“In general, I don’t think we’ve done a good job at developing ways of communicating the gospel that include both salvation from wrath by propitiation and the restoration of all things. Today, writing accessible presentations of the gospel should not be the work of marketers but the work of our best theologians.” Tim Keller, The Gospel and the Supremacy of Christ in a Postmoderd World (pg. 111)
If I had to sum up in a short sentence what one of my great passions and drives are in preaching and teaching the first line of this Keller quote would suffice. My desire in my local body is to communicate the gospel in a way that includes both a clear presentation of how Jesus graciously saves us from the wrath of God by propitiation, and as well how his death and resurrection bring about the restoration of all things.
We all follow the Jesus of our perceptions, if he’s a Jesus without the scares of Calvary things like violence and suffering in our life and in the world around us begin to be foreign and irreconcialble to the biblical drama of redemption. If he’s a Jesus who only bares the scares of Calvary, but has little to no connection to the promises of the prophets who were looking ahead to a great King to come, then the scope of his work becomes narrowed to only individualistic and other-worldly cares. But if he’s the Jesus of Calvary, and the Messianic King of Zion then the gospel really was good news yesterday and is good news today, tomorrow, and for the rest of eternity.
The scope of the message of the gospel extends to man in his relationship to God, man in his relationship to himself, man in his relationship to his neighbor, and man in his relationship to creation. If that isn’t abundantly clear in how we speak about the good news, then we’re missing much of the glad tidings Paul carried to the cities of the ancient world, and won’t be able to present the gospel as glad tidings to the cities of our world.
Its a tragedy when the gospel is treated as something we recieve to enter our life with God and not something that remains as relevant and needed each moment of our life with God. But its also a tragedy when the gospel is presented in terms only interested with our individual lives with God and not the world, and creation around us…
When you communicate the gospel do you do so in such a way that people are left with the impression that Jesus’ birth, life, death, resurrection, ascension, and return have an individual and cosmic scope to them? How do you communicate the gospel???
(Photographic art by Iguana Jo, piece entitled “One Dat at the Theatre“)