Monday, November 14, 2005

What is the gospel?

So, I have not posted in awhile. (I have a term paper that is sucking the life out of me – hopefully I can post on it soon.) I had that one post about how churches drive me crazy, but I deleted for two reasons. First, my apologizes to the united way, the facts of my comments may have been erroneous. Second, my negative voice in the end I felt was unhelpful. My post was about the institutionalization of the gospel.

We touched on the topic today in my cultural hermeneutics (how to interpret culture) class. Apparently Robert Gundry said something similar a few years ago, and called evangelicals to rethink a fundamentalist stance (see Jesus the Word, and John the Sectarian). In essence to reclaim our place as a sect protesting a decaying world, not the empire than evangelicalism has become. He has a point, but not quite what I had in mind.

Is it possible to “protest” a culture but still love it? By protest I mean proclaim the message of hope, of repentance and forgiveness. I think what is comes down to, is that we need to proclaim the gospel, but none of us seem to be able to articulate the gospel. So let me put it out there, how do you define the gospel?


Anonymous said...
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steve said...

Joe... great question.

See this link to some of my thoughts on Salvation. I presented this at our Emergent West Michigan Group earlier this year (look under the January 12 post).

Thoughts on Salvation

Joe said...

Hey Steve, the link is no good

steve said...


When you click on it, you'll go to a page on the EWM Site.

Scroll down to the jan 12 posts and you'll see the line called:

"Steve's reflections on salvation"

Sorry to mess you up. I'm techno-challenged...

mjonthemove said...


I'm going to go with
1) Love God.
2) Love your neighbor as yourself.

The crux for me or the tension between the two is that it's often hard for me to discern what the most loving course of action is.

Per your question: It just so happens to fall directly in the crux. well, damn. You've got me thinking about it. I'll post more if I've got it.
- matt

A. Engler said...

What is the Gospel? That the LORD God would take a physical stake in the history of the world in order to recreate and reclaim that which was his own--loving that which only knew hate, giving life where only death abound.

I'm sorry, Glatzel, but in this case I disagree. I think what you stated is the summary of the Law, not the definition of the Gospel. It's the end we must strive towards, but not the good knews of what God has done for us.

mjonthemove said...

right. good call, engler. my bad. you know, i just found out via your profile thing that you now live in massachusetts. DANG!

Joe said...

We had an interesting thought in class via Kevin Vanhoozer (read him! he's smart). Perhaps the gospel takes different forms in different cultures. What we have in the Bible is an agrarian form of the Gospel, which is also the authorized form.

Steve, I appreciate your idea of focusing on inheritance, and the gospel is not something we possess but is better understood positionally as opposed to epistemologically. I want to develop this more, and need to read through your notes more carefully.

Aaron, I think you present a solid foundation, but how do we communicate that in a way that makes sense to 21st century America. What does this look life?

Well, back to exams.

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