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Dr. Mark Thompson: “What is the Gospel?”

March 10, 2015

Here, from Dr. Mark Thompson, who is now Principal of Moore Theological College in Australia, is an essay on What is the Gospel?.  He begins by talking about common ideas people now have about what the Gospel is, such as “the gospel of inclusion” and “the gospel of social justice” – and then contrasts the true, Biblical gospel to these.  His concluding paragraphs will, I hope, inspire you to read the whole thing:

In a world confused by a range of different gospels and in the churches where both clarity and boldness are all too often absent, it is good from time to time to ask ourselves this most basic of questions: what is the gospel? We have no business preaching any other gospel than the one given to us by Christ and his apostles.

Sadly, the distorted but popular gospels I mentioned at the beginning all in the end underplay the seriousness of sin and how it relates to salvation. The gospel of inclusion and the gospel of unity both underestimate the Lordship of Jesus and the need to repent of our sin before him. They leave room for us simply to stay as we are or unite as we are, as if sin and error do not really matter before the one who is the risen Lord and righteous judge. The gospel of cosmic renewal and the gospel of social justice, on the other hand, displace the saving death and resurrection of Jesus from the centre and put some of the consequences arising from these events in their place.

In contrast the biblical gospel is God’s message concerning his Son and the salvation he has won for us. Paul, Christ’s apostle to the nations, put it as strongly as it needs to be put: ‘If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed’ (Gal 1.9).

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