Friday, June 04, 2004

Gospel Truth

I was delighted to find that not only N.T. Wright (in one of the papers listed on my sidebar), but also now P. Andrew Sandlin, a prominent Reformed writer today, basically agree with what I have been contending for twenty years, both as a Protestant and as a Catholic; i.e., that the Gospel is not a formulaic mantra of technical soteriology, or TULIP, or simply "faith alone," but rather, the Good News (the word's literal meaning, after all) of the events of Jesus' life, death, Resurrection, and Ascension, which make salvation possible. It is refreshing to see several Protestants comment upon what I have thought was rather obvious, and an explicitly biblical proposition, in light of the opposition I have often received from Protestants to this notion. Another Reformed writer, S. Joel Garver, states the same thing in an important and oft-cited Internet paper I shall shortly comment on here.

Sandlin writes:

The Gospel is the evangel, the good news, closely related to the kerygma, the message and proclamation of the God of heaven and earth anchored in redemptive events of human history - notably the loving, sacrificial death; victorious, bodily resurrection; and glorious, conquering second coming of Jesus.

He then goes after some distressingly common distortions of the Gospel in certain Protestant circles today:

The Gospel is not a free ticket to a halo-and-harp-studded heaven for rebels who want a little eternal life insurance. The Gospel is not merely a Get-Out-of-Hell-Free card. The Gospel is the trumpet blast of the King.

He rightly distinguishes between technically correct soteriological belief and knowing-in-Whom-we-have-believed-and-trusted-for-salvation:

They need not know "theology" to be saved; they do need to know that Jesus and His redemptive work is their only hope and that in trusting Him, they are abandoning themselves to Him.

See his entire article, What is the Gospel?, from the Reformed Catholicism blog.

Here are my own related papers. The first dates originally from 1982. I recently added some commentary designed to show how Catholics would express things differently, or add a few points to the usual evangelical presentation of the Gospel:

Good News: An Evangelical / Catholic Presentation of the Gospel Message

What is the Gospel?

The Gospel, as Preached by the First Christians

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