Monday, September 29, 2008

What is the Gospel?

The other day there was a street preacher out on the corner of a busy intersection here in town. He had positioned himself in front of a gas station across from the university here. Because it was a sunny Saturday, there were people driving by, folks getting their cars washed, and college students walking by. I guess you could say he had a "captive" audience.

The problem with the audience is that it was mostly made up of people going to or from someplace. With the exception of the students who were standing around laughing and taking pictures with their cell phones, or the people waiting for their cars to be washed, his "audience" was on the move. He kept on preaching into a microphone that was connected to a large speaker on the back of a truck. Because we were going into the drug store to get a birthday card, I couldn't make out much of what the preacher was saying, although I could make out "sin", "hell", "God", and "Savior".

On Sunday the street preacher probably told his congregation that he spent a good part of the day "proclaiming the Gospel". I wondered what his definition of the Gospel is. Having grown up in churches where this type of thing would not be that uncommon, I think his definition would probably end in "go to heaven when you die", or something similar.

This is probably a simple exercise for most of you out there, but I am wondering: How would you define "the Gospel"? Is it simply believe in Jesus and go to heaven when you die? Or is there more?

Your thoughts?


Amy said...

Sigh...brimstone and fire...not Jesus' way of sharing the Good News, that's for sure.

As I was reading this blog, it reminded me of (and answers your invitation to share our ideas/thoughts) of the blogpost I wrote. It's just my personal take on this form of "preaching" the Gospel.

It was my blog posted on 8/28/08 called "Evangelism: Is It Telling or Showing."

~Amy :)

Rainer said...

"Is it simply believe in Jesus and go to heaven when you die? Or is there more?"

Definitely more. And definitely different (that is, if you believe the version of the gospel that Jesus taught).

jonathan said...

Simple exercise? I have spent the better part of 5 years on this question. What is the Gospel Forget the heaven when you die part, anyone reading your blog is going to say more. But the real question is What is the Gospel? It's not Christs death, He Himself began preaching the gospel before He ever mentioned His death. Paul talks of a Gospel of Peace, of Reconciliation, of Hope. But then we also see the Christ saying "I have come to cast fire on the earth and I wish it was already kindled." We see the Holy Spirit come to bring conviction.
So my answer is kind of a copout...or maybe not.
The Gospel is what that person needs at the moment that Truth is Presented. For some they need the Good News of Hope, others truly need the Good News of a right assessment of where they are. In sin. Others need the good news of a King and His Kingdom.
But once's a hard question.

co_heir said...

Amy, good post. I grew up in churches that did "hit and run" evangelism. I always wondered how many people really came to faith in Jesus.

Rainer, yeah, it's definitely more and different.

Jonathan, sometimes the tough questions are the ones we learn the most from. I'd never heard it presented the way you did, but I think you're onto something there. The Gospel is whatever good news the person needs from God at that particular time.

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