don’t confuse the gospel with our response or its results in our lives

Lots of buzz around the internet at the moment about what exactly the Christian gospel is.

Why this conversation? And why now?

Well, it’s largely been catalysed by Scot McKnight’s King Jesus Gospel — a book I’m planning to get hold of and read over summer.

From what I can glean, McKnight started reading Acts and noticing that the message the Apostles proclaimed (as Luke summarises it) doesn’t map very neatly onto some of the ways we present the core Christian message (ie. ‘Jesus died so my sins could be forgiven’).

But I wanted to run this quote by you:

The main message of the Bible about Jesus Christ can easily become mixed with all sorts of things that are related to it. We see this in the way people define or preach the gospel. But it is important to keep the gospel itself clearly distinct from our response to it or from the results of it in our lives and in the world. If our proper response to the gospel message is faith, then we should not make faith part of the gospel itself. It would be absurd to call people to have faith in faith! While the new birth bears a close relationship to faith in Christ, it is a mistake to speak of the new birth as if it were itself the gospel. Faith in the new birth as such will not save us.

Want to know who said this?

I’ll give you two hints: Not Scot McKnight. And not N.T. Wright.

Who?

Graeme Goldsworthy — godfather of the distinctive approach to ‘biblical theology’ that I grew up with! (It’s from his book, According To Plan — page 81 — if you’re interested.)

Gives pause for thought, right?

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