Tuesday, August 07, 2007

The gospel: what is it? I

What are Christians trying to say?
The good news (or 'gospel') about Jesus is foundational to the life of the Christian community and determines what it means to be his disciple. Yet like many other crucial terms ('love', 'faith', even 'God') we can feel stuck when asked to define it. But attempting to do so explicitly can be a good exercise, even if you're not sure you believe it - or are sure that you don't! If you don't feel confident enough to hazard an attempt in the comments, try to write down on paper in a sentence or two what you think the heart of the Christian message is.

Of course, there are many ways of summarising the gospel, but the term doesn't refer to everything that is taught in the Bible or accepted as Christian tradition. It has specific content. There are many implications and applications flowing from it, but what is the basic claim that forms the core of what Christians are on about?

This is the start of a new series based on a sermon I gave on Sunday titled 'Words of Love'.* It will be structured around three questions: (a) what is the gospel? (b) how is it good news? and (c) how is it good news?
*This sermon was itself was the first of a four-week series on 'our mission'. You can listen to the mp3 if you'd rather not read the rest of these posts, or if you want to get a head start on thinking about comments!
Twelve points for the first to correctly guess the English location. Series so far: I; II; III; IV; V.