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?