What the Gospel is not

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by thisnumbersdisconnected, May 18, 2014.

  1. thisnumbersdisconnected

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    Dr. Russell Moore, president of the SBC's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, recently created a stir among conservative Christian talk show hosts when, during an address to the ERLC's Leadership Summit in Nashville in late April, he said:
    Christian talk show hosts were up in arms, feeling that his comments slighted an entire industry. Well, my feeling is, if the shoe fits, wear it.

    We are all guilty of much the same thing. We have labeled many things, erroneously, as "the Gospel." I want to offer an opinion about what the Gospel isn't.

    The Gospel is not moral outrage.
    Much of what we hear from Christians today is unbiblical, even though it rightly repeats biblical truths. We allow ourselves to provide an outlet for the flesh by castigating others in great flourishes of carnal pageantry. It as though we attempt to fulfill the lust of the flesh and simultaneously claim divine direction and divine favor inherent in that very act, a feat of tremendous spiritual and mental gymnastics. Add a dose of "courage" as well as "boldness," and we have the perfect example of allowing the old man to once again have free reign.

    There is a distinct difference between correction within the body and castigating sinners. It is beyond me how anyone could read the gospels and not see that one of the reasons our Lord was criticized was because He was a friend to sinners. He was seen in their company, and He showed uncommon love for them in spite of their sin. He reserved His most poignant rebukes for the self righteous leaders of the Temple. Yet we act as though setting foot among the sinners would turn our flesh to salt. Hint: That has only happened once in history, and that wasn't the reason it happened.

    Within today’s church it has become fashionable to exhibit moral outrage to lost sinners and their sin. Instead of spreading the good news of the Gospel, and instead of fasting and praying inside the kingdom of God, the church releases concerted efforts to change the culture. The church even goes so far as to embrace a false mission to return America to the intent of the founding fathers. We as Americans of any stripe can desire to do so, but it is not a mission of the church, but in undertaking that as our mission, we have left the Christ and chased after idols. We can only change the culture by preaching the Gospel -- the real Gospel -- and watching the Holy Spirit change lives, which in turn will change the culture.

    The Gospel is not justice.
    The works we do because we love God are important, but they are not the mission of the church, nor were they integral to the gospel. Jesus said the two great commandments are "Love God, love your neighbor." He didn't say doing so would get you into heaven, or more importantly, provide you His grace to do the things we otherwise are incapable of doing.

    Everything the church does is not its mission. There are many things that the church is involved with that are not essentially its mission but are nonetheless what Christ's people do precisely because they belong to Christ. We unfortunately get the two confused, and believe that in doing the mission, we are "doing" the Gospel. But when the apostles preached the Gospel in the New Testament, they were referencing God's redemption of sinners -- and not social justice.

    The Gospel is about how sinners who rightly deserve nothing but the eternal condemnation of God nonetheless are redeemed by His decisive act in Jesus Christ to redeemed sinners. It is true that liberal churches have a social cause but no altar call, while many conservative churches have the altar call, but no mission to the world. The issue we face as Christian people is not whether we can have both, because we can. The issue is, what is that mission? Is it to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit the sick and the prisoner -- or is it to take the message of salvation to the world? The answer is "Yes." But if we do not accompany the feeding, clothing, visiting with the message, we've failed.

    The Gospel is not a set of beliefs.
    It is not just a system of thought, a type of mystical experience or way of life. Christ did not simply come to give us a new system of thinking, even though there can be nothing more profound than knowing Him. Christ did not come to give us a new feeling of God, even though there is nothing more life changing than meeting Him. Christ did not come to simply tell us how to live, even though we are told we should be known for the things we do. Christianity is none of these things.

    Christianity is ultimately rooted ontologically, in being.

    Christianity is rooted in being in its method of revelation. To have seen Christ is to have seen the Father. Jesus did not come to tell us about God. He came as God. It is in His very nature. He is not God because of the things he said or did. These things did not make him the Son of God. Rather He is the Son of God by nature, in His very being. Everything he said and did flowed from that.

    Christianity is rooted in being in salvation. It is through Christ’s physical death and bodily resurrection that we are saved. It is because of what He took on in his being that we are saved. All the wrong thoughts, all the harmful experiences, all the wrong things done He took on, in his body, so that we might be saved. That is why we read that he became sin for us.

    Christianity is rooted in being in transformation. Jesus said that anyone wanting to enter heaven must be born again. The fundamental problem facing humanity is not one of knowledge, or feeling or even how to live. The fundamental problem is that we are fallen beings. It is only as our very beings are restored that we can truly begin to learn how to think, how to relate to the world around us and how to live.

    Every other system, maybe by combining the three different pursuits of thinking, feeling and doing, ultimately want to change us as beings. Yet they are powerless to do so. It is only through Christ that we find our starting point is a transformation of our being, (born again), and that everything else follows on from that.​

    So this is the Gospel. It is plainly, simply, truthfully being. In sin, we are being ourselves, in the flesh. In Christ, we are being reborn, renewed, returned to the image -- not how we look, but in how we "be" -- of our Creator, and any message we share with the word that doesn't convey that message is not the Gospel.

    Also, I should share with you the fact I did not quote the entire paragraph from Dr. Moore's speech at the beginning of this post. That quotation above ends thusly:
     
    #1 thisnumbersdisconnected, May 18, 2014
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  2. Revmitchell

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    Who is we and what has been labeled as the gospel by "we"?
     
  3. thisnumbersdisconnected

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    Anyone who preaches a gospel not in line with how it is described by Dr. Moore ...

    ... and anyone who preaches a gospel not in line with how it is described by Dr. Moore. Not the Dr. Moore is the first to say it, but it saves time explaining. At various times, here and elsewhere, it has included me. By the same token and within those same parameters, it has included you. Virtually everyone on this board has at one time or another -- and some more consistently than others -- spoken the message of one of those three categories, intending to preach the Gospel, when those are not the Gospel.
     
    #3 thisnumbersdisconnected, May 18, 2014
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  4. Revmitchell

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    No sorry you need to be more specific. You said "we all" so who is the "we all" and what gospel does the "we all" preach?
     
  5. thisnumbersdisconnected

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    The "we all" is anyone who preaches anything other than "a call to repentance ending with the invitation that is grounded in the bloody cross and the empty tomb of Jesus." "The gospel" of moral outrage. "The gospel" of justice. "The gospel" of beliefs, whether those beliefs can be labeled Calvinism, dispensationalism, Arminianism, amillennialism, premillennialism, liberalism, conservatism, populism, progressivism, etc.

    Those are not the Gospel. Those are theologies and doctrines which divide us, distract us, cause us to deviate from fellowship, and worst of all, from the Truth.

    Truth and the Gospel are common to all those "-isms." That remains true even though certain of the "-ites" who hold to certain of the "-isms" aren't always prepared to conceded that.
     
  6. Revmitchell

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    Who preaches the gospel of moral outrage? Who preaches the gospel of conservatism? Who preaches any of this stuff as the gospel?
     
  7. thisnumbersdisconnected

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    I think you know the answers to those questions, but if you must:

    You and I have both preached the gospel of moral outrage, condemning others rather than being willing to love them and share the truth with them. We both have preached the gospel of conservatism, stating in various direct and indirect ways that without a return to those principles, this nation is doomed and/or will come under God's judgment. There are many who preach the "gospels" of Calvin, Arminius, liberalism, anarchy, and they appear regularly on this board, and we -- you and I -- have disparaged and denigrated them rather than show them the love of Christ.

    I pick on both of us because we are the first examples that came to mind. We are far from alone in preaching that which is more important than what really is important.
     
  8. Revmitchell

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    That is pure baloney. You do not know me well enough to say anything like this. You have never met me, never fellowshiped with me outside of posting on this board.

    The problem is people have a wrong view of posting on this board. Some believe that they have to post here to establish truth.

    Others believe that any number of posts paints a complete picture of anyone who does dare to post here.

    I am morally outraged over abortion and communism. But to say that I call that the gospel cannot be justified.

    I suggest you check yourself and stop making false accusations.
     
  9. Greektim

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    You mean "all" doesn't mean ALL??? The horror!
     
  10. thisnumbersdisconnected

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    No one is so much themselves as when they are "anonymous."
    I have no more truth than any other follower of Christ. This is for discussion, not indictment.
    And again, no one is so much themselves ...
    As am I. But what non-Christians hear from our mouths and see in our words becomes their view of what we are, of what Christianity is. Of course we deny these things are the gospel, and in actually seeing what the Gospel is, certainly they are not. But what do others hear, see, perceive from us? Their view of the gospel is not just what we tell them, but what we spend most of our time discussing.
    I have. That's why I made this thread. I'm not about indicting anyone. As I said, this is for discussion.
     
  11. Revmitchell

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    That means nothing. You seem to have missed my point. What I am saying is our posts on this board are not the whole of our lives. They do not paint a complete enough picture to make the accusation that we hold our outrage as the gospel.

    Uh huh....



    I have already addressed this nonsense.


    What most non Christians see and hear is selective. They ignore what they want and remember what they want and try to capitalize on that. This does not mean we should retreat from the public square.

    That is just bunk. If you or anyone else think that what is posted on this board is the whole of our lives and conversations than you all need to take some time away from the board and re-evaluate your time. Too many people place to much faith in what gets posted here.

    And attaching our concerns over government and society as believing that is the gospel is just a cheap shot. I expect that from a few other posters. You have surprised me.
     
    #11 Revmitchell, May 18, 2014
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  12. quantumfaith

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    Even though I disagree with "your all", this was a clever statement. :)
     
  13. convicted1

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    Oh Lord...a Cal and non-Cal in agreement....is this Baptistboard, or did I not take that left turn at Albuquerque??
     
  14. thisnumbersdisconnected

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    Rev, if you don't want to participate in the discussion, that's OK. Makes me no never mind.
    It means everyone on this board, and anyone who visits here. That's about as "all" as you can get in context. :thumbsup:
    Context is everything, is it not? :laugh:
     
  15. Revmitchell

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    Sure I do. Long enough to show your fallacious argument of "the gospel of....". Arguments need to be made out of honesty not hyperbole.
     
  16. thisnumbersdisconnected

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    Do you deny that most Christians spend far more time railing against homosexuals, abortion, perceived persecution, etc., than they do preaching the Gospel?

    Because that is what this thread is about. We preach moral outrage, the liberals preach "justice," and we all preach "beliefs" before we will preach the Gospel.
     
  17. Palatka51

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    Moral outrage is called for regarding sin. How do you call a person to repentance (the first stage of gospel truth is that man is a sinner) if the sin is not brought to light? Sin must be known in order to repent of it. It is what the law is for. Law then issues a verdict of death and the cross satisfies its mandate. Grace then brings that which was crucified to new life that will not have the nature to sin.
     
  18. thisnumbersdisconnected

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    Do you see the dichotomy of the words "outrage" and "grace" in that paragraph? Rare is it that anyone made friends by punching them in the nose. Rarer still is anyone berating a sinner for being a sinner and then winning them to Christ. Most of the time, Christians don't get past just berating them, in the first place. If we do it's ...

    "Your lifestyle is an abomination, an insult to God, it goes against His holy word, and you're going straight to hell! I pray you get saved!" ...

    Yeah, that's gonna win people to Christ!

    The old saying "You gotta get 'em lost before you can get 'em found" is nonsense, particularly these days, in the era of "me," "self," and "my rights." Better is to meet them where they are at -- hurting, addicted, angry, depressed. Show them why, without the accusation or the "outrage." Don't try to tell them about "justice" or beliefs. Talk to them about life, and show them it can be better in Christ.

    It is the same thing you're trying to do, without the punch in the nose.
     
  19. Palatka51

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    I'm sorry, but you are diametrically opposed to the teachings of Paul.
     
  20. thisnumbersdisconnected

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    [​IMG]

    Yeah, OK ... whatever.

    You obviously do not know how Paul ministered. It wasn't with a club. It was with a velvet glove. He only used the club on believers.
     

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