Get the Gospel Right

February 15, 2011

If pressed for a quick summary of my philosophy of ministry, I would probably express it something like this:

  • Get the Gospel Right
  • Get the Gospel Out
  • Get the Gospel Out Right

Without a message there is no mission.

Unfortunately, it seems, many are so zealous to get about the mission that they make little time getting the message of the gospel right.  They do not stand amazed at what God has done for us in the person of Christ. Consequently, they are not being formed or transformed by the gospel.  They are more anxious about what they will do for God than excited by what God has done for us, and what he is doing in us, and what God has promised to do through us – if only we would root ourselves in the gospel.  And because some are neither formed or being transformed, they go out uninformed.

If we are not conscious of what God is doing in us, what do we think we have to offer those who are around us?

While no doubt knowledge without zeal is dead.  It is equally true that zeal without knowledge is deadly.

6 Responses to “Get the Gospel Right”

  1. David Alexander Says:

    Dennis I agree with you in principle and spirit.

    Not sure who the “they” is your talking about but I certanily agree we need Jesus, His message and and the transforming power of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

    I often wonder who says when we have it Right ? And is having it “right” the issue at all ?

    As The Holy Spirit works in our lives to accomplish Gods will in and through us and we understand our position in Gods Mercy and Grace I think we become more and more the people God has for us. Having to be right isn’t the issue. I was struct this morning, reading the last part of Matthew chapter 5 and left wondering if we have our faith right at all. Can we really call ourselves Jesus Followers and not live out the radical concepts Jesus outlines there for us ?

    To Love others like God Loves us…I think thats what Jesus is saying when he said be perfect even as your father which is in heaven is perfect. Oh that I could loves others that way. I may not be right, but my desire is to undertsand the Gospel in such a way that I am consumed by it.

    • Dennis Griffith Says:

      Is having it right the issue at all? Absolutely!!! What is the alternative?!

      If we don’t have it right, what are we on mission to do? No doubt we are called first to be followers, and we are to be formed by the gospel, growing in grace, and expressing our faith through love (Galatians 5.6) but if we are on mission, what ate we on mission to do? Be nice? Be good? Tell people to be nice and be good? What makes that distinctly Christian?

  2. David Alexander Says:

    I think you maybe didn’t get my meaning Dennis. If we follow Jesus in the radical way of Matthew expressed in Chapters 5,6,7 we will get it right. Of course it’s not to be nice and good as you said but letting your light shine as outlined in Matthew. Our Mission…To Love God, Love others and make Disciples.

    Seems to me the they and the many seem to think if the Theology is “right” and the talk is correct that’s all there is. Some even think as long as they are correct thats the main thing…

    I believe we have a long way to go to follow Jesus the radical way outlined for us in there in Matthew. In that sense I don’t think we have it right. Paul indicated this another way in Philippians 3:12 – 16

  3. Dennis Griffith Says:

    The heart of the Gospel is the Life, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. The means of appropriating the Gospel, of receiving the benefits of the Gospel, is “believing” the Truth of the Gospel, not “doing” anything. That would be a works salvation.

    No doubt the Scripture is clear: Faith without works is dead (James 2.17) Genuine faith expresses itself through deeds of love. (Galatians 5.6) But the actions themselves are not salvific. Modeling them for others to copy does not generate new life. Only faith, belief, accepting the TRUTH of the Gospel makes and transforms life.

    So, while I think that making a dichotomy between theology and mission is a false notion, if there is a “main” thing it would have to be the theology that we believe, which in turn compels us to love and action… It does not work the other way around.

    Our mission, as you cited, is to “Love God with ALL our heart, mind, and strength.” Second to that is to “love others as we love ourselves”. I am not trying to separate these things, only set them in the context that they are given to us. Clearly there is a priority of loving God more than loving others. We are to love Him with all that we are and have. We are to love others as we love ourselves. No doubt the latter is exhaustive, but it is not as demanding as what we are told is the “Greatest” command.

    Does that take the Great Commandment out of context? Or is it more in line with the context in which it is given us?

    Can we honestly say we love God with our minds, but give little attention to theology – the knowledge of God? If we are to love our neighbors as Christ has loved us, can we do that without exploring and understanding how Christ has loved us? I don’t think so. If you disagree, explain how we can do that.

    There is a principle of Bible Study that says: Every imperative is rooted in a corresponding indicative. In English that means for every mandate found in Scripture there is a theological truth that serves as both the foundation and motivation to act. If we ignore the theological and proceed directly to the mandate we are not actually being faithful. We are exchanging the priority of God, the Creator, for the world, or Creation. (Compare that to the indictment of Romans 1.23) Further, since righteousness is Faith expressed by action, and not simply actions – even good actions – to act without being prompted by faith (in specific theological truths) are what Paul called “filthy rags”.

    Finally, My premise for this post is: Without a message there is no mission. Are you taking exception to that statement?

    I don’t think anything in this post, nor any post on this blog, nor my life, can reasonably suggest I believe in a dead orthodoxy.

    Help us understand. How does your understanding of the Sermon on the Mount add to what is in this post? Do you find this post contrary to the teachings of Jesus? Your insights are worthy of consideration, but I want to keep discussions in line with the substance of the post.

  4. David Alexander Says:

    I like your post and blog in gereral. Don’t always agree as you know. Thats part of this isn’t it. To have a conversation ?

    I love the thought behind getting the Gospel right, getting the Gospel out and getting the Gospel out right. These are a must and your correct there is no mission without a message, I agree.

    Thought I was pretty plain when I said I agree in principle and spirit to what you shared.

    I however was trying to share that the sermon on the mount has so much depth in both theology and action and it is my perception that we (all of us) don’t really live up to the model Jesus outlined for us.

    All you need to do is look at how many different denominations we have as well as various Church Doctrins and everyone thinks they are correct. I apparently failed in my responce to communicate effectively that being “right” isn’t working. By that I mean many Churches feel they are right. So then it’s obvious that not all theology is correct or even the perspectives they have on the Gospel being “right” is correct. (if that makes sense)

    So thats what I was attempting to say. That being “right” isn’t the issue. The Gospel is the issue. It’s that which is RIGHT.

    I think God is bigger than our theology and what divides the Christian Church into so many differences.

    I think my responce was in line with the post in the sense I mentioned above. I wasn’t being critical of the post but keyed in on the word “right”.

    There must be room for questions, discussion on theology and the meaning of the Gospel as it applies to our lives.

    So many people (Christians) can be to intolerant of different views or perspectives. Take the general TR person. He may be “right” but he’s so right that he may have missed the real right of the Gospel.

    So maybe I didn’t communicate very well, not sure but I certanily didn’t want to cast doubt on your bolh post. I’m sorry for that Dennis.

    It’s an interesting post and sparked some questions for me and I thought I would share them.

  5. Dennis Griffith Says:

    Thanks David. Your comments are always welcome. I don’t mind discussion, and I don’t mind disagreement. But it seemed to me that you offered a “nod” to the post and then used a word as a springboard to an entirely different discussion. It is not that what you proposed cannot be applied to the premise and propositions of this post, but until your most recent comment I was unable to see the connection.


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