As I teach and preach – and even talk to people – it is not uncommon for someone to ask for clarification of what I mean when I casually and frequently use the term “gospel”. For some the word has very little meaning. Folks are confused, wondering if it is a style of music, a metaphor for “truth”, or something else. This is understandable, since the word is used indiscriminately, even if not erroneously. But others, who are heartfelt follows of Christ, also ask on occasion. They understand it is the Good News related to Jesus, but what are the essential elements?
Welsh scholar C.H. Dodd helpfully sumarized the gospel in six distinct aspects:
- The Age of Fulfillment has dawned, the “latter days” foretold by the prophets. (Acts 3:18)
- This has taken place through the birth, life, ministry, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. (Acts 2.22-31)
- By virtue of the resurrection, Jesus has been exalted at the right hand of God as Messianic head of the new Israel. (Acts 2.32-36)
- The Holy Spirit in the church is the sign of Christ’s present power and glory. (Acts 10.44)
- The Messianic Age will reach its consummation in the return of Christ. (Acts 3.20-21)
- An appeal is made for repentance with the offer of forgiveness, the Holy Spirit, and salvation. (Acts 2.37-41)