We’ve been visiting family in New Hampshire this weekend where we had a wonderful time. My niece attends the University of New Hampshire, and we went with her parents; we stayed in a B&B in York Village near the coast. Lots of fun and always nice to have a cup of chowda for lunch.
I want to continue some blogging about the gospel.
I suggest there are six elements to the gospel, and each needs to present for a full gospel to be present. Tomorrow I will post on the distortions of the gospel. That will be the end of this rather lengthy series.
Each presentation of the gospel requires the following elements to be present:
1. The creation story: humans as Eikons of God.
2. The fall story: humans as cracked Eikons (fallen).
3. The story of God with his people: Israel’s history and the Church’s history.
4. The Cross: where the story of God’s work finds its focus,
The story of the Cross is a multi-faceted story including the following “theories of the atonement,” each of which has a partial grasp of what God does on the Cross: recapitulation, ransom/liberation, satisfaction, substitution, and example. (Thus, Irenaeus/Athanasius, classical view, Anselm, Reformers, Abelard.) The problem here is choosing to let one dominate the others: big mistake. We need each, and we don’t need all of them so we can choose one over the other; we nee each in the sense of all of them.
5. The Resurrection: where the story of God’s work is unleashed with power.
6. Pentecost: where the story of God’s work is spiritually empowered.
Since I’m smitten with Irenaeus’ theory as nearly comprhensive in that it really can include each of the other theories, I want to add that these six elements are really ways to see our inclusion in Christ. The gospel is what God does in the Person: Jesus Christ.
The gospel, in these six elements (and almost everyone omits at least one of them), accomplishes the following: the gospel work of God absorbs suffering, pain and death; it wipes away sinfulness by forgiving, restoring, enabling, and empowering; and it provides an alternative community where systemic evil comes to an end.