Monday, December 29, 2008


If you were to go back in time and ask the early Christians, "What is the Gospel?", what do you suppose their answer would be? One need not be a theologian to comprehend what the Biblical answer to this question is however, I'm surprised how often I hear or read a different definition of what the Gospel is these days. What is going on?

The Gospel:

The good news of God reconciling the world to Himself in and through the person and work of Jesus Christ who died for our sins and rose again.
1 Corinthians 15: 1-4
John 14: 6

Seems simple enough to understand and yet, there are all sorts of variations floating around today. Apparently it's not enough that Christ died for our sins; we must also add good works and compassion to the definition. Is feeding the hungry also the Gospel? Is building a home for the homeless sharing the Gospel? Promoting world peace, solving the AIDS crisis... are these all part of the Gospel?

Welcome to the Social Gospel.

If we do good things for people, they'll get saved. They'll see us being compassionate and recognize their sinful condition and need for a Savior. No need to preach to them (Romans 10:14-15). No need to share with them the reason they need to be saved. Just love them. Is that REALLY love?

Don't get me wrong. As a follower of Christ, we SHOULD be demonstrating compassion by helping the poor, feeding the hungry and loving others as Christ did. These are the effects of the Gospel (not the Gospel itself). This is the 'fruit' of our conversion. However, the message we should be sharing with the world is first and foremost Christ and the Cross. Jesus spoke very clearly about who He was, why He came and what He required of us. Yes, He demonstrated love & compassion through His miraculous healing's. yes, He taught us to love one another as we love ourselves. But the underlying message He preached was WHY He came. This message continued with His disciples. Christ spoke and many were saved (John 8: 28-30). The disciples preached the Gospel and many were saved (Acts 14: 21, Acts 5:42).

Contrary to what some think, there is only one Gospel. Not the Gospel of Jesus and the Gospel of Paul. Only one. Only through Christ's death and resurrection is righteousness imputed to the believer. Only because of God's grace are people saved from their sins; through repentance and faith. Each and every Follower of Christ should be sharing the good news of the Gospel (Mark 16:15).

Scripture warns us to avoid any other Gospel...

"But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent's cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ. For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough." ~ II Corinthians 11: 3-4

"I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned! As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned!" ~ Galatians 1: 6-9

“If you believe what you like in the gospels, and reject what you don’t like, it is not the gospel you believe, but yourself.” ~ Saint Augustine

"Avoid a sugared gospel as you would shun sugar of lead. Seek the gospel which rips up and tears and cuts and wounds and hacks and even kills, for that is the gospel that makes alive again. And when you have found it, give good heed to it. Let it enter into your inmost being. As the rain soaks into the ground, so pray the Lord to let his gospel soak into your soul."~ C.H. Spurgeon

“The church is the fruit of the gospel.” ~ Hywel R. Jones