With all the recent conversation I’ve been having with different
people about Reformed theology, missional theology, emergent theology
and just what do each of us mean by loaded terms like “the gospel”, I
thought it was worth spending some more time talking about what I
understand as “the gospel”.
Well, first and foremost, it’s the good news that Jesus is risen from the dead (see Romans 10:9).
I was recently reading another post by an Orthodox blogger which I thought expressed it rather well:
resurrection of Christ from the dead is in fact the first real Gospel
proclamation – â€œChrist is risen!â€ This is where the particularly
Christian message begins. It is only after His resurrection and after
the apostles had begun proclaiming the resurrection that they saw a
need to record the Masterâ€™s teachings and the events which made up
His life. Christianity thus begins with the Good News that â€œChrist is
risen from the dead!â€
Now I recommend
you read the rest of that article as well but at this point I am
cautious that misunderstanding might creep in. “Is Matt denying
justification by faith? Is he downplaying the atoning significance of
the cross?” Well no, of course not, the resurrection without the
crucifixion is like a plot twist without a plot. I think the
crucifixion and the life that precipitated it has major significance
for how we understand Jesus, our relationship with our Creator and how
we live our lives.
What I am alluding to however, is this, that the various atonment metaphors we find in the New Testament are all post-resurrection
insights. That while the crucifixion chronologically preceded the
resurrection, witnessing to the resurrection chronologically preceded
detailed development of atonement theology. Atonement theology may
therefore be thought of as an important dimension of the good news, but
I don’t see it as the good news in a totalistic sense, or in the most
original sense. The good news in its most raw and original form was
that proclaimed by Mary Magdalene, “I have seen the Lord!” And I feel
uplifted just being on the receiving end of that message.