Here’s a nice and needed piece of differential critique on the increasing confusion on what the gospel of Christ actually is. It is an unnecessary confusion but is everywhere it seems. Peter Ould describes in a rant (his word) a frustration over this particular confusion. And I join him in this rant and I’m sure with him, shed tears aplenty.
The issue is actually a confusion between the gospel and some of the fruits of a life reborn through the gospel. It’s become a common mistake – a conflation, a mixing up of two things. Two things that are certainly related but are not interchangeable. Like a mother who births a child. There is this most intimate and consequential relationship but the child is never the mother. Nor the mother the child. The child issues from the mother. It exists because of it’s mother but it is not the mother. The gospel gives birth to fruits of the gospel. The fruit is not the gospel. When you share those fruits – blessings, love, support, sacrifice, justice – you share beautiful things but you have not shared the most beautiful thing – the gospel. You may have shared some of the wonderful fruits of the gospel. But the person still, according to the scriptures needs to hear the gospel, which is the power of God providing salvation.
I will be speaking about this issue again. Regaining clarity about what the gospel is and what the gospel-needs of people actually are, is one of the most urgent needs for individual christians and the Lord’s beloved church.
By the way, Peter is one of my go-to people for deep complex thinking about sexuality and what is happening in the Anglican Church regarding these matters. I’m sure we land in different places on some matters on some occasions but his care in considering these things biblically and graciously as well as his sharing of his own gospel shaped story is much appreciated. Thank you Peter. Click here to source the original from the website of Peter Ould.
Can I rant for a minute please?
I am getting increasingly annoyed by hearing people call “The Gospel” something which is patently not the Gospel. Let me give you an example by asking you a question.
Can I be saved if I am a “black” person. Patently, yes. Now, can I be saved if I am a black person who suffers racism? Of course – just because I am a victim of abuse does not mean I cannot saved. Put those two together. Is the reduction of racism “The Gospel”. No, of course not. The reduction of racism might be an outworking of a Resurrection community that understands what it truly means to recognise the Imago Dei in all humans, but it is in and of itself not the Gospel. I can live in a completely racism devoid society and still go to hell.
Can I be saved if I am a slave? Of course I can. Is my liberation from slavery “The Gospel”? No, of course not. The emancipation of those in bondage might be an outworking of a Resurrection community that understands what it truly means to recognise the Imago Dei in all humans, but it is in and of itself not the Gospel. I can live in a society with no slavery and still go to hell, and I can be born into slavery with no hope of redemption and yet know Jesus and his salvation.
Now, please go and read Galatians 3:25-29 again and remind yourself what the Gospel actually is.
But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian, for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.
Don’t ever use “the Gospel” again in a manner that contradicts Galatians 3:25-29 y’hear?