Gospel this, gospel that, gospel here, gospel there, gospel everywhere! Now a days it seems like everything is “gospel,” but if everything is the gospel then nothing is the gospel. However, this does not mean that the gospel does not have breadth, the gospel might be a lot more multifaceted than we think….
The word “gospel” or to “preach the good news” is used a total of 128 times in the New Testament. Its used in many context and in may ways, so naturally we should want to get a clear grasp on what this word means.
In his book Understanding Christian Mission: Participation in Suffering and Glory, Scott Sunquist list out ten statements about the gospel which he thinks should help us in thinking about how we proclaim the message of the Messiah:
- The Gospel is a summary of the life and teachings of Jesus Christ.
- The Gospel is what Jesus taught.
- The Gospel is the message from God to all people or, more precisely to all ethnic groups.
- The Gospel is the message preached by the apostles.
- The core message of the Gospel is about the grace of God offered for all of humanity.
- The Gospel of grace is centers on the meaning of the cross of Jesus Christ.
- Because the Gospel is a Gospel of grace, it is also a gospel of judgement.
- The Gospel is to be preached in a manner that reveals its nature: The gospel is truth, and so it must be preached truthfully.
- The Gospel of Jesus Christ has supreme value.
- The Gospel has its own power to transform individuals.
So those are Sunquist’s 10 statements on the gospel. I would love to hear whether you would add any other statements or whether you would take away some of his. I would also love to hear the reasons behind your decision.
Which statements would you add? Subtract? Why?
2 thoughts on “10 Statements About the Gospel”
An interesting list. I agree that it’s a good idea to define the gospel like this. The ones that stick out most to me are the first and the last ones.
I would perhaps expand #1 from “The Gospel is a summary of the life and teachings of Jesus Christ” to “The Gospel is a summary of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.” Paul sets a precedent for this in 2 Timothy 2:8 where he says “Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, the offspring of David, as preached in my gospel” (ESV). This adds a bit to it and also removes a bit of the redundancy of #2 (the Gospel is a summary of the life and teachings of Jesus…and also is what he taught? seems slightly recursive)
I’d also be interested in more of what he means by number 10. Has its OWN power? The first thought I had was of Romans 1:16 and the Gospel’s “power for the salvation of everyone who believes” (NIV84 i think). Is that what he’s talking about? Or more sanctification-focused?
I agree with you Josh about #1. Scott McKnight does something similar in expanding it to include something about it being foretold in the Old Testament.
About #10… he goes on to say that the gospel has power because it is the Word of God. So in receiving and preaching the gospel, people receive the Holy Spirit and are empowered. So it doesn’t have its own “power”, I guess its more sanctification focused.