Thanks for all of your great insights yesterday on what you believe is the Gospel! I loved reading them, and I generally like to think that the people that read this blog are at least 82.6% smarter than people who read any other blog Maybe it’s just that the people who have thought about what the Gospel means are the only ones who commented, but man, preach those definitions my brothers and sisters!
In the broader Christian world the word Gospel is thrown around so easily and quickly without a clue what it actually means. “Gospel” is now a part of the Christianeze language that, when someone says it, is to be automatically assumed they are: 1) A great Christian; 2) Totally know what they’re talking about. I would tend to say that neither of those points are accurate.
In fact, I physically cringe when I hear people say the word Gospel. I cringe because I know when people say it, that’s all I’m going to get from most of them when it comes to that word … just a bunch of lip service. This is kind of what I feel like when I hear most people talking about the Gospel:
Let me try and make this as clear as I can:
“Gospel” is not a word, it’s a way of life.
It’s not an understanding. It’s not a theology. And it’s sure not something that should ever be said lightly. Yet it has turned into all of those things.
In fact, I think the word Gospel should never be said.
You heard me right. Never. It should be lived. No one out there (especially those who are not Christian) cares about an over-used, under-impacted word that Christians say as the password to get in the club. However, through the message of Jesus living through you and I, we will be the hands and feet of Jesus’ reconciling work to bring ourselves and others into a restored relationship with God, each other, and have the strength to live a daily faithfulness of what it means to establish Kingdom on earth as it is in heaven.
Jesus references the word translated to “gospel” seven times, five of them coming in the book of Mark. Five of those seven times Jesus says something to the effect of “preach the gospel.” Narrowly looking at the phrase “preach the gospel” it would assume most Christians are right today in their spoken usage of the word. The problem comes in to play when looking at the whole of Jesus’ life and ministry. His overtly intentional incarnational ways (not just as the God-man but also in the way he went about ‘living in the neighborhoods’ doing good deeds) were the presupposition to his earning the right to speak about what people call ‘the Gospel’ today.
There is no such thing as a Capital-G Gospel.
I say this because the capital letter denotes a person or a name; a label. You could argue that Jesus (a person) is the Gospel (a label to Jesus’ work). But the problem I see with that is that Jesus the person commanded us to live as he lived – not just label as he lived. So many times throughout Jesus’ life the roadblocks people encountered with him were because they weren’t ready to live as he lived (the Rich Young Ruler, the Pharisees, etc).
The “Gospel” is based on a life lived, not a construction of how to get saved.
The Gospel is meant to be a verb that describes an action; not a label of the ideal of someone’s actions for us.
So please, I ask you to stop saying the world Gospel and instead just faithfully live your life. The “Gospel” will be felt with more impact through active unspoken mediums than any intellectualized ones.