"Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ." - Jerome

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Gospel Assumed...

Often as Christians will admit that we live life assuming the gospel. By that, we mean we "move past" the gospel to other things. Gospel becomes those things that are elementary and then we stop declaring them to "move on" to other things. Then when we assume the gospel, we confuse the gospel (because we never talk about it and forget it). Then after we confuse the gospel we deny the gospel. I came across this selection recently and think it is appropriate to share:

Assuming the Gospel is the height of arrogance. It is as if we were saying, “We all know what God has done for us in Jesus, so we can go on to teach and learn other things today.” St. Paul gave much apostolic direction for living the Christian life – “bearing with one another” (Colossians 3:13), “speaking the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15), “walking by the Spirit” (Galatians 5:16), and seeing the “more excellent way” (1 Corinthians 12:31). Yet Paul always put such admonition in the context of Christ’s saving work for us. In fact, Paul was adamant about the priority of the cross: “I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.” (1 Corinthians 2: 2)… No matter what else Paul had to say, the cross and resurrection of Jesus Christ for our salvation are the center, the essence, the focal point of all Christian preaching. Whether the subject is justification or sanctification, it all comes back to the cross. No preaching, no Christian teaching is complete unless it brings us back to what God has done for us in Jesus Christ on the cross. Indeed, anything else the preacher might proclaim is meaningless, unless it flows into or out of the message that Jesus died and rose for us. Every doctrine of Scripture is designed by God ultimately to bring the comfort of sins forgiven and eternal life in Christ to the penitent sinner.
Herbert C. Mueller, Jr., “The Gospel Assumed is the Gospel Denied” in Concordia Pulpit Resources 15, no. 3


Deborah Stuart said...

It is so refreshing to know that there are folks out there who still preach and teach about the cross and salvation.

Continue to do what you are doing.

Be encouraged.

Christopher said...

Hey, I love your blog! I just read your post on forensic and mystical union in the theology of Voss, as well as the series on the Roman church and why you're not Catholic. You have a great grasp of historical theology it seems, thanks for all that.

In regards to these comments on the Gospel, how easy it is even in our own minds to assume the Gospel, and slowly let things become syncretistic! Question for you on the content of the Gospel: there seems to be a large emphasis on a theologia crucis in my circles (evangelical), and less of an emphasis on a theologia gloriae in regards to the work of Christ. Have you given any though to this balance in Scripture between the two, and how they intertwine? Your thoughts might be helpful in helping me work through this topic.

I recently read through the book of acts and was surprised to see after picking through the apostolic sermons that they seem to put fourth a theologia gloriae in that particular book much more than that of the cross; in fact the cross is barely mentioned through inference. Moving on to Paul it takes a much more prominent place. Any thoughts?