Thursday 11 March 2010

W.R. Shenk on the Gospel

W.R. Shenk, ‘Gospel’, in William A. Dyrness and Veli-Matti Kärkkäinen (eds.), Global Dictionary of Theology: A Resource for the Worldwide Church (Nottingham: IVP, 2008), 356-58.

‘The gospel is the dynamic center of the biblical narrative, the heart of the Christian faith. The term means to announce good news as well as the content of the good news, that is, God’s redemptive action in Jesus Christ for the salvation of humankind’ (356).

The Old Testament
Isaiah 40-66 combines the themes of eschatological expectation, the ingathering of Gentiles, and the new order of shalom, all pointing to the coming messianic age. The chapters speak of the herald from Zion who will proclaim to the whole world God’s universal victory over rebellion and sin (Isaiah 52:7).

The New Testament
In Mark 1:15, Jesus announces the ‘good news’ of the in-breaking reign of God. He proclaims this in word and deed. Paul summarises the content of the gospel in Romans 1:1-6 (linking Christ with Old Testament prophecies, Jesus’ resurrection and lordship) and 1 Corinthians 15:1-28 (emphasising the historical nature of events that make up the gospel narrative).

The Gospel and Human Culture
‘Every person receives the gospel through a particular culture’ (357). The combination in modern culture of the separation between fact and value, and the pietist-evangelical awakening led to a twofold reductionism: ‘(1) the gospel was interpreted primarily in terms of personal salvation and preparation for heaven, and (2) it was an evangelistic formula’ (358). But, for Jesus, ‘personal salvation was not to be separated from the larger movement of the kingdom of God’, with disciples ‘called to live out God’s righteousness/justice’ (358). By the 1970s, a movement was underway to recover the message of the whole gospel.


Ben Byerly said...

I've come to appreciate your blog more and more over the last month or so. Even though I own this book, I enjoyed seeing this reminder of what is inside.

On a separate note: given your content, you don't strike me as someone who is hung up on reader statistics. I wonder if you would be willing to change the settings on your blog so that we could read your entire posts in an RSS reader like Google. Right now, it just gives us the headline, and sometimes I like to read off-line. Thanks.

Antony said...

Thanks Ben, and good to hear from you. I’ve just checked your own blog, and have added it to my own RSS feeds. It looks like our interests overlap in quite a few areas.

Curiously, you’ve guessed right that I’m not at all bothered about reader statistics. I don’t even know how to go about finding them! I have a technically-savvy friend who has offered to help me with this, and I may well ask him sometime, as well as asking him about changing the RSS settings if I’m unable to do it myself. Thanks again – Antony

Ben Byerly said...

I just got your most recent post in full in my off-line reader.;-). Thanks.

Antony said...

Great! Glad to hear it. Thanks – Antony