theology Tuesday — ‘The Gospel in All its Forms’

So, I spoke at Kairos on Sunday and it was an interesting discussion afterward. To explain for those non-Kairos people that frequent this blog (all two of you – my mom & grandma), sometimes after my talk at Kairos, we have a discussion where people can either make a comment, or ask a question either verbally, or by texting it to my phone.

The topic this last Sunday was on what is ‘the good news of Jesus’ ? I took much of what I spoke about from an article by Tim Keller entitled
The Gospel in All its Forms.


I know, I quote Keller a lot, but I find so much of what he says, and how he says things — to deeply resonate with me.

Anyway, as he says in the article ‘So yes, there must be one gospel, yet there are clearly different forms in which that one gospel can be expressed.’ However, with trying to explain that there are different forms (or aspects) of the gospel, I had the sense that these ‘Individual and corporate aspects of the gospel do not live in easy harmony with one another today.’ As some did not agree with this, some I think were a little confused as they had never heard this before, and a number of people said they absolutely loved the discussion.

Anyway, if you have time – read the article, and let me know what you think.


7 responses to “theology Tuesday — ‘The Gospel in All its Forms’

  • Michelle

    Your heading photo looks like little italy in ny. I go to redeemer in NY. Sorry no deep thoughts here, but it resonated with me, too. Thank you for sharing!

  • Mike Thomas

    Hey Greg,
    Pretty good article especially for people coming from an conservative evangelical tradition. It just so happens that today my brother asked me for a good definition of the “gospel.” Here’s what I came up with. It’s not DONE, but a decent start I think.

    Jesus came to proclaim the “good news” that God wants to make all things right again in a creation that’s become corrupted. God is now guiding and empowering us (his followers), through Jesus and the Spirit, to live life together as a sign, instrument, and foretaste of the Kingdom of God that begins now, but will ultimately last forever. Through Jesus and his followers, God’s Kingdom is the redemption of all created things and includes the forgiveness of sins, the healing of our hearts, fellowship with God through the Spirit, deliverance for captives, sight for the blind, sustenance for the poor, liberty for the oppressed, and stewardship of the earth so that all people can bless one another through their giftedness and enjoy life together.

    What do you think?

  • gregorylarson

    Michelle — nice hearing from you again. I did not know that you went to Redeemer. that is great. When I come to NYC sometime, I will definitely visit (it is kind of like Mecca to me 🙂
    Anyway, thanks for your comment. Next time you are back in town, stop by kairos.

  • gregorylarson

    Mike — i love that definition. Did you come up with that? (that sounds bad, like you are not capable of coming up with that — I did not mean that 🙂
    It balances both the individual & corporate aspects of the gospel. (& like Keller says, — “YES, there must be ONE gospel, yet there are clearly different forms in which that one gospel can be expressed.)
    Thanks for sharing that Mike.

  • dave


    I wasn’t there on Sunday, but I appreciate the discussion. I like Keller’s approach to theology and the gospel. I think he recognizes the complexity of the gospel and refuses to back down on either facet of the gospel: the corporate (the kind of gospel that is present throughout the Scriptures) with the personal (the kind of gospel centered around the life and work of Christ).

    I personally find it easier to speak about the corporate side of things – I think it is a gospel that preaches easier in our post-individual/postmodern/post-___ world. I also think it is an essential part of the gospel that has gotten sidelined by much of American evangelical history.

    Yet, I struggle with a gospel that doesn’t recognize the necessity of the life, death, and resurrection of Christ. There are a lot of religions/traditions/denominations that hold up a woman or man as an exemplary figure to follow. And in a sense Jesus should be that for Christians. A lot of people are content with Jesus just being a good example, but I believe that doesn’t do justice to the gospel that the Scriptures and the church throughout history has proclaimed. Jesus is more than an ‘ideal human.’ His life is hugely important, but there have been a lot of people who have lived great lives. The death and resurrection, for me, needs to be a part of the gospel; I believe that something happens in the life of a Christ follower that couldn’t happen without the atoning work of Christ.

  • gregorylarson

    Dave – thanks for the comment. I agree with you, I like Keller’s approach to theology & the depth & the profound-ness of the gospel.
    Interestingly, I would say that I find it easier to speak about the individual side. I agree that the corporate side maybe preaches easier to our world & that it has been completely sidelined by much of evangelicalism. However, I dont know if it is because of my personality, my experiences, my history, or what — but I find it easier to preach the individual side & I dont think I have spent as much time to thoroughly think through all of the corporate implications of the gospel.
    Meeting with Dallas Willard again yesterday, it is interesting how he challenges that side of the gospel when we speak.
    Also, I agree with what you said about the atoning work of Christ. It is not just that, but it absolutely has to include that.

  • Mike Thomas

    Uh.. yeah… I came up with that definition. 🙂 Although I’ve obviously pulled from a few different places.

    You mentioned that Dallas challenges a side of the gospel. It would obviously be the corporate side. I do respect his perspective on spirituality and the disciplines in particular so I’d be interested in chatting with you on his perspective.

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