- The five part story of Jesus: conception, birth, ministry, death and resurrection, as presented in the four gospels (Eg Luke 1:1f or 2 Timothy 2:8).
- The announcement of good news about who Jesus is and what he has done (Eg Phil 2:6-11 or 1 Peter 3:18).
- The core-theology of the Church which is centred around the crucifixion and resurrection but includes the bad news of sin, the mercy of the cross and a hope for the future (Eg Isaiah 53 or Rev 5:6-10).
I've been meaning to blog about this for a long time but was prompted to post when Arthur posted a video by Scott McKnight on Facebook. In that video Scott McKnight provokes us rightly to think about what "the gospel" actually means, although with rhetoric I wouldn't agree with. I also think it's important to discuss our definition of the gospel because it's a key phrase in our church vocabulary but one that through frequency has lost some of it's specificity. Sometimes when we talk about "the gospel" we really mean:
- The mechanics of salvation, the doctrines of grace (aka the Ordo-Salutis) how God's saving grace works in all it's parts (Eg Rom 8:30).
- The story of salvation, the grand meta-narrative of Scripture: creation, fall, redemption and restoration (Eg Hebrews 11).
- A world view or behaviour that's shaped by Scripture (Eg Acts 17:11).
- A particular aspect of salvation such as justification (Eg Rom 3:24).
Scott McKnight says 'that if we make the gospel mean everything then it means nothing' and this is correct. I applaud McKnight for asking great questions and provoking me to think but reject his assumption from the video that personal salvation is over-empahsied. The gospel (in either of it's three forms) creates a personal reaction and requires a personal response (Rom 10:9-10)