Tuesday, December 2, 2008

What is the Gospel?

Just a quick thought relating to Phil's comment on the Titus 3 sermon. Is the good news (Gospel) just the transformation itself or is it the life to be lived afterwards as well? Is the good news the passport with my new citizenship in it, or is it actually living in the new country? Is the good news the Cross or is it the life of discipleship? Is the good news the Resurrection, or the resurrected life it brings? Have we really preached the gospel if we don't mention both? I have always felt that evangelism that doesn't also point out the cost and consequences of accepting Jesus as saviour is dangerous and dishonest (see Luke 14:27-33). Let me know what you think :)


  1. I think this one might take quite a bit of thought, but by first response is that the Gospel is at its strongest when it balances between the two.. but surely you are preaching the Gospel if you are talking about either.

  2. The good news is simply that: a report of something that has happened.

    The transformation and the response aren't the Gospel so I think your categories are a bit confused.

  3. Faye, i agree you are talking about the gospel if talking about either but have you proclaimed 'the gospel' if you havent talked about both?

    Phil, i believe you suggested the transformation described in Titus 3:4-7 was the gospel 'right there.' But that passage does not describe the historical event but the consequent transformation which that event has made possible. The good news is not simply the reporting of an event but also the implications, connotations, and consequences of that event, without which the event is merely 'news'. As such I would argue that the new life we are called to live is an integral part of the good news. Most evangelism seems to concentrate on getting to the point of the new birth, but without really going into detail about what the new birth will entail, which seems half baked to me. What do you think?

  4. Yeah, I think I'm playing semantics a bit.

    But look at Titus 3:4-7. It's past tense - talking about what God has done. There's nothing in that about what we do - because that's not the Gospel.

  5. I wrote that last comment just before bed so I don't know if I engaged properly with what you said.

    The Gospel is what God has done - the Good News that he has rescued his people from sin and death by the blood of his Son.

    Now, if we have been given a new heart to have faith in that Gospel we then enter a life of repentance - a turning away from sin and living only for God.

    I'm very far away from the evangelical world, coming as I do out of liberalism into a more historical, Reformational faith and practice so I don't want to comment out of turn. However, if evangelism's focus is getting people to come up the front and make a commitment after an emotional appeal and some nice choruses then it's going astray.

    Your sermon that kicked all this off was a great example of a good sermon because you gave the Gospel message and then applied it. My only worry was that the application may have overshadowed the gospel, thus straying into the realms of law; i.e do this stuff and you will live.

    The implications of a life of faith and repentance in light of the Gospel must never be hidden but semantically our response is not the good news.

  6. I think we may have crossed lines here. Our response and the life to which we are called to are separate things. The 'gospel' of Titus 3:4-7 is the transformation of the believer through becoming born again and is neither the historical moment of the Christ event, nor the realisation of God's salvation in the believer's life. I did answer your concern about 'law' in the comments after the sermon, but perhaps starting this post obscured it... not every one checks this blog as often as me :) But you've convinced me, (inadvertantly?) there is no Gospel without application. But that will need more thought... cheers Phil :)