More aches in the house of Warren, which most know as Saddleback Church in southern California. The dust is still settling from Warrengate and the Jonas Brothers concert this year’s Easter Sunday worship service, and he still does not seem to have a basic understanding of what the Gospel is.
Consider this tweet from yesterday:
Agreed, it is a sad day when we begin to think of the Gospel as something that we do and feel. Yet, to even suggest that the Gospel can be reduced to that implies that the Gospel is any of those things at all. Scripture clearly teaches that the Gospel is the work and action of Christ through his atoning sacrifice on the cross. The Gospel (good news) then is that he did the work for us, he paid the debt for us, and makes the way to heaven for us. It is his work and not ours.
The Gospel has nothing at all to do with what we do, what we practice, and what we feel. It does have to do with what we believe, but since our beliefs are not perfect, it does not mean that somehow we are not Christian. But getting the simple, yet profound, teaching on what the Gospel really is is essential. The frustration and disgust that the Apostle Paul shared in his letter to the Galatians is that they betrayed the Gospel by changing it from a work of Christ on our behalf.
If the Gospel Is NOT What We Do…
… then the Gospel has to be something else. Since the Gospel is literally “good news,” it must be declared as any news is declared in a newspaper (for those of you too young to remember what that is just think of it as a paper version of the internet). Communicating the Gospel requires that we tell people about it, proclaim it, and spread the word concerning it. It is a story that is not evident by taking a walk in the woods or in service to the homeless. It must be told.
How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written,”How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” … So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ. (Romans 10:14-15, 17; emphasis added)
If the Bible teaches that the work of Christ is good news, and good news is to be shared, then what can we say about this “observation”:
The apparent “amputation” of the hands and feet of the Body of Christ is not only a descrating way to speak of our Lord, but it also further testifies to a distortion of the Gospel. In the context of the rest of the chapter, 1 Corinthians 4:20 is about the talk of people who would cause harm to the church, and people who do not exhibit fruits that would suggests that they are indeed Christian. Indeed, even in this chapter Paul emphasizes that it is not what we have done but what we “did not receive” (vs. 7) that matters.
Warren so often talks about how the Gospel is not about doing, but about loving. What he forgets is that even loving is “a doing” and so is not actually Gospel. It is bad news if we consider that God should require us to love perfectly to save us.
A lack of “doing” is indicative of a lack of Gospel. For those who have been called of God, who are sheep and not goats, “doing” is something that is impossible not to do. If I have fully, or at least adequately, grasped my utter helplessness to do anything about my own sin and instead hear the Gospel (good news) that Christ has done the work for me and in my place, I cannot help but want to do something to show my gratitude. I want to do more because I understand how massive a thing it is that Christ died for me when I did not do anything to deserve it.
Hear the good news! Share the Gospel, and always use words.