Written by Sherry
Thursday, 18 June 2009 09:16
A few weeks ago, I asked readers to give some ideas as to what they thought the fundamental Gospel message was. I received some very thoughtful - and helpful - answers. Here's the outline I've come up with, after reading a variety of sources, most especially the scriptures. One of the surprising things I discovered is that God's love isn't mentioned. Of course, the whole life, death and resurrection of Jesus reveals God's love, but it isn't specifically mentioned in the preaching of the apostles to non-Christians (i.e., Jews and pagans). This surprised me, because while Jews might have presumed God's love for them, the Chosen People, pagans would not have expected God (or the gods) to love them. Far from it! Their sacrifices were often meant to appease gods who were as volatile and unpredictable as their worshippers.
So, without further ado, here's the summary
1. All have sinned ?
2. God sent his Son who assumed our humanity/remains God ?
3. Jesus reveals the Father ?
4. We rejected Him ?
5. Jesus embraced cross in obedience for our salvation ?
6. Jesus’ death = redemption (payment of debt) ?
7. Jesus reconciles us to the Father ?
8. Jesus is raised from the dead by the Father ?
9. Jesus restored to us what was lost / merited a new life for us ?
10. Jesus ascended to the Father and together they sent their Holy Spirit ?
11. Jesus will return again in judgment ?
12. new life may be accessed through faith in Jesus Christ, repentance of sin and Baptism into Christ’s life.
I have to board a plane. I'll try to give some of the scripture references later, as I have opportunities.
Of course, the question remains for us: how do we proclaim this in a way that will be compelling for our wealthy, postmodern American society. It was hard for St. Paul, too. "Since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, God decided, through the foolishness of our proclamation (kerygma), to save those who believe. For Jews demand signs and Greeks desire wisdom, but we proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles…" 1 Cor 1:21-23
Not to mention the fact that St. Paul claimed that his preaching was accompanied by obvious manifestations of God's power that probably got the attention of his listeners... "My speech and my proclamation (kerygma) were not with plausible words of wisdom, but with a demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith might rest not on human wisdom but on the power of God." 1 Cor 2:in 4-5
Where is the power of God displayed in our lives? Certainly through the charisms, but many of these have subtle, not miraculous, compared to the pretty amazing cures that seemed to accompany - or precede the preaching of the apostles.