Ein Einblick in meine Hausaufgaben - Teil 1 - 30. Aug 2016
In meinem Unterrichtsfach "Die Grundlagen des Christlichen Glaubens" haben wir die Aufgabe bekommen, uns jede Woche mit einer bestimmten Frage zu befassen und dazu zu bloggen. Da ich keinen neuen Blog erstellen will, bekommt ihr hier nun sechs Kostproben meiner Hausaufgaben - auf Englisch ;-)
What is the gospel?
Ever thought about that question? Maybe in the same moment I did, when I was on one of my outreaches and forced to do the thing I hate most: Evangelism. Talk to a stranger and preferably talk him into believing what I believe. But wait - what do I believe? I believe all kinds of things, after all, God is a very broad subject. But what′s the core of my faith? If I have only one minute to talk to a person while they try to escape me, what do I tell them about my faith? The gospel? But what on earth is the gospel?
Interestingly enough, the word gospel has two different and yet interrelated meanings that form a very simple but holistic picture. The original word in Greek is actually εὐαγγέλιον/ Euangelion (1), and means literally Good News. However, in our Bibles it is usually translated as Gospel, a derivative from the old Anglo-saxon word Godspell, which means the story of God (2).
If we combine those two meanings of the word - Good News and God′s story - we arrive at a definition that should not only bring people the joy of the good news of their possible salvation. At the same time, it should also instill purpose in them as they find their own place in God′s story for all of mankind.
As usual, great ideas, but: what′s the biblical definition? “What Would Jesus Do“ - or tell people? What was His gospel?
When we read through the book of Matthew for example, Jesus speaks solely about the gospel of the kingdom (3). In Mark 1:14-15 then, He brings the two sides of the picture together: “After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!”” Repentance and faith speak of our personal salvation, the approaching kingdom of the story of God, of which our salvation is a part. While the coming of the kingdom of God at the end of times is not a very popular topic in Germany, truth is, the gospel is not only a message for our individual salvation (which, if we are honest with ourselves, is our main objective). It is also a message for the salvation of the whole world. The good news is not only that we will go to heaven when we die, but that heaven is coming down to earth in the form of the kingdom of God!
Sure enough, we will have to wrestle through what the kingdom of God is and how it will look when it comes down to earth, but knowing and understanding the plan God has for our world gives us great hope and vision for the way we live our lives. It is the background story, the context, the bigger picture of our lives. When we only preach the gospel of our personal Savior who came to die for us, took away our sins and opened the way to God for us, we sell people a two-legged horse. We need not only know that God loves us but also that He has a purpose for our lives and the world we live in. Only then will the gospel unfold its full transformational power - and actually reach the hearts of the world that so desperately seeks purpose and identity.