If someone asked you, “What is the Gospel?” how would you respond?
I posed this question on Twitter yesterday, and I was shocked by the number of responses I received. Now, before I give you the answers, I want to share with you the reason I asked the question in the first place.
As someone who grew up in the church and heard about the Gospel on a very regular basis, I grew up believing that the Gospel was simple and universal. It was something all Christians believed (regardless of any other theological differences), and it was so simple it could be defined with a single verse of Scripture: “…if you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9, NRSV).
As I’ve grown in my faith and spent considerable time in prayer and study, my understanding of certain basics of the faith has been tempered or become nuanced. But at the heart of it all is still the Gospel. Even though the stances we take on social, moral, and political topics are not the Gospel in and of themselves, they flow out of what we understand the Gospel to be. So, it seems pretty important that we get this right. It’s pretty important that we have an agreement on what the Gospel is before we can talk about the ways we are to live it out.
I asked how people would respond if they were asked, “What is the Gospel?” Here were some of the responses:
— M. van Maastricht (@MJvanMaastricht) July 15, 2014
The Gospel is the Good News that we are loved, forgiven, and made whole in Christ. We are reconciled, and invited to be part of His Kingdom.
— Jennifer Neyhart (@JenniferNeyhart) July 15, 2014
— Jason Goroncy (@JasonGoroncy) July 15, 2014
@aprilfiet Christ is victorious over those who killed him.
— ND (@justnickdon) July 15, 2014
— Korrine Annette (@Korrinie) July 15, 2014
@aprilfiet The One who made you loves you and made and is redeeming this whole big, beautiful world so you can be together with Him!
— Rachel Haltiwanger (@raykkel) July 15, 2014
@aprilfiet We are in all of our imperfect perfection.
— Carol Vinson (@cvinson88) July 15, 2014
@aprilfiet You are loved, sought after, and embraced. You are free to love in return. (then a whole bunch about Jesus)
— James Forde (@TheJamesForde) July 15, 2014
@aprilfiet Many of the responses gloss over our sin and the cost to set it right. "While we were STILL SINNERS, Christ died for us."
— Andrea Bult (@bultandrea) July 15, 2014
@aprilfiet Love. Period.
— Jim Kast-Keat (@IdeasDoneDaily) July 15, 2014
@aprilfiet wasn't gospel a technical term "God is here"? And "Good News" as in sins forgiven, becoming part of the family of God
— Anja (@Anja_Noordam) July 16, 2014
RT @aprilfiet If someone asked you, "What is the Gospel?" how would you respond? // The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand. (See Matt. 4:17)
— Micah J. Murray (@micahjmurray) July 15, 2014
And on Facebook I received this response from Kristy: “The good news that the first bricks of the Kingdom have been laid and we get to help lay the rest.”
Though many of these responses have commonalities, they are all multifaceted and focus on different aspects of Christian faith. Many of the words can mean so many different things depending on who you ask.
So, I particularly loved this response:
@aprilfiet w/ more than 140 characters
— Tim Fall (@tim_fall) July 15, 2014
Perhaps the Gospel is not as simple as I once thought. Or perhaps we over-complicate it?
But, even with all these different answers, an absence was noted from the responses:
— Virgil T. Morant (@VirgilTMorant) July 15, 2014
So, if someone asked you, “What is the Gospel?” how would you respond? What’s missing from this list? Can the Gospel fit into 140 characters, or do we need more space?