Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Can One "Live the Gospel"?

In his excellent book Gospel-Centered Hermeneutics, Graeme Goldsworthy makes the following assertion (p. 59):
It cannot be stressed too much that to confuse the gospel with certain important things that go hand in hand with it is to invite theological, hermeneutical and spiritual confusion. Such ingredients of preaching and teaching that we might want to link with the gospel would include the need for the gospel (sin and judgment), the means of receiving the benefits of the gospel (faith and repentance), the results or fruit of the gospel (regeneration, conversion, sanctification, glorification) and the results of rejectingit (wrath, judgment, hell). These, however we define and proclaim them, are not in themselves the gospel. If something is not what God did in and through the historical Jesus tow thousand years ago, it is not the gospel. Thus Christians cannot 'live the gospel' as they are often exhorted to do. They can only believe it, proclaim it and seek to live consistently with it. Only Jesus lived (and died) the gospel. It is a once-for-all finished and perfect event done for us by another.
I am profoundly indebted to Goldsworthy for many things, but I must confess to finding myself disagreeing with this statement. I think I understand what Goldsworthy is trying to affirm: the rootedness of the gospel in the actions of Jesus. On that I agree. But can we really say that we do not live the good news of Jesus Christ? Or have I become accustomed to the language of "living the gospel" when in reality the idea is not strictly biblical? Or is Goldsworthy splitting hairs that on one level may be valuable but on other levels are unnecessary?

21 comments:

Bryan C. McWhite said...

There may be some hair-splitting being done here, but my sense on this one is that Goldsworthy is probably spot on. Maybe a good way to reframe the question would be: What do you mean when you say that we ought to "live the gospel"? Unless I am mistaken, our answer will include all sorts of things that are, in fact, actually entailments of the gospel.

I don't know what "live the gospel" means unless I speak about the entailments of the gospel. Perhaps this is why Paul chooses to speak of the shape of Christian living in such terms as Phil. 1:27: "Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ..."

Them is my two pennies.

jps said...

Matt,

I agree with you; Goldsworthy is wrong here. We can indeed live the gospel, since the gospel is the good news that God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself. Of course, if he chooses to define the gospel differently, then all bets are off.

Welcome back :)

James

danny2 said...

but how do i LIVE the message that "God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself?" without words?

i think a good example is marriage. ephesians 5 asserts that our marriage should be a good gospel illustration to the world...the real mystery is Christ and the Church.

but i don't believe being the best Christian husband in the world would trump romans 10...they still got to hear the Word of Christ.

now certainly, our sanctification is part of the gospel (read carefully, i did not say part of our justification...but justification, sanctification and glorification are all part of the gospel process in our lives...it is truly good news that God sanctifies His elect!), but i cannot convince myself that my lifestyle alone is proclaiming the gospel.

at the risk of offending many people, i scratch my head at the francis of assissi quote, "preach the gospel, when necessary use words." i think i know what he's trying to get at, but that's been hijacked to mean something entirely different.

i have to open my mouth and declare the work of Christ for it to be considered a gospel proclamation. my life can testify as to the change, but the change itself cannot testify to the gospel alone.

Dale Harris said...

If the gospel consists only in facts about the historical Jesus and his work 2,000 years ago, then Goldsworthy is indeed 'spot on.'

However, I believe that assertion is big-time off base. The gospel consists of SO MUCH MORE than just facts about the historical Jesus. In fact, since some entailments of the gospel are by nature necessary entailments (as we say, no justification without sanctification), these become gospel-centeric issues.

If the gospel is only facts about Jesus, why do both 2 Thessalonians 1:8 and 1 Peter 4:17 speak about "those who don't obey the gospel"? Mere salvific/historical facts cannot be obeyed. They are simply true assertions. Why would Philippians tell us to "work out our salvation with fear and trembling"? This is not to suggest that salvation comes about by anything other than grace alone through faith alone. It is, however, to suggest that the gospel is much broader than facts to which we call people to mentally assent. It is to suggest that the gospel permeates every area of life. It is to suggest that the term 'gospel' or 'good news' is broad enough to include the good news of transformation that God is currently working in the lives of regenerate people so that his glory might be spread more broadly throughout the world.

I agree with your gut feel. Goldsworthy totally missed the boat on this one.

Bryan C. McWhite said...

Wow, good discussion.

I'm trying to read these comments carefully and sympathetically, however, and I keep coming back to the same question: "What do you mean when you say that we "live the gospel." I completely agree, Dale, that the gospel is not only a series of true historical events to be believed, but that it is also about what Christ has done, is doing, and will do to "bring me to God" (1 Pet 3:18).

Still, Dale (I think I would ask the rest this same question), what do you mean when you say that we must "obey the gospel" (2 Thess 1:8 and 1 Pet 4:!7)? I think that your answer to that question will always be an entailment of the gospel. Also, it seems to me that "working out our salvation" is an entailment of the gospel. Namely, the good news that God "works in us both to will and to work for his good pleasure."

Maybe I'm missing something here, but I would like to hear someone actually articulate this. When you say, "live the gospel" what do you mean? In the context of my marriage for example, what would it mean to "live the gospel"? I'm very open to correction, here, if someone can tell me what that means without talking about an entailment of the gospel ala Phil. 1:27.

danny2 said...

i agree bryan, i don't think it can be done.

as for marriage (since i brought that example up), i don't think i can live the gospel in my marriage (dying to pay the penalty of my wife's sin and giving her my righteousness), though our marriage can certainly be gospel impacted (as each of us experiences sanctification) and a gospel model (as i seek to protect, serve, sacrifice and seek her sanctification through the ministry of the Word) to the world.

however, it only becomes a gospel proclamation when i verbally profess what Christ has done (1 Cor 15).

Marty said...

Hello all,

Good discussion. Matt, thanks for pointing this out. When I read through that section, I highlighted it and wrote “yes” in the margin. For, I agree with Dale and Bryan’s assessment.

I thought again about this idea this morning after reading Gordon Cheng's latest post (http://www.matthiasmedia.com.au/chn/archives/003907.php). Revelation 14:6-7 says that the eternal gospel is about lordship and judgment. So, to push further on Bryan and Dale's questions, "How would you live judgment and lordship?"

On splitting hairs. I guess the implications are far too important to only see this as a question of semantics. For, as Dale just pointed out, only proclaiming the message of salvation is the power of God for such salvation. My good works, done in response to the reality of the gospel, save no one. My good works can open doors and validate the message I proclaim. They even give glory to my Father in heaven. But they save no one in themselves. Such a view that one can “live” or “do” the gospel leads to something of what Francis of Assissi said (above). Far too many think that living a life of good works is proclaiming the gospel when it isn’t. And this is why Goldsworthy’s point is important.

In other words, good works are not self-interpreting to the world. Even Jesus' work on the cross wasn't self-interpreting. Jim Packer's famous phrase "the Bible is an interpretation" is noteworthy here. Jesus' death would mean nothing unless it was accompanied by a God-given interpretation of what it meant. So, Paul in 1 Corinthians says "Christ died [historical event] for sins [God-given interpretation]”. To suggest that one can “live” the gospel is to suggest that one’s good works are self-interpreting and salvific at the same time. I doubt any believe that.

And this is exactly what Goldy is saying – the God-given interpretation of one man’s good work brings salvation to those who believe in that one man and trust in that work for their salvation. Just prior to where Matt picked up is his quote on what the gospel is:

The gospel is the event (or the proclamation of that event) of Jesus Christ that begins with his incarnation and earthly life, and concludes with his death, resurrection and ascension to the right hand of the father. This historical event is interpreted by God and his preordained programme for the salvation of the world. (pg 58, emphasis added)

So, James is right in pointing out that the real discussion is on whether or not this definition of the gospel is correct or not.

Matt Harmon said...

Let me echo the comments of others on the quality of the discussion thus far. I am enjoying it immensely.

I see at least several different issues floating within the comments thus far.

1. Can/should the term "gospel" be limited to the historical actions of God in Christ and their divine interpretation as recorded in Scripture?

2. What is the relationship between the verbal proclamation of the gospel and the actions of the believer?

3. When people say "live the gospel" what do they mean? (thanks, Bryan, for pressing on this question!)

I haven't done it yet, but I think that I would want to trace out in Scripture how the term "gospel" is used to establish a provisional semantic domain that would begin to answer this question.

Bryan, you threw out Phil 1:27. Let me also throw Gal 2:14 into the mix: "when I saw that their conduct was not in step with the truth of the gospel" (ESV). The Greek here is not easy to render, but does the fact that Paul speaks of walking in step with the TRUTH of the gospel lend support to Bryan's contention?

Here's a related question: is it accurate to speak of a "gospel-pattern of life"? Here I have in mind something along the lines of Gal 6:2 - "Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ." Of course, I may have just introduced another whole discussion on what the "law of Christ" refers to :)

Just stoking the fire a bit...

Bryan C. McWhite said...

Always happy to stir the pot a bit.

As to your comment about Gal. 2:14, Matt... Well, let me just have a look at the Greek Bible you taught me to read (I shall never tire of reminding you of this fact [any comments on the Greek text that may follow are the sole responsibility of Bryan C. McWhite and are in no way a reflection on Dr. Harmon's teaching facility]).

Yes, Gal. 2:14 is a compelling place to locate this discussion. Paul views Peter's actions as "out of step" (ouk orthopodousin) with the gospel. If I understand the passage correctly, this is precisely because Peter's way of "walking" is actually a compromise of the gospel itself. In other words, one can confirm or deny the gospel by the way in which one "walks."

That being said, I doubt whether jps and Dale would disagree. Surely these guys agree that there are, in fact, implications to the gospel. The question is whether the gospel itself can be "walked" or not. I still think we're probably splitting hairs, and that jps and Dale are saying the same things I am saying. Where we disagree is that I simply think it is nonsensical to speak of "living the gospel." Rather, we are to live in step with the gospel.

Good stuff, Dr. Matt. Cute picture on the Grace Sem site, by the way. Everyone should have a look: http://www.grace.edu/grace/seminary/faculty-staff.htm

Dale Harris said...

I'm enjoying this topic, even though we're probably just splitting hairs. The conversation has been thought provoking and helpful.

I think Matt helpfully distilled the topic at hand into 3 main questions, which I'll try to tackle in turn. In doing so, I'll also be forced to address Bryan's excellent question.

1. Limited gospel (only referring to historical facts and Scripture's interpretation of said facts)?

This, to me, is a 2-sided coin. On one side, we see passages like 1 Corinthians 15:3-4, that basically summarize the gospel message in a core group of facts about Jesus. The verbs in there are "died, buried, raised, appeared." Paul says these facts are "of first importance" (interesting since I rarely hear mention of post-resurrection appearances in basic gospel presentations).
Side 1 Summary: We can legitimately speak about 'the gospel' as the core historical facts about Jesus' substitutionary atonement.

On the other side are the verses I mentioned earlier, verses that talk about 'obeying the gospel.' Without diving too deeply into the meaning of that phrase, I think we can all agree that there is some pragmatic function to the gospel message, some necessary outworking in our lives that proves its salvific effect.
Side 2 Summary: By demonstrating the gospel's effect on our lives, we obey it.

2. Relationship between verbal proclamation and believers' actions?

The talk without the walk is hypocrisy. The walk without the talk is moralism. The walk plus the talk is genuine Christianity. I think we all agree there.

Yet in true chicken vs. egg style, we like to debate which comes first and which is more important.

I think both are important. In Corinth, Paul resolved to know nothing except the gospel facts (1 Cor. 2:1-5). To the Ephesian elders, Paul appealed to the example of his manner of living (Acts 20). Our actions can be the impetus that leads unbelievers to salvation (Matthew 5:16, 1 Peter 2:12). In those latter two cases, the unbelievers will glorify God because they see our good deeds. Yet, at the same time, Paul tells Timothy to "preach the Word" (2 Timothy 4:2) and Peter says we should always be ready with an answer about the reason for our hope (1 Peter 3:15).

I would argue that we must allow these texts to exist in beautiful paradox (not contradiction). The Matthew 5 and 1 Peter 2 passage make no mention about verbal presentation of gospel realities. Yet the 1 Peter 3 and 2 Timothy 4 (and probably other) passages make no mention of personal example.

Let's stay focused on what we can know for sure. God saves sinners through the death of Jesus Christ on the cross as they respond in faith to that gift of grace. However, Scripture does not prescribe THE ONE AND ONLY model of salvation that we must use in every instance of evangelism. Rather, we see in Acts men and women following the Spirit's lead and sharing Christ in different ways. We see Philip taking a eunuch through passages in Isaiah. We see Peter walking Jewish people through different and varied OT Scriptures. We see Paul chiding Stoic and Epicurean philosophers, citing general revelation truths already known in their secular communities. Each time, people were truly regenerated. Each time, the process was a bit different.

God can use factual gospel presentations to save people. God can use the good deeds of his people to stimulate others to repent. Knowing when to act and when to speak comes about by leading of God's Spirit, who will give us the words to say when we need them (Matthew 10:19-20, taking a general principle from a specific context about receiving the words to say in court cases). Yet to deny or denigrate either method of evangelism is to put ourselves or some theological system above God's Word, which gives credence to both methods.

3. Live the Gospel? What does that mean?

I'm probably not the best to comment on this, because I've never used this phrase (to the best of my knowledge). I have used phrases like 'live it out,' 'model the gospel,' etc.

When I hear the phrase, I think of people demonstrating the truth of the gospel by showing its transformational power at work in their lives.

Also, since I believe the gospel message is holistic (it doesn't stop at the point of salvation), I believe 'living the gospel' would mean allowing the gospel to more and more reach its potential in one's life. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says that everyone in Christ is a new creation, the old being gone and the new now present. I think, from that, we can deduce that the work of God in my life to make me a new creation is a gospel work, even though it is ongoing after the initial point of regeneration. So to live the gospel is to live out its post-regeneration effects.

However, as I think about it, I'd probably prefer to say 'live out the gospel' instead of 'live the gospel.' The main reason for that is because we want to keep side 1 from above (the essential facts about the historical Jesus as garnered from 1 Corinthians 15:3-4) as uncluttered as possible.

Anyway, those are my thoughts.

Bob said...

Dear Matt,

Thank you for your blog -- I have recently begun "tuning in" (thanks to Justin Taylor's Between Two Worlds), and I appreciate your approach of inviting dialogue.

In response to your question of "Living the Gospel", I hope you'll forgive my long text. I'm working my way through Goldsworthy's Gospel and Kingdom (biblical theology beginner), and I wonder if a rather long quote from that book may shed light (but please let me know if I'm off base)? Goldsworthy states in the first chapter:

"To understand the whole living process of redemptive history in the Old Testament we must recognize two basic truths. The first is that salvation history is a process. The second is that this process of redemptive history finds its goal, its focus and fulfillment in the person and work of Christ. This is the principle underlying this book."

He then explains his assertion, and its purpose:

"Failure to grasp this truth -- largely because the proper study of the Old Testament has been neglected, has aided and abetted one of the most unfortunate reversals in evangelical theology. The core of the gospel, the historical facts of what God did in Christ, is often down-graded today in favour of a more mystical emphasis on the private spiritual experience of the individual. Whereas faith in the gospel is essentially acceptance of, and commitment to, the declaration that God acted in Christ some two thousand years ago on our behalf, saving faith is often portrayed nowadays more as trust in what God is doing in us now. Biblical ideas such as 'the forgiveness of sins' or 'salvation' are interpreted as primarily describing a Christian's personal experience. But when we allow the whole Bible -- Old and New Testaments -- to speak to us, we find that those subjective aspects of the Christian life which are undoubtedly important -- the new birth, faith and sanctification -- are the fruits of the gospel. This gospel, while still relating to individual people at their point of need, is rooted and grounded in the history of redemption. It is the good news about Jesus, before it can become good news for sinful men and women. Indeed, it is only as the objective (redemptive-historical) facts are grasped that the subjective experience of the individual Christian can be understood."

In this light, could Goldsworthy be asserting that, when a preacher defines "gospel" as Goldsworthy does, it will run throughout his hermeneutical practice. This in turn would help safeguard against preaching a gospel that the non-believer (and perhaps the believer) could mistake for personal, mystical experience, with lesser (or no) priority placed on Christ's death and resurrection as an historical event that God performed. If this is the basis of Goldsworthy's assertion, then he has laid out a critical and intensely practical mindset for preachers and evangelists today, which would seem to be more than hair-splitting, in my estimation.

Examples I can think of from our culture, of the need for this safeguard might include the post-modern tendency (in my limited understanding) to reject propositional truth; and perhaps at the extreme, New Age thinking, which uses phrases like "Christ consciousness", but wants nothing to do with the gospel in the person and work of Jesus Christ.

May the Lord bless your efforts to help us all think clearly, so that we might better understand the truth of His written Word, and most importantly, that we might know Christ our Lord and Savior more deeply!

Respectfully, in Him,
Bob Taepke

Matt Harmon said...

Thanks all for commenting. I have benefited from the discussion immensely.

To ask a related question: if we are going to eschew the language of "living the gospel" is it still accurate to speak of "the gospel-centered" or "gospel-driven" life?

On the one hand this may seem like wrangling over words, but I know there is an ideal (i.e., that the gospel shapes/determines how we live) that we want to embrace while at the same time speaking of that ideal in a way that is faithful to Scripture.

Anonymous said...

I haven't read all of this and I am not a pastor. God sent His son Jesus. Receiving eternal life is receiving Jesus (period)whose death on the cross paid for our sins. There is no reason to mix living the Christian life with receiving life. Jesus was God, we will never be God; therefore we will always be imperfect until God changes us in Heaven. In the meantime, it is the Holy Spirit who will lead us, in essense grow us up, then we will be able to better live the Christian life because we want to. None will live the Christian life perfectly here. We will do a lot better here if we keep our eyes on Jesus and tell others about Jesus instead of trying to be "good". You see God never sees us apart from the blood of God. So the gospel is not about our goodness but God'great love and sacrifice for us.

Anonymous said...

sorry, said it wrong, so please correct - God never sees us apart from the blood of God. Change to - God never sees us apart from the blood of Jesus once we receive "Jesus" as our Lord and Savior.

Our Catholic Family said...

I wasn`t going to comment until I reached annons comments.

I think you are flat out wrong. We do NOT need to wait until heaven to be transformed. Our transformation is what gives crediability to Jesus Christ and what he did on the cross. There is no need for such a sacrifice if we have to wait until we die to be transformed.

We are to be a doorway for Christ to work through us so that others may be changed - saved. I believe this transformation - living the gospel - is a call to reconciliation. Intimacy with Christ. He is to be the lover of our soul. Once we allow this to happen and have an intimate relationship with him we cannot help but to be transformed.

In my humble opinion the Christian church is attacked today like no other time becase we fail to be transformed. We fail to toil and build that intimate relationship with us. We have failed to let him work through us.

joshuajoseph said...

Here's my exegesis:

2 Thess 1:8 mention «obeying» the Gospel – which is how the NIV, NASB, ESV, KJ, etc, renders uJpakou/ousin. Nonetheless, how can you obey the Gospel proclamation – an indicative – Jesus has lived the perfect life, he died and rose again; hence, the controversy. Can we turn the Gospel into an imperative that we must obey?

Hupakouo – can also be rendered «to hear to listen» This is probably a more accurate rendering considering the context.

Looking at the following verse after 2 Thess 1:8, I noticed that those who do not hupakouo the Gospel ..«will pay the penalty of eternal destruction …» If we render it «obey», then people will go to hell for not doing something – then we must throw out justification by faith alone through Christ alone – and our RC, NPP counterparts and many others would be right in saying we need to be obedient to be justified. However, if we render it hearing in light of Rom 10:17 «faith comes from hearing» and if we define faith as «resting and receiving» then I think we can say that hupakouo in the verses means hearing and putting our faith (that is, resting and receiving) in the work of Christ which is of course the Gospel. This rendering makes sense because those who do not hear and believe in the Gospel will perish.

joshuajoseph said...

The prooftexts the live-the-Gospel proponents would use to support their view would be Phil 1:27 and Gal 2:14.

In regard to this matter I would side with Graeme Goldsworthy (For those of you who disagree with Goldsworthy need to first of all respect the man – he’s not just some average Christian Joe, he’s one of the finest theologians of our time – and secondly read his books. Most of you will probably change your mind after you do so.) Just to set the context again, in his book Gospel-Centered Hermeneutics, he makes the following statement (p. 59):

It cannot be stressed too much that to confuse the gospel with certain important things that go hand in hand with it is to invite theological, hermeneutical and spiritual confusion. Such ingredients of preaching and teaching that we might want to link with the gospel would include the need for the gospel (sin and judgment), the means of receiving the benefits of the gospel (faith and repentance), the results or fruit of the gospel (regeneration, conversion, sanctification, glorification) and the results of rejecting it (wrath, judgment, hell). These, however we define and proclaim them, are not in themselves the gospel. If something is not what God did in and through the historical Jesus tow thousand years ago, it is not the gospel. Thus Christians cannot 'live the gospel' as they are often exhorted to do. They can only believe it, proclaim it and seek to live consistently with it. Only Jesus lived (and died) the gospel. It is a once-for-all finished and perfect event done for us by another.

To support my opposition of the concept of” living the gospel,” I will start with phil 1:27. Here, politeu/esqe can be rendered «to live» or «live as a citizen» and aÓxi÷wß can be rendered «fittingly». Thus my exegesis of the passage in the context of the passage would be «live fittingly or in a manner that is worthy of a citizen of the Gospel of Christ» or «live in a manner worthy of one who has believed the Gospel of Christ». As Goldsworthy said we can only believe and proclaim it. We can only proclaim Christ and Him crucified, not live Christ and Him crucified. Once we believe this Gospel message, through Christ's work, we become citizens of God's Kingdom. Since we are citizens of God's Kingdom, we behave and live in a manner fittingly of a citizen. Case in point: I, as a good Canadian citizen, would be peace-loving and cheer for Team Canada in the Olympics – a lifestyle and behavior fitting of - the fact/indicative - that I'm a Canadian. My American friends who are all good American citizen, would be patriotic and ridicule us Canadians (as all my American friends have done) any chance they can get - j/k . These are behaviors/actions that verify our citizenship!

joshuajoseph said...

Gal. 2:14
This passage, despite the living-the-gospel folk's interpretation, I think is clear just by reading the English. «When I saw that they were not acting in line with the truth of the gospel” In other words, acting in a manner of someone who has received the Gospel, such as Peter and Paul. In other words we act in line with the message of the Gospel truth (an indicative), not live the Gospel. Considering that «truth of the gospel» is in this verse, we cannot render it «living the truth» because the truth is the Gospel – the proclamation that God has come to us veiled in Christ to rescue us (both Jew and Gentile) from sin, death, and hell.

The context (vs. 11-13) helps verify this interpretation as well:

When Peter came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he was clearly in the wrong. Before certain men came from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles. But when they arrived, he began to draw back and separate himself from the Gentiles because he was afraid of those who belonged to the circumcision group. The other Jews joined him in his hypocrisy, so that by their hypocrisy even Barnabas was led astray.

Here we see Peter not acting in line with the Gospel message that God has saved a remnant of every nation, tribe, language and people. That is why Paul in the same letter in the following chapter says, “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 neither male nor 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 (Gal. 3:26-29). This promise – the Gospel- was given to Abraham in God’s grace (vs. 18 and Gen. 12, 15, 17, 22). Hence in light of the Gospel promise, Peter’s action of separating himself from the Gentile was in direct violation of the Gospel promise.

Why is this discussion critical? Some may say we are splitting hairs here but we have to understand that only the Gospel saves (sola gratia, sola fide, solo Christo). If this is true then we need to understand what the Gospel is. Is the Gospel all Jesus' work or do we contribute to the Gospel, thereby contributing to our salvation, as we-live-the-Gospel message would suggest. The Gospel in a nutshell is Jesus's life, death, and resurrection. If we add our good works to the Gospel, then we skew the Gospel, making it no Gospel at all. The Gospel is 100% the work of God's hands, and 0% the work of our hands – that is why it can save us. The only thing we sinners bring to the table is our sin and rebellion, as Luther said. This Gospel message is what the Protestant Reformation was all about! Imputation of God's righteousness on us so that we can become the righteousness of God (2 Cor. 5:21). After placing our faith in the Gospel, out of gratitude, we live in a manner worthy of those who believe in the in Gospel

terriergal said...

You cannot confuse the gospel with its fruit. The gospel is a message with implications for those that believe it. It is not the implications themselves. If you mess this up, then you end up with people whose lives aren't quite 'ship shape' being accused of not living the gospel which then equates to not believing the gospel. Suddenly you find yourself judging people's salvation status on the fact that they may still have struggles with sin or are otherwise imperfect, in spite of the fact that they confess freely the MESSAGE of the gospel and heartily affirm all that it states.

Michael Horton and the White Horse Inn guys are talking about this all the time. I suggest you tune in to their podcast on a weekly basis. It's highly worth your time.

Joel S said...

Those who participated in this discussion some time ago may be interested in my recent post, "Is 'Living the Gospel' an Acceptable Term?" http://bit.ly/livingthegospel

Anonymous said...

Excellent commit, danny2! ***GOD1st!