Disclaimer: About This Blog

THIS BLOG IS: my personal journey of how I am rethinking some of my spiritual beliefs.
THIS BLOG IS NOT: intended to point fingers at people who I think are wrong.
I do not believe the final judgement will be based on how many correct answers we get on a theology exam. I believe many people throughout history have had genuine relationships with our Lord and Saviour Jesus, despite holding questionable beliefs and practices. I make no claim to having it all figured out or being your judge. If we end up disagreeing over these topics I pray we can find a way to demonstrate grace.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Jesus' Gospel vs Paul's Gospel

"Many biblical scholars and lay Christians have noted that Jesus preached almost exclusively about the kingdom of heaven, while Paul highlighted justification by faith—and not vice versa. Some conclude that they preached two different gospels. Others argue that really they both preached justification; still others say it's all about the kingdom. What gives?"  - Scot McKnight

Many Christians have been brought up understanding the gospel in terms defined by Paul.  The main idea is our justification by faith in Christ's work on the cross.

However many Christians today are recognizing that Jesus also preached a message he referred to as the gospel. For those of you who are not familiar with the idea that Jesus preached the gospel here are some key questions and some verses to consider.

Jesus' Gospel

1) Did Jesus preach a gospel (good news) message?
2) Did His disciples proclaim a gospel message?
3) When the gospel writers instruct us to proclaim the gospel, using how the term was used by that author, what was the good news message they were referencing?

Jesus went all through Galilee, teaching in their Synagogues, proclaiming (preaching) the gospel (good news) of the kingdom (reign, rule, authority, realm, dominion), and curing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness among the people; Mat 4:23

Jesus went around all the towns and the villages, teaching in their Synagogues, proclaiming (preaching) the gospel (good news) of the kingdom (reign, rule, authority, dominion, realm), and curing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness. Matthew 9:35

Jesus went to Galilee, proclaiming (preaching) the gospel (good news) of God —“The time has come, and the kingdom (rule, reign, authority) of God is at hand; repent (change your way of thinking), and believe the good news.” Mar 1:14-15

Jesus, however, said to them: “I must take the good news (gospel) of the kingdom (reign, rule, authority, dominion) of God to the other town also, for that was why I was sent.” Luke 4:43

Shortly afterwards, Jesus went on a journey through the towns and villages, proclaiming (preaching) the good news (gospel) of the kingdom (rule, reign, authority, dominion) of God. Luke 8:1

Jesus sends out His 12 disciples: On your way proclaim (preach) that the kingdom (reign, rule, authority) of heaven (or God) is at hand. Matt 10:7

Shortly afterwards, Jesus went on a journey through the towns and villages, proclaiming the gospel (good news) of the kingdom (reign, rule, authority) of God. Luke 8:1

Then they (the 12 disciples) set out and went from village to village, proclaiming the gospel (good news) and curing people everywhere. Luke 9:6

Then he said to them: “Go into all the world, and proclaim the gospel (good news) to all creation. Mark 16:15

"And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come." Matthew 24:14
So we may ask the questions?

Did Jesus preach Paul's gospel?

or

Did Paul preach Jesus' gospel?

I recently came across some articles that do a decent job addressing the tension in these questions:

http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/trevinwax/2010/12/14/jesus-vs-paul-an-interview-with-scot-mcknight-about-the-gospel/

which was an interview related to this article:





The articles are worth the read.  It may be an important topic to get your head around. After all, most Christians agree we should be proclaiming the gospel.   So how we define the gospel should matter.  Who gets to define it? Which scripture passages are used to summarize this essential question?

I agree with the idea in this article. When Jesus proclaimed the good news of the kingdom or reign of God, he was announcing that He was the Christ, the anointed King.  He was the Messiah that the Jews were waiting for. He was inviting all people to enter under the reign and authority of His kingdom.  He was their saviour and Lord.

When Paul defines the gospel he preached in 1 Corinthians 15 he uses very similar language.

"Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand.  By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.

For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve.  After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles,  and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born. " (NIV)

Of first importance: that Christ (the anointed King) died for our sins...

Do you see the kingdom connection?  The term Christ means the anointed one.

Jesus and Paul both preached that Jesus was king, Lord, Christ, Messiah.

Jesus and Paul both preached that Jesus died for our sins.

Jesus and Paul both preached victory that comes from our risen Lord.

Jesus and Paul both preach about requiring faith in Jesus.

I do see a different emphasis, but I don't see a different gospel message.  


Scot McKnight writes:
"... when some evangelicals recently rediscovered Jesus' kingdom vision, they were frequently warned that they were on the verge of falling for a social gospel. "
This describes my experience over and over again.  I admit I have been surprised and confused by this.

I'm sorry if my journey to understand and apply the teachings of Jesus has given you concern.  As a follower of Jesus my desire is to become more like Jesus.  I am enjoying studying the life and teachings of Jesus.  It seems clear that Jesus had a favorite topic as he preached from town to town, and His disciples caught on as well.  I believe the words of Jesus have meaning and power for people today as well, without taking away from the messages of Paul and other writers of Scripture.

Is it safe to say "Jesus Christ is the gospel"?

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4 comments:

Steve Martin said...

"Is it safe to say "Jesus Christ is the gospel"?"

I think it is safe to say.

He is the way the truth and the life. The forgiveness of sins.

Not even for our own sakes. But for His.

Thanks, Jon.

Centerpoint said...

It is true that Jesus is the good news but without His death and resurrection there is no good news.

Jonathan said...

Thanks for the comment. According to the gospels, Jesus preached the gospel before his death and resurrection. I've written about the importance of the cross more here, but I don't see the gospel consistently being defined in terms of the cross:
http://jonjourney.blogspot.ca/2014/03/importance-of-cross.html

Jonathan said...

Thanks for the comment. According to the gospels, Jesus preached the gospel before his death and resurrection. I've written about the importance of the cross more here, but I don't see the gospel consistently being defined in terms of the cross:
http://jonjourney.blogspot.ca/2014/03/importance-of-cross.html