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Friday, August 26, 2005

Another gospel

“If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.” 1 Corinthians 15:19 (KJV)

I have recently been confronted by numerous bloggers regarding specifically what the Gospel “is”. We all seem to agree the word itself means “good news” but what specifically is the "news"? Many of those who comment claim it’s more about the here and now and some go so far as to say it has nothing at all to do with being saved or born again. My intent here is not to ridicule, far from it. I want to know why so many today consider eternal life to be a minor issue or even meaningless. Isn’t it good to hear the news that this life isn’t all there is?

I don’t find the doctrine of “eat, drink and be merry” in the scripture. I find rather that to follow Christ in this life means to suffer and do without much of what the world has to offer. I find we shall be hated and persecuted and that some will even be martyred. Does your gospel offer a means of escaping these things or have I misunderstood the Gospel of Jesus Christ so completely?

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18 Comments:

Blogger Neal W. said...

I believe the Gospel to be the incarnation, blameless life, crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus. We must proclaim that message and live it out in our world. I think that means we're gonna have to take up our cross too.

8/26/2005 06:59:00 PM  
Blogger jeff said...

Galatians 3:8 says, "And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand, saying, "In you all the nations shall be blessed."

Genesis 12:2-3 says, "I will make you a great nation; I will bless you And make your name great; And you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, And I will curse him who curses you; And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed."

From this, could the 'gospel' have something to do with God blessing His people, so they can bless the world around them?

In Luke 4:18, Jesus declared His anointing to preach the 'good news', which includes preaching the 'gospel to the poor'.

Could it be that God's blessing for His people is, in fact, related to His gospel? Specifically when He wants His people to be a conduit of blessing...

just a thought...

8/27/2005 12:20:00 AM  
Blogger Kc said...

First I agree with both of you so far and I hope I can impose on you both.

Neal why must we proclaim that message and live it out in our world? Does the Gospel make this clear?

Jeff what is the blessing? Is it health and wealth for the here and now or is the blessing something else?

8/27/2005 02:58:00 AM  
Blogger nathaniel adam king said...

You wanna know something fun. The Gospel, whatever it is, is the only content that Scripturally is associated with preaching. That is, Scripturally if one is preaching, than one is proclaiming the gospel. If one does not proclaim the gospel, then one is not preaching. Therefore, when you do find what the 'gospel' is, I think you will be astonished that the majority of 'preaching' that occurs in America is not preaching at all--as it is devoid of the Gospel.

And I think Neal is only half correct. He got the Jesus part down, but where is the repentance and faith that should accompany this proclamation?

8/27/2005 06:48:00 AM  
Blogger Ron said...

The gospel has been dramatically altered down through the generations. When Christ was resurrected, the good news was that He lived. The good news was that we have an advocate, and that we no longer had to suffer the consequences of sin, which is death. Now, it seems to be more of what He can do for me, rather than what I can do for Him. It is what I can get out of life, rather than what I can give. There are two types of people in the world; those who take life, and those who give life. What those that take life do not understand is that the more we give away, the more we receive. And the sufferings of this world? They are nothing compared to the glory that is to come!

8/27/2005 08:05:00 AM  
Blogger Kc said...

Since today we’re watching Katrina I’ll be checking in here often and trying to form what I see as a consensus.

Adam no fair imparting information without opinion. You think a few great blogs on your site excuses you from offering an opinion here? What "is" the good news?

Ron could you expand on His role as our advocate?

8/27/2005 10:27:00 AM  
Blogger Matt said...

It seems like we never find a happy medium as Christians, we sway back and forth like pendulums. I'd say the current emphasis on "here" rather than "there" is the result of saying oops after completely neglecting the social gospel throughout the 20th century. Conservatives wanted so badly to distance themselves from liberals (quite understandably, as they were literally the opposite of one another by the 1930's) that they changed their actions and sermons accordingly. Focusing on the gospel's pertinence to individual sin meant focusing on oneself- ironically this can become a brand of selfishness if we never look back to the world in any way but judgment.

As I've implied above, I believe the "gospel" is thus more than one easy concept. I like to think of it in comparison to my university: it wouldn't be the "university" if it only had the business school or the school of theology.

I absolutely agree with Adam's assesment of the gospel in relation to sin and repentance. This is an area of complete division in Christianity: at my mainline church there are some who don't even believe in individual sin. At the mega-church down the street, they preach the gospel I grew up with that ONLY focuses on individual sin. To be a Christian is to be sober, respectful, and to feel worse about the fact that you masturbate than the fact that thousands of people die everyday because of injustice.

I really like Dallas Willard's name for this brand of evangelical gospel: gospels of sin management. The over-arching question becomes, how do I manage my sin portfolio well enough to get to heaven when I'm dead? I let Jesus handle it. Now what?

I think disillusionment with this has led to the current pendulum swing back toward the social gospel. But let's not forget about that little golden rule: "Love they neighbor as thyself." Now if our preachers can do their best to establish balance as they're dragged along behind the pendulum....

8/27/2005 12:24:00 PM  
Blogger jeff said...

kc,

I would say 'blessing' is whatever you need (Phil 4:19) to help your mission field find Christ.

I do, however, think the blessing will empower us to fulfill the call fo Christ (however that is defined) and preach the 'gospel'.

8/27/2005 02:18:00 PM  
Blogger Ron said...

Sure!

We have a Christ that can stand before the Father on our behalf, to appeal for us, to defend us, and to help us with our own infirmities. This is the good news. Before Christ, there was no advocate. In fact, it was the high priest that had to go into the Holy of Holies and perform the sacrifice for the forgiveness of sin. We no longer need a man to mediate for us; we have that access through Christ.

Also, I would like to ask Sofyst, what is repentance?

8/27/2005 03:16:00 PM  
Blogger Kc said...

I want thank everyone for the input so far.

Jeff our understanding is the same in that and thanks again.

Ron that sounds like the makings of a good devotion.

Matt I feel like your perspective on this is much broader than mine and I really appreciate your input here. I would like to lean on you now for a better understanding of the social aspect. In other words, impart all your wisdom in twenty words or less (grin).

Seriously, I understand what you mean by the pendulum and the challenge ministers face trying to bring the flock back from the edges to more stable ground. I think I have a slight grasp on the university analogy but honestly it’s still grey to me. I am convinced it’s the social aspect you mentioned that have so many confronting me with what I termed the health and wealth gospel. I want to at least try and understand why some believe we should preach this at all, let alone exclusively. I’m more than willing to admit to the possibility, even the probability, I’m missing something. Can you help?

Adam I apologize that I overlooked your contribution previously and I appreciate Matt bringing that to light.

8/27/2005 07:24:00 PM  
Blogger nathaniel adam king said...

KC, no worries. I have not as of yet presented what I believe (Scripturally) to be the 'gospel'. I merely pointed to another's lack of completion in their definition of said 'gospel'.

Ron, repentance is turning. You turn from your sin and to God. It is compareable to an about face, or a 180. If we do not follow the Biblical mandate to repent and likewise to preach repentance, then we necessarily end up with people who claim that they are believers and yet have changed their life in absolutely no way; in other words, we end up with the Evangelical American.

8/28/2005 05:41:00 AM  
Blogger Ron said...

Sofyst, Kc and others,

I wrote a recent devotion on the subject of repentance, which I posted on my blog. Would really like to see your comments, and start a dialogue on the subject.

Hey Kc, thanks for the prodding! I am not sure what the Lord will direct me to, but I enjoy awakening each morning to discover what He is saying for that day!

8/28/2005 04:36:00 PM  
Blogger Kristi said...

Actually, this is really a very simiple issue. I Corinthians 15:1-4 give us a very straightforward definition of the Gospel. It is they message by which we are saved (vs.2) and that message is the good news that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that He was buried and rose again the third day according to the Scriptures. (vs. 3 and 4) That is the message that is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believes. (Rom.1:16).
Now about repentance, I do agree that it is necessary for salvation, however, I do not believe that an individual must turn from sin in order to be saved. That takes the focus and trust from Christ and places it on man. Biblical repentance (as seen in the original Greek definition) is a change of mind. It is changing your mind about Who God is and what it takes to get to heaven. It involves a conscious choice of "my thinking has been wrong. I am right now chosing not to trust myself any longer as my way to heave, but Jesus Christ's work on the cross alone." That is repentance as taught in the Bible. The Bible would never, ever add any amount of works to faith as necessary for salvation. See Romans 4:5; Titus 3:5; Ephesians 2:8,9.

8/29/2005 02:42:00 PM  
Blogger Kristi said...

Kc, I've been reading through some of your previous posts, and I'm really enjoying your blog. I'm going to link to it from mine, if that's okay.

8/30/2005 12:32:00 PM  
Blogger W.A.S. said...

KC - Great topic. It's spurred some equally great discussions.

Many Christians and non-Christians alike tend to "reimagine" the Good News into something they find more appealing and less demanding.

"Cheap Grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, Communion without confession, absolution without personal confession. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate." - Dietrich Boenhoffer

8/30/2005 03:40:00 PM  
Blogger Kc said...

I apologize to everyone for the delay due to Katrina. We just got power back and we know we’re very blessed to have it. So many all over our state are out.

Adam thanks for the understanding and for the explanation. ;-)

Ron I’m sorry I haven’t been able to comment on your devotion yet but I think there’s a good discussion in it. The prodding is selfish. ;-)

Kristi what a blessing to have your comments here and I would be honored to be linked on your site.

Wade I really appreciate your visit and comments but so much more I appreciate seeing you blog again. I really am looking forward to hearing more of your understanding.

8/30/2005 06:32:00 PM  
Blogger Kris said...

kc, I agree with you, there is not a doctrine of "eat, drink and be merry" to define what it is to be the constant life of the children of God.
I believe the Good News is what kristi reese stated in her comments. Its also Christ in me the hope of glory. Its also I don't have to hide my trueself from God (although I do this alot), He loves me anyway. I think Isaiah 53 has more to say about what the gospel is and has accomplished also.

Grace & truth were realized through Christ. You cannot have grace without truth, in the same way the good news has to have the bad news preached to realize its good news.

Eternal life is not a minor issue with me, if it was then I'm not the sure good news would be so great to me. Jesus said rejoice not that the demons are subject to you, rather rejoice that your names are written in the Lambs book of life. Sometimes I just want to go home to be with the Lord, to immortality, to get out of this wretched body of mine. I hate it when I think bad about or contempt for people, I absolutely hate it. I hate it when I intentionally do things I know God is not pleased with. I hate it because the truth is part of me likes to sin, I still love my flesh. Anyway enough of that.

Great comment matt, I believe we need to preach what sin does to us, but like you said some "ministers" (although they won't admit it) would have you believe its better to be in a monestary to avoid sinning because "God can't use people who sin". God can't use people in a monestary either! At the same time some (like those who preach in a glass building...in California...oh pardon me for the digressin) never mention sin as being what is wrong with us.

Adam my friend,
You want to answer kc's question what the gospel is "scripturally", how about what you "think" it means.

By the way Krisi Reese, what kind of tatoo did you get? :)

8/31/2005 05:47:00 PM  
Blogger Kc said...

Kris I missed your comments on this topic and I’m really grateful you came back to it. It seems God has blessed you with an ability to cut to the heart of the matter and I really appreciate your comments here.

9/01/2005 04:37:00 AM  

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