[We are] not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. (Romans 1:16)

Friday, June 29, 2007

NT themes

by HK Flynn

Jeremy Myers, of GES fame but who has a great new blog, wrote an article for the last Journal called The Gospel is More Than “Faith Alone in Christ Alone,” where he states something very intriguing,

“[i]t can easily be proved from Scripture that the gospel is more than faith alone in Christ alone. Much more.

…It includes everything from the ‘eschatological expectation, the proclamation of the kingdom of God, … the introduction of the gentiles into salvation history, the rejection of the ordinary religion of cult and Law.’”
(The quote he uses here is from an article called “euangelion” by Freidrich, from Kittel.)

Jeremy's article has a lot of helpful detail. He shows that there are either multiple gospel messages (about future reign and present empowerment for instance) or better, that there is one broad NT gospel which covers a lot of territory. Very helpfully, he includes a chart that demonstrates 50 truths, with some overlap, that the NT includes in the definition of the gospel: Jesus born in Bethlehem (Luke 2:10), Mary’s virgin conception (Luke 1:19), the coming baptism of the Holy Spirit (Luke 3:18) Entering God’s Rest (Hebrews 4:2) Sufferings of Christ (1 Peter 1:10), etc. The article and the chart are worth reading through.

For a while now I’ve been mulling over what the relationship is between the gospel, and the offer of eternal life, and the call to discipleship, and the New Covenant, with the hope of getting a more crisp definition of each element. So in that spirit, the following definitions are tentative and I’ve included scripture more as examples than evidence…

(1) The New Covenant is the eternal promise made by God to Israel that enables and empowers the kingdom.

Therefore he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance (Hebrews 9)

Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. (Hebrews 13)
(2) The Offer of Eternal Life is how the kingdom is populated. (Basically a rephrase of what Hodges says)

"Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God." John 3
(3) The Gospel is the announcement of the arrival and future arrival of the kingdom or some aspect of it.

In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah when he said, "The voice of one crying in the wilderness: 'Prepare the way of the Lord; make his paths straight.'" (Matthew 3)
(4) The Call to Discipleship is how to live in it.

And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said: "Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. (Luke 6)
(5) The Call to Repentance is how to launch or reenter a kingdom-ready lifestyle.

Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, and saying, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel." (Mark 1)

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  • Hey Jodie,

    It is great to see you posting again.

    I really enjoyed your thoughts here. These definitions are crisp and I appreciate them. I especially liked how you defined repentance as "how to launch or re-enter a kingdom ready lifestyle".


    The rest are good also. I would, however, like to think about how you defined the gospel. Maybe you can do a post on that alone, or do a series on all of them!

    Although there is much to commmend the idea that the gospel is very broad, I haven't been persuaded that way. I am more tending toward the idea that there are different good news messages for different things.

    I think it would be good for you to develop your ideas here.

    I think you have done a great job!


    By Blogger Antonio, at Wednesday, June 27, 2007 9:14:00 PM  

  • This is really good and makes a lot of sense! Thanks!

    By Blogger Andrew, at Thursday, June 28, 2007 1:38:00 AM  

  • I am with Andrew - this is really good and so thought provoking. It makes me want to sit down and read through the NT right now with a few differently colored highlighters. ;~)

    Where have you been?

    By Blogger Rose~, at Thursday, June 28, 2007 8:35:00 AM  

  • I think the Gospel is more broad than people think.

    I think Mark Pierson, the writer formely known ad Bluecollar might be interested in some of the comments here about the kingdom.

    God Bless


    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Friday, June 29, 2007 11:54:00 AM  

  • Jodie, good to see you back!

    I'm having a terrible time with my internet now, so I won't leave my thoughts for fear it will drop them.

    Good food for thought here. Thank you.

    By Blogger mark pierson, at Saturday, June 30, 2007 6:58:00 AM  

  • Hi Antonio,

    Glad you enjoyed the post and I think that would be a great idea to flesh out some of this, especially the gospel. I used to agree with what you're saying here and then probably through mostly women's intuition jumped into the Gospel as broad message category. So yeah it'll be fun to do more on that...

    Thanks Andrew! Both for visiting and commenting & agreeing most of all that's the important part!!

    Hey Rose:-)

    Good to see ya :)

    I've been swamped with somethings that have been a drag on even reading theology etc (let alone blogging on ideas that I would usually come across naturally)

    My aunt in Cleveland had two strokes and I've been acting on her behalf, as her power of attorney. It's been sort of discouraging. Please pray for her. She did put her faith in the Lord, praise God! Pray that she would lean on Him and that I would have wisdom on her finances and house.

    But I've been flying over your Toledo neighborhood en route from Chicago to Cleveland!! You're so tiny!!

    By Blogger H K Flynn, at Saturday, June 30, 2007 3:34:00 PM  

  • Hi Matthew,

    I regret bcommenting on your always facinating blog and than not sticking around for discussion...

    About the gospel it seems like Paul's comment that there is only one Gospel supports a broad message that can't be distorted easier than a series of good news messages.


    Sorry you're having trouble with your internet connection. Welcome to my world! Though now we have a depndable connection, though it isn't as fast as before...

    God bless!

    By Blogger H K Flynn, at Saturday, June 30, 2007 3:42:00 PM  

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