Gospel – what and why

In response to a recent presentation of the gospel, someone responded, “That was good, but I’ve never heard it explained that way before.” You might find it surprising that on the one hand I value presenting nothing more than the original message, while on the other hand his comment did not surprise me.

The typical gospel presentation is clear, concise and accurate. We learn Jesus can save us. It instructs us how we need to respond to Christ. People need to hear this message.

When a presentation of the gospel is combined with explanatory power, it can resolve the questions of the curious as well as dissolve the harpoons of its detractors. When Jesus established a memorial for his death, why did he speak of a covenant? What does Jesus’ story have to do with the rest of scripture? Why are we called to respond to Christ with baptism?

Continue reading “Gospel – what and why”

The Essential Outline: Less Basic Not Unnecessary

Read the first two installments of “The Essential Outline:” (1) The Main Points, (2) The Bottom Line.

After exploring its main points and considering what those mean to us, we acknowledge that Romans 1:2-4 is still a bare outline. If it weren’t, Paul would not have needed to write further. But thanks be to God we have the whole book of Romans!

We should remember that an outline is just that, an outline. A summary touches the high points, but doesn’t include all that needs to be said. Comparing this summary with that of 1 Corinthians 15:3-8, we discover to our shock that Paul has different talking points in these two. That’s because each summary is conditioned to the moment. Continue reading “The Essential Outline: Less Basic Not Unnecessary”

The Essential Outline: The Bottom Line

Read the first installment, “The Essential Outline: The Main Points.”

If Barclay is right that Romans 1:2-4 is a “most essential outline” of the gospel, what do these main points have to say to us?

1. God is unwavering in his plan of salvation. And when he says something, be sure he will do it. Don’t tell us he might change his mind at the end. That’s human thinking, it’s what people do, not God. The holy Scriptures are the touchstone for saints, the guiding star for disciples, the open door into the heart and presence of God. Discerning believers praise it as the word of God. Continue reading “The Essential Outline: The Bottom Line”