Posted July 7th, 2007 by E. Goodman
The Gospel. The “Message.” The “Good News.” Whatever you want to call it, it is considered the basic information of evangelism. Most people agree that whatever it is, it’s surely a good thing to share with people, and many believe that it’s even better to take to those people who have not heard it before. Christians talk about it and practice passing it on. Most would say that it is the core of the Christian faith. The problem, in my opinion, is that few of us really agree on what the gospel is and why it’s so important.
To me, the gospel is God’s story. It is the summary of who God is and how He normally interacts with people. It is the knowledge that evokes our response to salvation. But to me, the gospel is much more than information. It is a person. Life in Him is beautiful and terrible at once. It has a power and a profundity that goes beyond just the notion. I believe it must be experienced to be believed.
This means that despite what our training, evangelistic materials, and denominational leaders say, the gospel is not always “Good News.” Sure, in the grand scheme of things, the fact that God made a way to relationship with Him through Jesus is good news indeed. But for many people, the gospel isn’t “Good News” at all. For them, it is bad news; that they might not have everything figured out, that all that they’ve struggled to accumulate and achieve is worthless.
The gospel is not, in my opinion, the “minimum” that must be believed in order for someone to be saved. It is not a set of principles, concepts, laws, or “truths.” The gospel does not save, it is only a description of the possibility of salvation. It is not something that we can ever finish sharing; there is no end to mark the completeness of it’s presentation.
So the questions remain: “What is the gospel?” and “Are we talking about the same thing? In an age where we’ve reduced our faith to an objective soundbite summary of supposedly life-changing information, what are we talking about?
What’s the gospel to you?