what is the gospel…no seriously, what is it?

Justin had a great thought in a former comment? What is the gospel, necessarily, irreducibly, at the very least? I’m not sure the answer to this is very easy, since we’re all in process as fluctuating subjects under the objective grace of God. So what would you guys say? What are bare minimum components of the gospel message (assuming God’s sovereign grace as an infinite precondition of the finite response we’ll be discussing)?

 As for my answer, here goes: Amillenial eschat, at least one good read through an entire book by Van Til, and a preference to Dunkin Donuts coffee over starbucks.

 Right…um, how about, knowing (faith seeking understanding) to a varying degree (as it must be in a finte world): I am a sinner, I must be saved by grace through faith in the work of Jesus, God, and the Holy Spirit, now I must live accordingly motivated by love.  Is that enough? Too much? Too linear of a perspective on ‘gospel’ in the first place. Hmmm, I’m humbled by this. Thanks J.

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9 responses to “what is the gospel…no seriously, what is it?

  1. My take:

    The process of God creating a people for himself to spread his glory broader and deeper. Me getting forgiven is part of that of course. Don’t front.

    Redemptive history is the gospel. At least that is what I am teaching at KCKC… deal.

    z

  2. Maybe this is a start. Notice that it is a narrative and not just written propositions. Maybe we can turn it into a track.

    I believe in God, the Father almighty,
    creator of heaven and earth.

    and in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord.

    who was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit
    born of the Virgin Mary.

    suffered under Pontius Pilate,
    was crucified, died, and was buried.

    He descended into hell.
    On the third day he rose again from the dead.

    He ascended into heaven
    and is seated at the right hand
    of God the Father Almighty.

    From thence he shall come again to judge the living and the dead.

    I believe in the Holy Spirit,

    the holy catholic Church,
    the communion of saints,

    the forgiveness of sins,

    the resurrection of the body,

    and the life everlasting.
    Amen.

    P.S. Random factoid: There is are twelve divisions in the creed. One for each apostle.

  3. I knew a, that zach was going to drop his pratt-ian RedempHist on me and that b, J was going to go Nicene…NICE. ha. love it. and i love you guys.

    BUT, and this goes out to J with a kiss and a poke, I TOTALLY affirm the historic creed, however, sounds like that carries a whole lot of contingencies. Which i suppose is ok…but how would you put it in simplest terms?

    I only press the point cause ‘free-grace’ types (cf Ben’s old Greek Teacher) would say that since John’s gospel doesn’t mention repentance its not necessary. Do we need to know we’re sinners, or just that Jesus is the way. Or does knowing Jesus is the way preclude the knowledge of our sin (no good news without bad news first)?

    We’ll all agree that the gospel isn’t just intellectual assent, yet we’re whole people, so what, at every level (heart-mind-soul-strength) must necessarily be affirmed. If we take the creed as an example, does the church necessarily need affirmation?

    Yes and No. I guess the only absolute/universal necessity is God’s effectual calling. All else is how that is worked out in the ever changing realm of subjectivity…yet God revealed himself, so even amidst the relativity of language (from man’s point of view) there must be coherence.

    Frame, Vanhoozeer, Horton, and Pratt are indispensable here.

    PS, even though you can’t see my non-verbal expression, I’m asking this in true curiosity, I’m a bit bewildered by it now…oh wait, I’m going barthian…down the rabbit hole of dialectic and paradox, taking Kierk’s leap of faith and ending up once more, as Bahnsen would say, ‘on the horns of a real epistemological dilemma.’

    I’m glad this is only a blog…I’m not ready for planting yet…;)

  4. I knew a, that zach was going to drop his pratt-ian RedempHist on me and that b, J was going to go Nicene…NICE. ha. love it. and i love you guys.

    BUT, and this goes out to J with a kiss and a poke, I TOTALLY affirm the historic creed, however, sounds like that carries a whole lot of contingencies. Which i suppose is ok…but how would you put it in simplest terms?

    I only press the point cause ‘free-grace’ types (cf Ben’s old Greek Teacher) would say that since John’s gospel doesn’t mention repentance its not necessary. Do we need to know we’re sinners, or just that Jesus is the way. Or does knowing Jesus is the way preclude the knowledge of our sin (no good news without bad news first)?

    We’ll all agree that the gospel isn’t just intellectual assent, yet we’re whole people, so what, at every level (heart-mind-soul-strength) must necessarily be affirmed. If we take the creed as an example, does the church necessarily need affirmation?

    Yes and No. I guess the only absolute/universal necessity is God’s effectual calling. All else is how that is worked out in the ever changing realm of subjectivity…yet God revealed himself, so even amidst the relativity of language (from man’s point of view) there must be coherence.

    Frame, Vanhoozeer, Horton, and Pratt are indispensable here.

    PS, even though you can’t see my non-verbal expression, I’m asking this in true curiosity, I’m a bit bewildered by it now…oh wait, I’m going barthian…down the rabbit hole of dialectic and paradox, taking Kierk’s leap of faith and ending up once more, as Bahnsen would say, ‘on the horns of a real epistemological dilemma.’

    I’m glad this is only a blog…I’m not ready for planting yet…;)

  5. if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. Romans 10.9

    Is this a gross over simplification?

    Also, read that gospel meditation. That was part of the reason why I put it up there. I think it covers what the gospel is fairly well.

  6. amen and amen…i say no, its not an oversimplification. The main reason for this is that regardless of which direction we go, too simple or too complex, the sovereign work of God is the primary contingency…that is, we start simple then go down the rabbit hole. So amen J, great answer, and if its said in faith its all a person need. (theif on the cross). I LOVE THIS stuff…great thoughts.

  7. True that, Richter (which, btw, means “judge” in german). I was thinking that the resurrection was key to the gospel since Paul hammers that so hard in 1 Corinthians 15.

    The only thing that I would add is that Romans 10.9 has 16 other chapters that are necessary to understand/interpret it properly, and Paul was writing to people who had heard the gospel before and had lived in Christian community for some time.

    Not that its wrong, but it is a bit western-minded of us to try to slim down the gospel to a few “fundamentals.” The good news of the kingdom carried with it massive assumptions about the Messiah and was so interwoven with the history of the Jewish people that its hard not to mention something about the previous few millenia.

  8. I guess that’s why P tells us they can’t know without a preacher, cause no matter who it is, you’re going to have to tell a bunch of cool stories.

    This discussion has brought me to a new appreciation of God’s sovereignty, his work as both divine mind, and regenerator…if he doesn’t intercede than we can never know enough, if he does intercede, then there’s never too little (thief on cross, for example). The gospel is infinite in both directions, both small/simple and huge/complex, unless God is the universal absolute behind our subjective understandings, we’re screwed.

  9. Basically, you have to give people a lesson in Biblical Theology every time you share the gospel.

    Not really, but I am kind of leaning that way.

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