The Gospel good news, bad news, or both?
These days it seems many Christians are keen to keep away from the ‘bad news’ of the Gospel – the places where mankind stands in relation to God, sin, and all that. I think without the bad news first, the truth of the Gospel is not complete and a half-truth is really no truth at all. Others are keen only to speak of condemnation, the wrath of God and of pushing hell, sometimes, so the good news is all but lost amongst a torrent of doom. Jesus does not condemn, he convicts – there is a huge difference in my book, and many preachers today need desperately to take hold of this lest they end up preaching a half-truth gospel and misleading people. Generally these latter people are easier to spot, but both half-truth gospels are perhaps just as bad.
Unique people and a universal Gospel
Each person is unique, each situation is unique. Nothing can be easily put neatly into a box for a ‘formulaic’ solution to presenting the gospel message. As a result, personally, I’d far prefer to be giving the complete gospel message (the full truth) – both the bad news of the Gospel – so people understand their current position with God, but also the good news – that all is not lost, and that ANYONE can genuinely come to Christ. Would you?
Steadfast truth, good news and ‘judgement’
IMHO, just looking at the state of the world certainly I would ‘judge’ the world to be a sinful place, and I think most Christians would also. So again, we find the Bible says the same thing, and is absolutely true today as it was when the words were spoken. However, the Gospel is GOOD NEWS, and with good news comes hope and love – that’s the reason for continuing to point the way to Jesus, that all might be saved. Who is actually saved and who isn’t, is not something we can ever know – but it is somewhat concerning that at least one passage in the Bible implies it will be fewer rather than many who will ultimately be saved. (Note: this is not an endorsement for the cult of the JWs and others who have built a theology upon ‘the chosen / predestined’, since clearly they have chosen themselves to ignore the fundamental issue that the Gospel is open to all who would hear and believe – I could say tons on this point alone, but I’ll leave it as sufficient for others to know, IMHO at least some of them have missed the actual truth – so close, yet so far – which is also something the Bible strongly warns about – the problems of false teachers was the same then as continuing today). The Gospel, for Christians, if anything, is a call to urgency, not complacency, in reaching out to people with Jesus’ message and the truths of the Bible.
Theology and philosophy distractions and the onward march of time – how long?
I believe, by the Holy Spirit, and by the Bible etc we can each know enough to know where we stand, and what we need to do at least for today. Sometimes, we cannot yet see the full picture, only some parts – only God can see the picture in it’s completeness. This is also a firm foundation in Jesus for faith, hope, trust and love – no need to know all the answers before accepting, and permitting faith, hope, trust and love to enter the equation. The Gospel contains man’s relationship with God without Jesus (Matthew 25:31-46) ultimately equals bad news and mans relationship with God restored in Jesus (John 3:16) = Good news at a very basic level, how long will even some Christians continue to be distracted by theology and philosophy at the expense of an on-going restored relationship with God? It is a restored relationship through Jesus that God desires, not expert theologians or indeed philosophers since God looks at the heart as well as the mind. Do you present a half-truth or the full truth of the Gospel message? or have you heard a half-truth or the full truth of the Gospel message?
A note about how we share the Gospel
This is a different subject really. Sharing the Gospel includes prayer, sensitivity, understanding and listening to the Holy Spirit to guide a person in terms of how they present the full truth of the Gospel and what to say (as opposed to a half-truth). As I said near the beginning of the post each person is unique, each situation is unique. There is no doubt that personal experience and testimony count for a lot.
Related post: The church is here to preach the gospel – but how?