In considering the question, “What is the Gospel,” I’m thinking on the following:
Does the Gospel have “parts?” ~ Are there components, aspects, or elements? Is the Gospel taken from a subset of data different from “non-gospel” data? When I say “non-gospel,” I’m not speaking of “anti-gospel,” but those things typically considered biblical, but not part of the Gospel message. If there are parts, i’m not referring to the pink goo of processed gospel parts that seem to be so prevalent in today’s Christian culture.
Are all the things that Christ said we are to teach others to obey (Matthew 28:19,20) part of the Gospel or are those commands of a “different sort?” ~ In each case where “the Gospel” is defined, it appears to be made of some very specific components. In fact, I have not seen the Gospel, presented or defined, by the sum total of Christ’s commands. How one breaks this down will have a lot to do with how they approach evangelism and discipleship. It is thought and practiced that by Evangelism (The Sharing of the Gospel), we “to lead people to Christ.” Then by discipleship, we “keep people in Christ.” I am uncomfortable with that kind of distinction.
How much bad news is in the Good News? ~ It would seem contradictory that there is some bad news within the Gospel, but I don’t think we can totally escape that idea either. Most would say that one is predicated on the other. You can not have Good News without knowing that there is bad news and what that bad news is.
Finally, a point of clarification. There is a trend in the church today to say that “Jesus is the Gospel.” While that is completely true, it is an incomplete phrase, thought, and truth. The Gospel is both the God-Man AND the God-Message. We can not put asunder what God has joined together and still cal it the Gospel.
Jesus said, “If you abide in ME and MY WORDS in you…