Wednesday, May 14, 2008

What is the gospel?

The gospel means “good news”. I believe that it is a message to be told. I believe that the message is that Jesus Christ died on the cross to save sinners from the consequence of their sinful state. I believe that mankind can receive that “good news” by repenting and believing.

I believe it is a message that is powerful. I believe it is a message that changes lives. I believe that it is a relevant message for today.

It seems to me that some would want to change the gospel. It appears to me that the gospel is being redefined in many places and by many people. This is not a new trend. But it is very disturbing.

It seems to me that some are trying to distort the gospel altogether. They would say that there are many paths or belief systems that lead to God. That would say that the message has not been inclusive enough in the past.

It seems to me that others are trying to make the “fruit” of the gospel into the gospel. What I mean by this is that people are saying that the actions that result from believing the gospel are actually the message that people need to hear. An example of this would be to take the fact that God has a heart for the poor and make that mean that what makes us right with God is to care for the poor too. Now I believe that the fruit of someone who believes the gospel message should result in a greater concern for those around us, but I do not believe that having a concern for the poor will do anything to help someone be made right with God.

There are many people in the world who care a lot about people, the poor, and fighting poverty who don’t care about God and have done nothing to deal with the sin that separates them from God. This does not cut it.

This is only one example of how this idea is expressed.

When we replace the message of the gospel with the fruit of the gospel, we now have a system of being made right with God that believes that mankind is not sinful by nature, mankind is capable of working its way to God, and we deny much of the truth of the Bible. We are made right with God by grace through faith and not by works. This is the message that is being lost today.

Have you seen this to be true as well? Am I way off base on this? Let me know what you think.


jesse curtis said...

Great stuff. I think this is the main modern threat to Christianity - not an anti-Christian thing, but a "Christianity" with the heart ripped out. A Christianity where Christ is an inclusive figure for all faiths.
Thanks for your comments on my post. As I was writing it I was like, hmmm, I wonder what kevin thinks about this? And I wonder if your questions for him concern the topic of your current post? :)

kimorelock said...

I think these are good thoughts. I also see the opposite, equally insidious (and perhaps more pervasive) viewpoint in the church that it's okay to make "comfort" your true religion, buying into Thomas Jefferson's assertion that we have the right to happiness at all times and at all costs, especially at the expense of the gospel which calls us to do radical, uncomfortable things. While we are not saved by works, I see quite a few in the American church who take that a few steps too far...

KG said...

I think we are already seeing so much of what you are talking about. The all inclusive Christ who accepts everyone no matter what they believe.

KG said...

Yes, there are many false gospels today within the church. I was giving one example, but you have touched on another one that is extremely pervasive especially in the US.
Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are seen as "Christian" by many when they are more American than Christian.

Steve said...

A great book that touches this is "Why We're Not Emergent" by Kevin DeYoung and Ted Kluck.

They do a great job at pointing out the errors of the Emergent wing of the Emerging church without being unduly harsh. But ripping out the heart of the gospel - things like sin, death, atonement, blood, cross - is all too common in circles that consider themselves "Christian".