The Gospel In All Its Forms

The Gospel In All Its Forms – excellent article by Tim Keller of Redeemer Presbyterian Church, Manhattan. There is one Gospel, not many. But that Gospel is not narrow. Do read this and leave a comment here. I'd love to know what you think about it.


  1. Well, first of all, I’m truly and utterly stunned to see a ‘Christianity Today’ publication speaking approvingly of C H Dodd.

    The author paraphrases the Gospel as: “Through the person and work of Jesus Christ, God fully accomplishes salvation for us, rescuing us from judgment for sin into fellowship with him, and then restores the creation in which we can enjoy our new life together with him forever.”

    I basically agree with that. If you are asking me to pick holes in it, I think I’d start with a Kingdom of Justice for the oppressed and then end with the ‘personal relationship’ stuff. The work of Christ is cosmic restoration and renewal as well as the salvation of individuals.


  2. Pam,

    It’s staggering, isn’t it? If someone had told me that a CT writer was quoting Dodd and Dunn in opposition to each other, I would have been certain that Dunn would have been the ‘winner’, as he is generally more conservative. Keller seems happy on this evidence to quote truth, wherever it is found.

    What I liked about the article was that it resonated with something that has been important to me for several years now, especially since I started trying to engage with postmodernism. I have argued that the Gospel is like a diamond with many facets, and that the New Testament presents it like that. Approaches such as the ‘Four Spiritual Laws’ and other similar schemes may address a felt need, in that they provide something memorable for people who find themselves tongue-tied when talking about the Gospel, but because they are really only partial presentations of the Gospel, any serious reliance on them leads to a neglect of other aspects of the Gospel. I think that Keller’s approach in attempting to address people of varying backgrounds with different facets of the Gospel is deeply pastoral.

    If I had to nit-pick one part of his summary statement that you quote in his comment, it would be the use of the word ‘then’. It makes it sound like all the work of restoring creation belongs to the future. I’m sure Dodd of all people would want some realised eschatology, too!


  3. Dave,
    Paragraph 2 of the article is what I understand the Gospel to be.
    I believe that it is in having a personal relationship with God, we can then try and live our lives in the security, significance and acceptance of that relationship, to God’s glory. Surely universal restoration and renewal and all the other messages in the bible would be a natural consequence of that, or is my faith too naive or simplistic?


  4. Mary,

    I think that conversion along the lines of paragraph 2 should lead to the other consequences, but it doesn’t always.There are plenty of nations with high proportions of Christian converts and recent histories of revival where terrible things are done by the believers. Rwanda is perhaps the most awful example in recent history. Before the 1994 genocide, many Christians used to boast about the East African Revival. Suddenly, they went quiet. The same could be said on a smaller scale about Uganda. Some of those who joined us in Medway for Priestfield 2000 have fallen away from the faith, lured by corrupt access to Western aid money, which they have used to feather their own nests. So there is an issue of discipleship here, and it needs to be put up front in the Gospel proclamation: these are the demands of discipleship; this is what repentance will involve.

    But there is also the fact that the New Testament presents the Gospel in many ways, as Keller indicates, and there is also the fact that matters such as ‘cosmic restoration’ are clearly signposted – Romans 8 and Ephesians 1 come to mind. Have a read and see what you think!


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