Thursday, March 30, 2006
As readers of this blog have learned, I enjoy tracking signs of convergence between evangelicals and Catholics. Today over at the leading evangelical blog, Joe Carter explains his view of the Gospel in terms that will likely sound much more familiar to Catholics than to his fellow evangelicals:
[B]iblical passages such as John 3:16 or Ephesians 2:4-6 are often referred to as “the gospel in a nutshell.” By referring to these verses we can provide a simple summation of the “gospel”, allowing us to “witness” to those with short-attention spans. But as life-altering, world-shatteringly important as those verses are—and I cannot overemphasize just how good that news is for us---the gospel cannot be squeezed into a “nutshell.”
Indeed, the entire universe is not large enough to contain the good news about Jesus! The gospel is more than just news for fallen man. Even if there were no anthropos or no cosmos the seraphim would still proclaim the good news about Christ. The gospel is greater than just the redemption of fallen human nature, greater than the redemption of all creation. The gospel is not about me and it is not about you. The gospel is the news in toto about the Savior, Redeemer, and Sustainer of creation: Jesus Christ.
The most serious threat to the gospel is, therefore, the attempts to limit the gospel about Jesus to a propositional truth, to a narrative, to a story, to a verse, a book, to a Bible, or to a million other “nutshells.” True, the gospel is contained in all of those forms. But any attempt to share the gospel that does not proceed from “the gospel is…” to “but the gospel is also…” is simply inadequate. Even if we were able to proclaim all the news that is contained in those nutshells, though, it would not exhaust the good news about Christ.