Monday, March 30, 2009

Which gospel do you choose?

Scot McKnight poses a question: "Which Gospel do you Choose?"

Here's a first option, which I've slightly edited, and one that is becoming more and more a way articulating the gospel for some:

"The gospel is not a call to follow Christ's example or his teachings. It is not a proclamation of his kingly reign. It is not an invitation to enter the Church. It does not include a promise of his return. These are all aspects of Christian teaching. But the Gospel, very specifically, is the starting point that prepares for the teaching. The gospel is the good news that Jesus came to save us from our sins by dying on the cross and rising from the dead."

The second one comes from NT Wright, from his book called What Saint Paul Really Said: Was Paul of Tarsus the Real Founder of Christianity? :

My proposal has been that 'the gospel' is not, for Paul, a message about 'how one gets saved', in an individual and ahistorical sense. 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.

Two options on the table here. What do you think? Which best captures the gospel for you? What would add to each or either to make it better?

It's an intriguing question. Actually, I wouldn't add anything: I'd edit them both down, the same way that those who have gone before us did. The liturgy puts the gospel at at its center in the memorial acclamation. It is short, sweet, memorable, and transcends every culture:

"Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again."

This puts CHRIST at the center, and requires us to position ourselves in relation to Him each moment of our lives, either to move toward Him, or away from Him.

Whether this proclamation of the gospel better coincides with #1 or #2 matters less than whether we are able to enter into it in faith, with hope, in order to love. I look forward to being able to make this confession every time we have communion at VCC.

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