I should like to speak specifically on the question “What is the Gospel?” There is much confusion today among Christian people about this. It is a generalization, and subject to a great deal of qualification.
Perhaps I should begin by saying that all possible points of view relative to the Gospel, or the way of salvation, may be divided into two groups. All religions outside the Christian faith can be classified as those which teach salvation by works. Whatever else may be said about them, this one tie binds them together, whether the works be ritualistic, sacrificial, or moral.
In contrast, the Christian faith holds to salvation by grace. It believes the Gospel to be the good news that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, died on the cross, bearing substitutionally our sins and the sins of the whole world; that he was buried; and that he also rose again as proof of his triumph over the grave, finished character of his work, and his true Sonship of God. The Gospel plainly stated then, is that a person can be saved for all eternity by simply putting his trust in Jesus Christ.
When one asks, in talking to people, “What is the Gospel?” one gets a variety of answers. I had occasion years ago to examine an ordained minister who was a graduate of theological seminary. I asked him the question, “What is the Gospel?”, and I was amazed to see him fumble, stall, and finally misquote Acts 16:31. This is more typical, unfortunately, than the exception. Were one to take a hundred people at random today, there probably would not be five who could explain what the Gospel is. Even people who go to church with some regularity are confused.
In personal work it is almost invariably true that if one is discussing what it means to be a Christian, or how ...1
Already a CT subscriber? Log in for full digital access.
Have something to add about this? See something we missed? Share your feedback here.
Subscribe to Christianity Today and get access to this article plus 65+ years of archives.
- Home delivery of CT magazine
- Complete access to articles on ChristianityToday.com
- Over 120 years of magazine archives plus full access to all of CT’s online archives
- Learn more