In his article The Centrality of the Gospel Tim Keller explains from Galatians 2:14, “…the Christian life is a process of renewing every dimension of our life– spiritual, psychological, corporate, social–by thinking, hoping, and living out the “lines” or ramifications of the gospel. The gospel is to be applied to every area of thinking, feeling, relating, working, and behaving. The implications and applications of [life in-line with the Gospel] are vast.”
This, I believe, is a major fault of many American Christians and churches. The gospel has been misunderstood and misplaced. I am afraid (and hope I am wrong) that the concept of the gospel as being central in many churches is a more of a mirage. Here’s some reasons why I believe this…
1. Ask church goers to explain the gospel and many will stumble for words, or generalize the gospel into incomplete terms. This is why I believe it became popular to teach Christians a memorized “presentation” of the gospel. Their understanding of the gospel is absent.
2. The word “Gospel” has been trivialized or generalized. In much the same way the term “Christian” has come to be used to describe social identification, “gospel” has come to be minimized as a subculture identifier as in, for example, the field of music. Many may think they go to a gospel-centered church because they sing gospel music, for example.
3. Many are convinced that being evangelistic or seeker-sensitive means they are gospel-centered. Some preachers think that because they invite people at the end of a message to come forward and accept Jesus that they are preaching the Gospel. As a result, this has contributed to the problem.
These are not difficult traps to fall into. I have no intention to demonizing Christians and churches who fit these labels. I too have and am liable to slide into this category, but by the grace of God. Nevertheless, the consequences of these falsehoods are devastating.
So, what is the gospel? John Piper gives his explanation in this 6-minute clip.
The word “gospel” comes from a Greek word that means good news. It is the message of good news that God has sent Jesus Christ, His Son, as the only sufficient and sinless One to be punished for our sins so that by grace through faith (and only faith) in Him, we are forgiven, saved from eternal punishment, and given an eternal inheritance fit only for a child of God.”
To fully understand the Gospel, you must have an understanding of God, Humanity, Sin, and Jesus Christ: