I don’t believe in that Gospel!

Sunday, April 19, 2020.

Once more I am trying to get a grip on a few theological questions. It is because yesterday I heard Ben Ellis talk about sharing the Gospel. He said several great things: Evangelism is not a result of spiritual maturity, evangelism is a pathway to spiritual maturity. Another interesting thing he said is that every Christian should be ready to give a “presentation” of their faith at any moment:

I’d like to share with you how I present the Gospel. First, I want to say that this is not the only way to do it. However this is what worked well for me over the years. I would highly recommend that you memorize some form of Gospel presentation so that you are able to insert it in any conversation you may have with a non-believer. When I share the Gospel, I walk though five steps.

This was the first time I heard this advice. It is something they don’t teach in Eupen. I fully agree with Ben here. Christians should always be ready to explain their faith in a limited situation with limited time.

Then Ben went on and shared us his five steps, his summary of the Gospel. And his summary triggered an allergic reaction within me, the same reaction as in Two opposite summaries of Christian faith. Here is Ben’s summary:

  1. God is holy. That means: he’s perfect. And sin cannot live with Him.

  2. On the other hand, Man is sinful. I’ve lied and you’ve lied. I’ve stolen and you’ve stolen. I had fits of rage and you had fits of rage.

  3. The problem : If God is holy, and sin cannot live with him, but man is sinful, then we cannot live with him. We are cut off from God. Not only in this life, but when we die, we remain cut off from God for eternity in a place called hell.

  4. The solution. But this is not what God wants for us. So he sent His son Jesus Christ to die on the cross for our sin. While Jesus was hanging on the cross, God put all our sin on him, so that when Jesus died, all our sins were paid for. And God raised Jesus from the dead on the third day.

  5. The response. If we admit that we are sinners, and believe that Jesus paid for our sin on the cross, then we will be saved.

I’d formulate my spontaneous emotional reaction as follows: This way of presenting the Gospel is a con! This has been used in the middle age! This Gospel is not what I believe! If this is the Good News, then I am not a Christian! Ben, you are selling the wrong Gospel!

I am not the only one to react like this. I have listened to many friends who turned away from Church because of this. Some of them left after having grown up as Christians in a community where the Gospel was presented this way, others after having heard somebody talk to them like this.

There is either something wrong with Ben’s summary, or there is something wrong with my understanding of the Gospel!

(Remaining content integrated into What is so good about the Good News?)