“The Gospel in All Its Forms”

Tim Keller of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in NYC has written an excellent article in the Leadership Journal’s Spring 2008 edition. In this article he discusses a couple criticisms of the traditional gospel template:

A generation ago evangelicals agreed on “the simple gospel”: (1) God made you and wants to have a relationship with you, (2) but your sin separates you from God. (3) Jesus took the punishment your sins deserved, (4) so if you repent from sins and trust in him for your salvation, you will be forgiven, justified, and accepted freely by grace, and indwelt with his Spirit until you die and go to heaven.

There are today at least two major criticisms of this simple formulation. Many say that it is too individualistic, that Christ’s salvation is not so much to bring individual happiness as to bring peace, justice, and a new creation. A second criticism is that there is no one “simple gospel” because “everything is contextual” and the Bible itself contains many gospel presentations that exist in tension with each other.

He later attempts to explain how to integrate the various forms of the gospel in your preaching. To see how he expounds on each of these read the whole article.

1. I don’t put all the gospel points into any one gospel presentation.

2. I use both a gospel for the “circumcised” and for the “uncircumcised.”

3. I use both a “kingdom” and an “eternal life” gospel.

4. I use them all and let each group overhear me preaching to the others.

(HT: Scott Hodge)

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