Thursday, September 1, 2011

Helpful Gospel Definitions

Over the past few years Trevin Wax has been doing a series of blog posts entitled "Gospel Definitions". In them he quotes various authors/scholars stating what the gospel is. Here are some that I find particularly helpful:

C.H. Dodd

“The Gospel” Summarized in 6 Parts

The Age of Fulfillment has dawned, the “latter days” foretold by the prophets. (Acts 3:18-26)
This has taken place through the birth, life, ministry, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. (Acts 2:22-31)
By virtue of the resurrection, Jesus has been exalted at the right hand of God as Messianic head of the new Israel. (Acts 2:32-36)
The Holy Spirit in the church is the sign of Christ’s present power and glory. (Acts 10:44-48)
The Messianic Age will reach its consummation in the return of Christ. (Acts 3:20-21)
An appeal is made for repentance with the offer of forgiveness, the Holy Spirit, and salvation. (Acts 2:37-41)

F.F. Bruce

The basic elements in the message were these:

1. the prophecies have been fulfilled and the new age inaugurated by the coming of Christ;
2. he was born into the family of David;
3. he died according to the Scriptures, to deliver his people from this evil age;
4. he was buried, and raised again the third day, according to the Scriptures;
5. he is exalted at God’s right hand as Son of God, Lord of living and dead;
6. he will come again, to judge the world and consummate his saving work.”

Michael Bird

“Taken together we can infer from I Corinthians 15:3 – 5, Romans 1:1-4 and II Timothy 2:8, that the gospel is both about the person and work of Christ.

“God promised in the scriptures that He would renew creation and restore Israel. The gospel is the good news that God has made these promises good in Jesus, the Messiah and Lord. Jesus died and rose for the purpose of atoning for sins, and through faith in Him and His work believers are reconciled to God.

“The new age has been launched and God has revealed His saving righteousness in the gospel so that He justifies and delivers persons from the penalty and power of sin and death.”

J.I. Packer

“I formulate the Gospel this way: it is information issuing in invitation; it is proclamation issuing in persuasion. It is an admonitory message embracing five themes. First, God: the God whom Paul proclaimed to the Athenians in Acts 17, the God of Christian theism.

Second, humankind: made in God’s image but now totally unable to respond to God or do anything right by reason of sin in their moral and spiritual system. Third, the person and work of Christ: God incarnate, who by dying wrought atonement and who now lives to impart the blessing that flows form his work of atonement.

Fourth, repentance, that is, turning from sin to God, from self-will to Jesus Christ. And fifthly, new community: a new family, a new pattern of human togetherness which results from the unity of the Lord’s people in the Lord, henceforth to function under the one Father as a family and a fellowship.” (44, emphasis added)