What is “The Gospel”?

186413723.jpgJesus said, “The gospel must first be proclaimed to all nations” (Mark 13:10). Surely after two thousand years Christians should agree on what that Good News is. Or do they?

At IX Marks  nine pastors and theologians were asked two questions:

(1) You are standing on stage before 100,000 people from every nation on earth and asked to share the gospel in 100 words or less. What would you say?

(2) You are standing before a small crowd from your church’s neighborhood and asked to share the gospel in 100 words or less. What would you say?

Their answers differ dramatically.

So what is the Good News?

N.T. Wright describes St. Paul’s understanding:

“It is a fourfold announcement about Jesus:

1.   In Jesus of Nazareth, specifically in his cross, the decisive victory has been won over all the powers of evil, including sin and death themselves.

2.   In Jesus’ resurrection the New Age has dawned, inaugurating the long-awaited time when the prophecies would be fulfilled, when Israel’s exile would be over, and the whole world would be addressed by the one creator God.

3.   The crucified and risen Jesus was, all along, Israel’s Messiah, her representative king.

4. Jesus was therefore also the Lord, the true king of the world, the one at whose name every knee would bow.

It is, moreover, a double and dramatic announcement about God:

1. The God of Israel is the one true God, and the pagan deities are mere idols.

2. The God of Israel is now made known in and through Jesus himself….

Paul discovered, at the heart of his missionary practice, that when he announced the lordship of Jesus Christ, the sovereignty of King Jesus, this very announcement was the means by which the living God reached out with his love and changed the hearts and lives of men and women, forming them into a community of love across traditional barriers, liberating them from the paganism which had held them captive, enabling them to become, for the first time, the truly human beings thev were meant to be.”

 In What Saint Paul Really Said, pp. 60-61.

George Eldon Ladd describes it slightly differently:

“God has entered into history in the person of Christ to work among men, to bring to them the life and blessings of His Kingdom. It comes humbly, unobtrusively. It comes to men as a Galilean carpenter went throughout the cities of Palestine preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom, delivering men from their bondage to the Devil. It comes to men as his disciples went throughout Galilean villages with the same message. It comes to men today as disciples of Jesus still take the Gospel of the Kingdom into all the world. It comes quietly, humbly, without fire from heaven, without a blaze of glory, without a rending of the mountains or a cleaving of the skies. It comes like seed sown in the earth. It can be rejected by hard hearts, it can be choked out, its life may sometimes seem to wither and die. But it is the Kingdom of God. It brings the miracle of the divine life among men. It introduces them into the blessings of the divine rule. It is to them the supernatural work of God’s grace. And this same Kingdom, this same supernatural power of God will yet manifest itself at the end of the age, this time not quietly within the lives of those who receive it, but in power and great glory purging all sin and evil from the earth. Such is the Gospel of the Kingdom.”

In The Gospel of the Kingdom, pp. 64-65.

So what do you say when your share the Gospel message?

As for me, I would start with this:

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved/healed through him.”  John 3:16-17


Here is Dr. Russell Moore answering this very question:


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