“The good news is summarized in I Corinthians 15: “Christ died on the cross for our sins,” so that we can be redeemed. That is the narrow definition that most evangelicals embrace. I think we are wrong in limiting it to that. If you read the first twenty-seven words Jesus spoke in Mark, it’s clear that he announced the kingdom…When we think about Jesus ushering in the kingdom, as we pray, by the way, “thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven,” I think we begin to see the gospel in a much broader context.” Chuck Colson, founder, Prison Fellowship Ministries
“In trying to communicate the gospel to the masses, the message was eventually reduced to a partial story: humans are sinful and need Jesus in order to go to heaven. This made Christianity lose some of its life because the full description of God’s activity–such as his creation, his plans for restoration, his sovereignty–was left out. It was ultimate reduction, “renounce your sins and place your hope in Jesus.” This phrase is not wrong per se. But it is insufficient, particularly as our culture becomes more and more pluralistic. As a result of this mindset, one can easily accept Jesus and Buddha and a form of Wicca and have not the slightest problem with the significant contradictions. By reducing the gospel to a what’s-in-it-for-me message, people feel Jesus exists for their benefit.”
Rick McKinley, pastor, Imago Dei, Portland
“For a couple of generations, the emphasis was placed solely on that conversion moment. Christians know that salvation is important. But the truth is, we have put the cart before the horse. We have communicated that we want people to believe something that is critical to their lives before they know us, have experienced us, or have received anything from us…and before we know them.” Andy Stanley, Senior pastor, North Point Ministries, Atlanta, GA
“Many modern-day Christians have lost touch with the all-encompassing gospel that goes beyond personal salvation and reaches every corner of society. When conversion growth is the single measure of success, the hard work of discipleship gets ignored. When Christian faith is relegated to a personal, spiritual decision about where you will spend the afterlife, the here and now matters less. When being a Christian can be determined by whether you “prayed the prayer,” the focus shifts easily to who is in and who is out.” David Kinnamon, unChristian p. 224.
“We must open minds and hearts to the reality of the Micah 6:8 challenge to walk humbly, to seek justice and to love mercy. As in the story of the rich man and Lazarus, in the warnings of the Old Testament prophets and in the disturbing radical message of the gospel of Jesus it is a reminder that God will hold us accountable for our attitudes and actions or indifference to the cry of the poor, the hungry, the oppressed, the diseased and our enemies. We can no longer justify in the light of the scriptures a materialist, consumerist lifestyle whose roots are in Western cultural values that are alien to the gospel and whose fruits lead to self obsession, compulsion, drivenness, dysfunctionalism, individualism and the loss of community.” Revd. Roy Searle, Northumbria Community