Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Back to the Gospel

Resuming some thinking about the Gospel as the core message of the Christian faith.

So far:

- the gospel is something true with grave consequences.

- the gospel is not:

(1) One thing for one people group, or one era in history, and another for a different group or era.
(2) A message for some (those disposed to live by it) but not for others (those disinterested in it). Another way of putting this: the gospel is not the charter or constitution of a hobby group or club called 'church'.

(3) A human proposal up for debate because, like all human proposals it has flaws, needs revising for the needs of the day, etc.

Putting these observations together, the gospel is truth revealed from God for every human being in every generation which has grave consequences.

But what is the content of this non-trivial truth? What does it contain that cannot be deduced from looking around the world and out into the universe? What makes it truth with grave consequences?

The search for answers to these questions is complicated when we read the New Testament. On the face of it the answers we find if we confine our reading to the Gospel according to the four writers, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, are different to the answers yielded if we confined our reading to the epistles of Paul. (To an extent this observation explains some significant differences about the gospel between churches through the ages). The challenge is to find the one gospel in the midst of its diverse expressions in the New Testament.

Here I offer just one proposal about the content of the gospel: it is about Jesus Christ.

More soon ... but I may be distracted, as in the previous posts, by beautiful books and seductive sojourns into Communion politics!


Fr. Bryan Owen said...

William Porcher DuBose (perhaps the greatest theologian produced by the Episcopal Church, and whose feast day is today) offers thoughts relevant to this topic in his writings. See, for instance, the excerpt from the preface to his book The Gospel in the Gospels (1906) posted here. You can also read the book on-line.

Peter Carrell said...

Excellent, Bryan. Thank you.

Joshua Bovis said...

Romans 5:1-2 could be a good starting point?

Jesus death for his enemies?

Jesus death for sinners?

Peter Carrell said...