The Gospel is not Hostile to the Culture

Jesus of Nazareth stands at the center of the narrative that best explains, for me, the world, the universe, and the reason for human existence. That narrative, with Jesus at theday-12 center, gives me a sense of purpose for my life and fills me with hope for the future.

Jesus of Nazareth, whom the early church came to think of as Jesus the Messiah (or Christ, i.e. God’s anointed one) embodies the nature of God while, at the same time, he exemplifies the full potentiality of humanness. I come closest to realizing my own potential by aspiring to be like him. Continue reading

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What Exactly Is The Gospel? (Part Two)

Dear Kathryn:

I’m sure that my last letter raised more questions than it answered with regard to the way I define the term “gospel” these days. For that reason, I wanted to get this follow-up letter off to you with dispatch.

I don’t mean to suggest that everybody gets to define the word for himself or herself. What I do mean is that it’s possible we have not fully understood the meaning of the word in its original context in the New Testament, specifically in those first four books that we call “the Gospels.” Continue reading

What Exactly Is The Gospel? (Part One)

Dear Mr. Lough:

You have referred several times to evangelical Christianity in this exchange of emails. You’ve made it clear that, although evangelicalism was the context for your early Christian formation, you no longer share some of the movement’s foundational presuppositions. In your last letter, however, you said something I had not heard before, and it raised a question I’d like to pursue.

You wrote, “Despite my belief that evangelicalism has lost its way and is flailing around in a confused state of self-misperception, I pray for the movement’s recovery of the gospel of the kingdom.” Could you say a bit more about that? Continue reading

But God… (A Blog Post for Lent, Part 1)

I have served as a pastor in four different churches over the course of my career in vocational ministry. In each of those settings, I took seriously my privilege and responsibility as a preacher, and I worked hard to prepare and deliver Biblical sermons that chapelwere both practical and inspirational. I am not a pastor at present, and I do not preach in a Christian worship service on a regular basis. As a result, I miss the regular discipline of expository preaching.

A blog is not a pulpit, a blog post is not a sermon (at least mine are not, usually), and my readers are not parishioners in a service of worship. Still, I hope you will indulge me if, on occasion, I use this blog to share a simple, straightforward exposition of scripture. That is what I want to do in this blog post and the one to follow.

Continue reading