When I was young, I was trained to present the gospel in basic terms: all it took was a napkin and a black pen! A doodled stick figure at the edge of a cliff faced an impassable canyon of sin, with God on the other side. Christ’s cross was the solution to the dilemma, scrawled on the napkin to bridge the chasm between God and man, providing for a restored relationship and eternal life.
This simple explanation represents well the key elements of the gospel message: our sin, Christ’s death and resurrection, grace, and eternal life. But what do we lose if that’s all we see, if we live mostly by this transactional gospel? I believe that, like that ink-drawn napkin, we end up living a black and white faith. What if the gospel is inviting us, instead, into a vibrant, full-color life of faith?
At Christianity Today, we are championing a cause we call Beautiful Orthodoxy. We aim to communicate the depth and breadth of the true, good, and beautiful gospel.
In Scripture and in Christ himself, we come to know theological truth. We are called to embody God’s goodness. And through his grace and glory, we’re invited to experience and share God’s beauty. When we view life through the gospel-lens, our eyes are opened to its vibrant color—to beauty in the arts, in God’s created world, and in every human person. Indeed these three strands of truth, goodness, and beauty are the essential elements weaving through a gospel-shaped life.
Yet often we emphasize one of these threads to the neglect of the others (and to our own detriment). For example, a truth-heavy Christian life, full of good theology, may yet make us prideful and devoid of joy. A goodness-focused Christian life may ...1
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