The Gospel

What Is the Gospel? The Power and Peril of Short Gospel Definitions

At some point during my tenure as a pastor at Grace Baptist, I decided I needed a succinct, memorable expression of the gospel—a phrase I could repeat frequently in a variety of contexts until members of the flock would recall it reflexively.

What I came up with is pretty much straight from 1 Corinthians 15:1-4: The gospel is the good news that Jesus Christ died for sinners and rose again.

Though I didn’t end up teaching it as well I’d intended, the statement did become an important tool in my own thinking. It eventually became reflexive for me, and that was instrumental in a sanctification project God was advancing in my own life.

It was instrumental in two ways: First, it increased my gospel awareness in general sermon preparation, personal Bible study, and random reflections on life and being human. Second, it revealed its own inadequacy. As my understanding of the gospel deepened and expanded, I came to see that my “gospel in a nutshell” statement was too small.

I’m keeping it, though—all the nutshell statements are too small!

Someone I respect said the gospel is simply, “Jesus saves.” I’ve also heard, “The gospel is the cross,” and, “It’s Christ, and Him crucified” (1 Cor. 2:2). In a way, the gospel can be boiled down to one word: “Christ”!

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Trusting the Good News in the Age of Fake News

"Trust is a fundamental social capital, and as Christians we should lament its decline. But even as the integrity of our news outlets seems to erode before our very eyes--even as we are inundated with fake news--we must never let our faith waiver regarding what we know to be reliable, trustworthy, and true: The Gospel." - Ref21

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From the Archives – The True Shekinah

The Library of Congress in Washington D.C. is one jaw-dropper of a building. If you have an architectural bone in your body, a modicum of historical interest, or a primal appreciation of fine art, this building is an exquisite treasure. The Library of Congress is officially described as “the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution … the research arm of Congress … [and] the largest library in the world.” Its architectural grandeur, artistic splendor, rare holdings, and ubiquitous historical symbolism comprise an illustrious tribute to our nation.

In what is identified as the “South Mosaic Corridor,” just off the “Great Hall,” is located an ornate, domed ceiling. One fresco depicts a woman robed in splendor (you’ve seen the type: pudgy, pale skinned, bare-footed, breasts flaunted, billowing dress). Underneath this romanticized portrait is inscribed the word “Providence” (abbreviated to fit the space). Next to this fresco, occupying a space of its own, are painted the words: “The true Shekinah is man.”

The ironic juxtaposition of these ornate missives bears witness to two competing orientations that continue to wield influence in our diverse culture. Adding to the irony is the precipitous drop in the percentage of American citizens who would have any idea what either statement means. At the dawn of the 20th century when these words were painted on the ceiling of the Library of Congress, they were well understood concepts. Today, they are as outdated as a rare book—and just as valuable for our consideration.

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How Can You Tell if a Church Is Gospel-Centered? Start with the Pulpit

"Paul preached on various 'real-life' topics, but he did so in such a way that Jesus wasn’t seen as just another (albeit better) life coach, self-help expert, Mr. Fix It, or success guru. In Paul’s preaching, Jesus is the crucified and risen Lord. There is no other option, because there is no other Jesus." - TGC

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A Time to Be Silent: When to Refrain from Sharing the Gospel

Reposted from It Is Written.

One of the marks of a Christian is a desire to share the good news of the life-transforming gospel with others. In the words of the apostles, “We cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:20). But what if a friend, fellow worker, schoolmate, or family member asks us to desist? Does there come a time when we should refrain from speaking to a person about Jesus and Christianity? 

Thanks, But No Thanks

A few years ago, I sent John Piper’s booklet The Passion of Christ: Fifty Reasons Why He Came to Die to several close friends and relatives. To my knowledge, most of them were not Christians. I had already shared the gospel with some. With others I had not–at least not in a more comprehensive way. I wanted to be able to face Jesus on Judgment Day with the knowledge that I had attempted to share the gospel with those who were close to me.

Disappointingly, one couple replied with a letter and some materials that made it clear they rejected Christianity, affirmed materialistic evolution, and wished me to relinquish my attempts at trying to convert them. They were polite. But they were also resolute. They didn’t believe in God, and they preferred that I give up any attempt in persuading them otherwise.

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