I became a Christian through studying and living various philosophies of life: both secular and religious— Western thinkers and Eastern mystics. To say that I had multiple personality disorder, not to mention semi-schizophrenic weirdness would be an understatement. But I learned that people come to Christ through various paths, not quite fitting our traditional evangelical pattern.
Is there a simple gospel? Hummm. Well, yes and no. Albert Einstein once said that we should strive for truth to be simple…, but no simpler. There are countless books and pamphlets written on the Simple Gospel.
Over the years I’ve learned that our Gospel takes multiple forms. Sometimes it’s just a prayer of faith, in response to an encounter with Jesus. Other times, it can be a complex matrix of interconnected ideas and statements, when a questioner needs a more in depth explanation of the Gospel’s place in the grand scheme of things.
It all depends on the context of the individual, or group, or forum, seeking a deeper understanding of what the message of our Lord Is.
People who communicate our message in multiple cultural situations must deal with this constantly. Wycliffe Bible Translators face the nuances and meanings of our message in every culture. Actually, in our American Multicultural Conglomerate there are as many “contexts” for the Gospel as there are around the world.
When theologian Carl Barth was asked this question he merely recited a children’s song— Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so. In so many cases this may be all someone needs to explain Jesus.
Today (2022), in North America at least, there is very little understanding of what Christianity is all about. In our population at large, very few people even attend church, let alone have any rich understanding of the genuine nature of our faith.
The gospel is as simple or complex as it needs to be to draw people to the feet of Jesus for forgiveness and new life. Anyone who claims otherwise is either manipulative or ignorant. Our Lord calls us to be lovers of people and lovers of God. To reduce the message of Jesus Christ to mere words misses the point of our faith in Jesus completely.
So much of our Christian message is simply to fall in love with people for the Gospel’s sake.
Loving God; loving people…, and bringing the two together! ©
NEXT— Learning to love.