Head First: Uh, what was the question?

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Uh, what was the question?

All my life, I've heard one preacher or another say, "If you always keep the Main Thing the main thing, then the Main Thing will always be the main thing." Sounds like pastor Yogi Berra, I know, but the idea is that it's important to remember what's...um... important (hmph, must be contagious).

One of the problems with theo-blogs is the ease with which we chase down topical rabbit-holes until it's difficult to remember what we were talking about to begin with. I admit, there have been times when I've come away from conversations with my head spinning. If you'll bear with me, I need to go back and cover the basics.

So, in the light of the many discussions we've had, here and elsewhere, my question is back to this:

Just what is the gospel?

I'm serious. How do you define the Good News?


RF2R2 said...

The Gospel is the truth about God and His Son. It doesn't have to be the whole truth (since no one has really wrapped their head around that), it just has to be a well-communicated and compassionate conveyance of the truth about god and Christ. Most of my spiritual conversations with unbelievers never get very far down the 'Roman Road', but they always make an impact because I'm not trying to tell them something - I'm just talking and sharing the truth as far as they are interested.

My Catholic buddy doesn't want to hear my 101 reasons why the virgin Mary isn't worthy of worship, but he is quite interested in my take on hypocrisy and false religion among the church and religious people. The gospel is not about me making inroads to share the truth, it's about me finding inroads.

And, of course, spiritual conversations are well and good, but I'm not going to get much traction with my friend if I'm sleeping with his wife or watching him starve. The gospel is as much demonstrating what we know to be true through works of righteousness and holiness as it is speaking the truth when it comes up.

Recovering said...

gos·pel /ˈgɒspəl/ –noun

1. the teachings of Jesus and the apostles; the Christian revelation.
2. the story of Christ's life and teachings, esp. as contained in the first four books of the New Testament, namely Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.
3. (usually initial capital letter) any of these four books.
4. something regarded as true and implicitly believed: to take his report for gospel.
5. a doctrine regarded as of prime importance: political gospel.
6. glad tidings, esp. concerning salvation and the kingdom of God as announced to the world by Christ.
7. (often initial capital letter) Ecclesiastical. an extract from one of the four Gospels, forming part of the Eucharistic service in certain churches.
8. gospel music.
9. of, pertaining to, or proclaiming the gospel or its teachings: a gospel preacher.
10. in accordance with the gospel; evangelical.
11. of or pertaining to gospel music: a gospel singer.

Barry said...

To me, the gospel is simply this: Jesus Christ has made it possible for us to become the people God always meant us to be, to have access to the almighty God who made us, to be part of the worldwide community of God's servants and to become part of God's creative and redemptive work in the world. Our part of the bargain is to follow Christ to the best of our ability and understanding.

I say "simply", but actually that's pretty mind-blowing stuff to my way of thinking.

Zeke said...

The gospel are those aspects of Jesus' character and message that make little kids run to him. The rest is interesting but consequential.

And what does it say about my overintellectualized Western mind that I can't easily describe what it is about Jesus that draws the little children?

erik said...

Oh God, not this again. [/inside joke]

SocietyVs said...

I think the 'good news' is those basic teachings of Jesus - the life he lives and showed us - what is possible in this time and place. For me it falls onto the idea of 'Love God, love your neighbor, love yourself' and finding out how this should look 'here and now'. We can all go beyond this and discuss very deep issues - but this is the core of our faith - the way we live our life to God and humanity (in full responsibility of our actions). The good news is we can change - and God has given us some teachings to help us along the way.

Molly's Boss said...

Hi Dorsey,

I think the good new is all about what we are being saved from; THE WRATH OF GOD. Belief in His son�s life, death and resurrection; His Lordship over my life; His free gift of salvation; and a true obedience to His word has removed us from His wrath to a position of adopted sons with His son blood covering our sins. Removing us from the hold to worship the idols of this world to become His sons and His delight. Hopefully this is a good start to your question.

John 3:36 He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.

Rom 5:9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. And not only [so], but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.

1 TH 1:9 For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God; And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, [even] Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.

1 Th 5:9 For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him.

Erik said...

But seriously, at this point I believe the gospel is our invitation to be part of the Incarnation. It's the good news that we can be/are partakers and expressions of the current, real, visible Body and Life of God. That's what it means to me.

However, based on an ongoing discussion I'm having with a friend of mine, Jesus isn't the only historical figure with a "gospel."

Apparently this was a term borrowed by the writers of Scripture. It was used by the Caesars to convey the good news of their rule. So, when the people back in the day heard “gospel,” they understood implicitly that by proclaiming the good news or "gospel" of Jesus and the Kingdom of Heaven, Christians were saying Jesus is above and more powerful than the world system under which the people of God found themselves.

So we have that going for us... which is nice.

Also, because of the context created by the usage of the word "gospel" at that time, the proclamation of the gospel of Jesus was understood to be a directive to submit to this otherworldly authority of Christ.

Ha Kohen said...

I would answer this the same way that Karl Barth did, "Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so".

señor jefe said...

Luke 4:18-19

Anonymous said...

Good news? God isn't angry with us.


sandytrif said...

covered this in the building we attend-Jesus drank the cup that was filled w/the wrath of God for me.(Revelation 16) I took all my sins upon him the day he died on the crossbecoming a curse for me and my sins(Galatians 3:13). That to me is Good News-the Gospel (Hebrews 10:11-14-vs 14 because by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy). Wish I could tell it the way the speaker said it-so simple yet so powerful.
This is part of a 12 week study on the cross-only week 3 and I have been blown out of the water each week
NOW What is do you think the Gospel is???

Missy said...

For me, it was that God desires reconciliation with me.

...and I just have to say that Mini-me's World Tour is hilarious! I might add having a Mini-me to my requirements for fellowship. {c;

Spiritbear said...

In City Slickers Curly talked about his one thing. That must be it

JimmyBob said...

To me, the Good News is that God has opened up a way for us to be forgiven forever - no more sacrifices necessary. It encompasses the name "Jesus" and the name "Emmanuel." The early believers embraced this by calling their beliefs "the Way." Jesus is the way to be saved. There is no other.

Miss you Dorse.

Ryan S. said...

I like what the guy who wrote the really long answer said.

Caro said...

The good news is that God, thru' Jesus has done for us what we couldnt do for ourselves; that is, fulfill the requirements of holiness (righteousness) AND pay the penalty for failure.
All else is either details or "mere religios trappings".

RF2R2 said...


I understand 'pay the penalty for failure' but I wonder if you would expand on 'fulfill the requirements of holiness (righteousness)'? It's not that I necessarily disagree with you, but I've just never heard it put quite that way.


Jason said...

[barf] "If you always keep the Main Thing the main thing, then the Main Thing will always be the main thing." [/barf]

sandytrif said...

Learned again in the building I attend, that Jesus took all my sin and paid the penalty the day he died on the cross. In exchange for my sin-He gives me His righteousness. God, the father, does not see what we have done, but what Christ has done for us. Righteousness or right standing with God is a gift given to us, not something we can earn. 2 Cor 5:21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might becme the righteousness of God. We can be called righteous by faith and belief in God Hebrews ch 11. We are insufficient, but God is all sufficiant.

sandytrif said...

oh yes, dorsey, still waiting for what you think the answer is?????

Ausbury said...

As a child, the gospel to me was more like a Get Out Of Hell Free card. As an adult, it's more about reconciliation with God, something that I know I do not deserve. Either way, both are very good news.

Kris said...

I believe it is the good news that Christ died for sins, the just for the unjust.

Caro said...

I think that we were created to be in the Presence of God by our own choice. Adam blew it; Jesus, the 2d Adam did not.
Nothing antagonistic to the nature of God could survive in His Presence; therefore, we are safely admitted only through the righteousness of Christ.
The concept of fulfillment is NOT the "works of righteouness which we have done", based as they are upon inherent digression/failure, but Christ's work.
Altho' much more could be said, does this little bit help?

Geoff said...

erik, that's interesting that you bring up other gospels. According to Mike Erre from Rockharbor church, the term was actually used to describe the good news of the Ceasar, who brought peace to the Roman Empire. I'm not a big fan of most preaching I hear these days, but the sermon I linked to above is all about comparing the gospel of Jesus to the gospel of Ceasar, and how the NT writers used words and ideas that were normally used to describe ceasar to describe Christ.

Mark Anderson said...

For Christ suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that He might bring us to God
~ 1 Peter 3:18A

Thats the best I can do.