom part captures is what God does in and through us AFTER the initial salvation thing. "He who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it." The other half of the equation is the work he does in us to shape us from sin-centered creatures into love-centered people as we were meant to be. And then there's the mega-picture...God reconciling everything to himself (including us). By everything, I don't mean universalism. Actually, I don't know what I mean. But I read it a lot in Christianity Today so it must be true.

Anyways, I'm glad your question has gotten harder to answer for, strangely enough, means I'm understanding more. And I LOVE what I'm understanding.

jose said...

No one likes to answer that question. Why is that? For most people I don't think it's that the question is so big (as Dave wrote). I think they're scared to get it wrong or that maybe it's a trick question. And in the circles I run, where the answer is starts and stops at Christ takes care of the penalty of sin, it very well might be.

We might ask the questino every week at our small group and see if our definition grows because what we got right now is too small.

Gospel of the Kingom vs. gospel of Christ... I just don't know about that. Sounds dispensational, or maybe quantum or something.

Ρωμανός ~ Romanós said...

I keep coming back, wanting to comment on this question of what is the gospel, because as soon as I read it, the "Orthodox" answer came immediately to mind, "Jesus Christ risen from the dead," but I wanted to make sure that this was in scripture, because I thought it was. Sure enough, it is.

2 Timothy 2:8 (Jerusalem Bible):
Remember the Good News that I carry, "Jesus Christ risen from the dead, sprung from the race of David."

The strange thing, though, is that this "answer" is not dogmatic or comprehensive, but somehow it's a kind of "flag" around which a host of other meanings of the "Good News" aggregate.

If you go to Bible Gateway, for example, and type in "gospel" and use the NIV version, you find dozens of verses, if not a couple hundred, each containing the word "gospel" and using it in different ways.

The other verse that comes to mind when I think the word "gospel" is the very first verse of Mark's gospel, "The beginning of the gospel about Jesus Christ, the Son of God…" I've always loved this verse and this short gospel as somehow the seed from which the whole tree has grown.

An observation which I often share with other Christians when I am showing them around an Orthodox temple comes from the icon of the Annunciation, where Gabriel comes to Mary and tells her that God has chosen her to be the mother of His Son. The Greek name for this event is "evangelismós," which anyone can see is related to the word "evangelism." The significance of this as portrayed in the icon is that the gospel (evangelion) was announced the first time (but not the only time) by an angel, not by a human being. That gospel was first heard by Mary, who accepted it along with her role in it. (Though it is not often remembered, the angels that appeared on the night of Christ's birth also were heralds of the good news, or gospel.) After that, however, it was up to Christ, and His disciples to announce the gospel.

Since the gospel is "Jesus Christ risen from the dead," what can it mean when scripture says, speaking of Jesus, "One day as He was teaching the people in the temple courts and preaching the gospel, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, together with the elders, came up to Him…"?

This shows that the gospel must be more than "Jesus Christ risen from the dead," at least in practical terms. What do you think?