There’s been a big push among the Reformed circle about fighting for the message of the Gospel. I think this is in response to seeing the decline in Christianity and people who follow Jesus. I suppose a natural conclusion is that if people are not following Jesus, then the gospel we’re preaching is wrong or incomplete.
I think it’s right in some sense, but I think the response is wrong in many sense.
The response has been somewhere along the lines of “the gospel is absolutely this and nothing else.” And evangelism is “absolutely this and nothing else.” I’m sorry, but I find that reductionistic, narrow, and really unhelpful.
First of all, the “gospel” which Reformed people are speaking about is spoken about as if that understanding is universal across nations and across time. I beg to differ. The good news came in so many different forms in the Gospels, I don’t see why reducing it to a formula is helpful. It’s not just atonement theology, it’s not just “we’re all dirty sinners,” it’s not just the holiness of God. All those are great but it’s…not the whole picture, nor is that picture the only way of painting it.
I personally think that what Reformed understandings fail to understand about the fight for a “true, pure, and unadulterated gospel” is that I don’t think there is a singular message which encompasses that. Yes there is a single gospel, but its presentation, nor its implications are singular.
That’s because no matter how you approach theology and reading the Bible, we will always bring our culture into our reading. As I said before, the good news was presented and impacted so many different people in the Gospels in so many different ways. And can I just say that most of those who want to pick a fight about what the gospel is and isn’t are white middle class Americans? Their understanding of the gospel is not universal and doesn’t connect with with every single person on earth. It’s not that it’s bad, it’s just that it’s not universal. Nor is it that simple.