What Is It?

Every now and then we find ourselves so thoroughly involved in something that we forget what the “something” is without all of the peripheral things that are added to it. It certainly happens in sports, where so much is now made of statistics that we have created fantasies out of them. It happens in politics, where maintaining a party takes precedence over the governing principles that begat the party in the first place.

Has it happened with something as important as the Gospel? Do we know what it is well enough to speak it easily to someone who truly wants to know? And will the inquirer receive anything like the same answer from more than one source? These are among the questions asked by Greg Gilbert is his short book by the auspicious title, What Is the Gospel? It is one in a series of volumes to be published by Crossway under the title of 9 Marks–itself a spinoff from Mark Dever’s book, Nine Marks of a Healthy Church. I’m going to be reviewing and posting from Gilbert’s book, partially because of its purpose, which is to help believers to be clear in their thinking and their speaking of their faith. It will also, in part, be engaged because I will disagree with him at a few points points, and will want to know if any of those disagreements entail that we are speaking different “gospels.”

To begin, I’d like to engage in an exercise which forms Gilbert’s own introduction, establishing the need for a book with this title. He conducted a bit of a survey, asking the simple question he wishes to discuss: what is the gospel? It’s a question about which we are prone to say dismissively, “everybody knows that–at least anyone who is really saved.” Everybody knows–what?

So that’s the question I’d like to have as many people weigh in on as possible. Keep it short, as we are looking for encapsulations which can be expanded upon as opportunity permits, yet hit the core of the matter. After a day or two, we’ll see if it will be of benefit to consider the answers Gilbert provides in his brief book. So tell me, what is the gospel?

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8 thoughts on “What Is It?

    • Not intentionally, Tim. I decided to do theological considerations of books written for non-theologians. The gap between academia and other thinking Christians is far too wide. If this gets responses I’ll be happy to share them with you!

      • i am now too shy to post anything, now that I know my professor will might grade me on my answer. But first does a carsonian answer get an A and a NTWrightian answer get me a C? So in my continuing missions work to you evangelicals I’ll give you the F answer:

        the Second Vatican Council reminded the church that mission is the reason it exists. Every diocese, parish and Christian are called to continue Jesus’ mission to make God’s love, salvation and justice more of a reality on earth

  1. In non-“Christian speak”: God hates sin (that which is evil) because sin distroys. Because He is a loving and perfect God, sin must be stopped. He could have simply killed us off, that would stop the spread of sin. Instead, He offered to take on the punishment Himself through Jesus Christ. We are free from the death sentence when we realize what Jesus did for us. This is the Gospel, the Good News, that Jesus Christ died for us.
    (Was that short enough?)

  2. We were created for the Glory of God. We have all fallen short of that glory. The penalty(consequence) of that is death and separation from God. Yet he Loved us so, that he took the penalty upon Himself, which saves us from death and separation.

    I think the good news has been misplaced in many evangelistic minds…”Good News Jesus paid the penalty for your sin so you are saved from hell”… I don’t think that is good news as much as relieving news…. “Good News, the God that created you, has been with you and watching over you your entire life, He is such a Loving God that he has not just given us a way to be with Him, but He Himself is The Way”… That is Good News, and a result of that, not the purpose of it, is redemption from eternal separation.

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