Monday, June 27, 2011

Separating the Gospel from the necessary results of the Gospel?

Can we properly understand the Gospel apart from the necessary results of the Gospel? Check out this quote from War, Peace and Nonresistance by Guy Hershberger....
What is the Gospel? It is the story of the redemptive work of Christ which makes men to be the sons of God with a mind like that of Christ, constraining them to be humble, loving, blameless, harmless, peaceful, and nonresistant. All of this, and not part of it, is the Gospel. The preacher who omits the doctrine of love and non-resistance from his sermons is not preaching the Gospel as it is given in the New Testament. Nonresistance is not something added to the Gospel. It is an integral part of the Gospel, and when it is omitted that which remains is something far less than the Gospel. (Hershberger, War, Peace and Nonresistance, pg. 60)
That sort of writing makes us nervous. In our hyper-sensitivity to anything that smacks of works-based righteousness (an understandable sensitivity), have we pushed the results of the Gospel in terms of a transformed life to the side? Is what he is describing "adding" to the Gospel? To flip it around, if you take away the transformed life have you taken away from the Gospel? A "Gospel" that doesn't lead to transformed lives is not a Gospel that saves, which raises the question. Where does the Gospel proper (justification by faith alone by grace alone through Christ alone) end and the resulting transformed life begin? Can we even make that distinction?

What do you think?

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