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March 09, 2005


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There aren't two Gospels. The Gospel of Jesus that focused on serving and the Gospel of Paul that centered on the cross are the same Gospel.

Obviously, Jesus didn't talk much post-resurrection about His death on the cross and its meaning, but His Spirit certainly informed Paul.

I find these kinds of forced dichotomies to only hurt the Gospel. In fact, I just blogged about this just a few days ago Wrongly Dividing the Gospel.) Let's face it, the apologists need to improve their service and the servants need to improve their apologetics. Balance, people! Balance!

... i may differ a bit with the comment made by DLE . . . if you look at the books i am processing on my blog several authors are suggesting alternative prospectives . . . 'there are not 2 gospels [Good News]' there are many acceptable views of who Christ is . . . to disagree violates the incomprehansible nature of who God is . . . some have suggested a contextualized view exists even within the gospels themselves . . . as far as 'hurting the gospel' i'm not exactly sure what that would even look like . . . i do recognize that very real damage that this paradigm shift could have on an established orthodox mode of theological thinking and its practical trajectory . . . but the gates of hell quote applies here in my opinion . . .

it has been suggested that Christ's life can be viewed outside of substutionary . . . clearly this was the perspective of the orthodox members that apparently had the greatest levels of political influence within the early church . . . He can still be who He is outside of this model . . . it's just different than what we discuss . . . if Judaism deviated proportionally from Genesis to Mark as we see lived out in the biblical record what makes us think that we could possibly be exempt from a similar massive deviation of things spiritual? as i see it the people that Jesus reliably corrected were those who ‘knew it all’ related to spiritual things . . .

i am in a year long struggle with the idea of a valid propositional theology . . . period . . . as soon as you say something as simple as: God is Love . . . immediately controversy is created . . . if God is Love then how is it possible for a Loving God to eternally condemn? or so the arguments begin . . . somehow the scriptures need to be elevated . . . read and simply accepted for what they say and for what they are . . . there is no need with God’s economy for building a theological construct on top of that . . . just accept it for what it is . . . holy scripture . . . it seems to me that practically speaking we are all a lot like uzzah in 2 sam 6 . . . we think very little of extending our hands theological hands toward God . . . considering the filth of our own hands as negligible when compared to the filth of the earth God created when God’s presence appears to be falling . . . so we extend our hands . . . theologically . . . and uphold it with our manufactured propositions . . .

I agree with DLE that there are not two gospels, but one. But what I hear Todd doing is fighting the strong tendency to define the gospel as "substitionary atonement", period.

DLE, when you said "the Gospel of Jesus that focused on serving," I do not know if you are summarizing your own beliefs. I do think that it accurately summarizes the world's beliefs of "the pure gospel Jesus preached before it was turned into a religion about him by his followers." I think we agree that such statements are warped. This may be what you perceive Todd to be saying, but knowing his Vineyard background, that's not what I hear at all. Rather, I hear a call to explore the super-important (and often glossed-over) proclamation: "The kingdom of God is near." This is the gospel. Yes, it includes substitutionary atonement, but much, much more, in a way that strengthens the atonement, not diminishes it.

I mean no disrespect, and wasn't there to hear the original comments. But it seems fairly clear that when the Evangelists tell us Jesus preached the Gospel, "repent and believe, the kingdom has drawn near," they do not mean to exclude the rest of Jesus' preaching and teaching from the category of the Gospel Jesus preached. And Jesus certainly did use words such as cross, resurrection (or at least "be raised"), and sin quite a bit.

Besides, one cannot unpack the words "repent," "kingdom," or "believe" without reference to sin, the cross, and Christ's resurrection. Well, one can. But one shouldn't do so and expect to get a message consonant with what Scipture proclaims. Again, I mean no disrespect. But as I understand what was posted, this really is a gross oversimplification.

Peace you you!

"But it seems fairly clear that when the Evangelists tell us Jesus preached the Gospel, "repent and believe, the kingdom has drawn near," they do not mean to exclude the rest of Jesus' preaching and teaching from the category of the Gospel Jesus preached."

Evers, I agree with you. I think Todd was trying to point out how we tend to lose our grip on the simplicity of Jesus' teaching (and thus his gospel). This somewhat stands in contrast to the way the Apostle Paul presents the gospel - but Todd was quick to explain that he sees Paul, not adding to Jesus' gospel, but rather wanting to "flesh it out" so-to-speak, so that his listeners could understand the profound impact of Jesus' mission and teaching.


Thanks for your reply, and thanks for not taking offense at my comments. Simplicity and complexity, directness and depth, clarity and mystery are always in such (creative) tension. I like what Luther said about the catechism (which is quite simple: the Ten Commandments, the Apostles' Creed, the Lord's Prayer, and brief accounts of Baptism and Holy Communion): it was everything a child needed to know to be fully equipped as a Christian, and could be understood so quickly, yet he could study it his entire life and still have only scratched the surface.

Peace to you!

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