Which Gospel? Summarizing the Results

I started by saying I’ve been struggling with figuring out which of the many good ideas about the nature of Christianity is where the church should be focused. As kind of an experiment, I thought I’d look for a path that would remove most of my own prejudices and the prejudices of current evangelical fashion.

The idea is to look at the baptism, Lord’s Supper, and gospel passages to see what lessons they emphasize, figuring that they were instituted to teach us what’s most important about our Christianity.

Now, I really can’t pretend that this is 100% objective. It’s not. But, to me, it’s been helpful — indeed, helpful enough to draw some interesting conclusions, which we’ll consider in future posts.

There’s so much material that it’s hard to see the patterns through the detail. And so, I’ve taken the conclusions from the previous posts and built a table of sorts tabulating the outcome:

Baptism Communion “Gospel”
the journey from slavery to freedom
in the Promised Land was a community journey.
   
repentance    
not just elemental morality (niceness)
but a willingness to share and to be content
with what you have, indeed, less than what you have.
Commit to sacrificial living Commit to sacrificial living
ethics Covenant relationship with God ethics
Spirit (3)   Spirit
grace Grace — Jesus is the sacrifice  
make disciples Proclaim Jesus’ death  
teach Jesus’ commandments    
become disciples    
devote selves to fellowship    
meet daily    
All things in common sharing  
breaking of bread Eat together  
eliminate ethnic barriers (2)   All nations
Join in Jesus’ death, burial, resurrection    
Dead to sin (2)    
Unity of a congregation (2) Unity of congregation  
Unity of church universal (3) Unity of church universal  
Need each other    
Rejoice and mourn with each other    
Love each other    
Allow God to bless the world through us    
Turn people away from wickedness    
No discrimination    
Inheritance Until he comes  
Unity of church in community    
End of regulations    
Powers disarmed    
Citizenship in heaven, hence like missionaries    
  Commit to serve one another  
  Remember Jesus’ sacrifice  
  Assurance of resurrection  
  thanksgiving  
  Care for the poor (2) Ministry to poor
    Ministry to those who mourn
    Ministry to prisoners
    Social justice
    worship

This is interesting and, I think, helpful, but it would work much better if the elements were lumped into useful categories.

There are three levels of entries — bold with underline are the the major captions. Just bold are subsidiary captions. For example, I see the gift of the Spirit as very entwined with the grace of God — but they are not entirely the same. Finally, small, plain type shows the individual entries borrowed from earlier posts.

Now, the classifications are debatable. I mean, the command to take the gospel to all nations is both about evangelism and about unity of ethnic groups. I’ve tried to pick up such elements in both places.

Grace

covenant relationship with God
grace
Grace — Jesus is the sacrifice
Join in Jesus’ death, burial, resurrection
Remember Jesus’ sacrifice
Assurance of resurrection
Inheritance
End of regulations
Until he comes
thanksgiving

Spirit

Spirit (4)

Unity

Unity of a congregation (3)
Unity of church universal (4)
Unity of church in community

Community

the journey from slavery to freedom in the Promised Land
was a community journey.
devote selves to fellowship
meet daily
All things in common
sharing
breaking of bread
Eat together
Need each other
Rejoice and mourn with each other
Love each other
Commit to serve one another

Eliminate ethnic barriers

eliminate ethnic barriers (2)
All nations
No discrimination
Turn people away from wickedness

Mission

Allow God to bless the world through us
Evangelism
make disciples
Proclaim Jesus’ death
Citizenship in heaven, hence like missionaries

Make disciples

make disciples
teach Jesus’ commandments
become disciples

Concern for those in need

Care for the poor (2)
Ministry to poor
Ministry to those who mourn
Ministry to prisoners
Social justice

Ethics

repentance
not just elemental morality (niceness) but a willingness
to share and to be content with what you have,
indeed, less than what you have.
Commit to sacrificial living (2)
Ethics (2)
Dead to sin (2)

Worship

Worship

Political church

Powers disarmed

Now, this is interesting! Ponder this a bit and we’ll discuss it in a couple of days. And here’s the really interesting question: what didn’t make the list?

About Jay F Guin

My name is Jay Guin, and I’m a retired elder. I wrote The Holy Spirit and Revolutionary Grace about 18 years ago. I’ve spoken at the Pepperdine, Lipscomb, ACU, Harding, and Tulsa lectureships and at ElderLink. My wife’s name is Denise, and I have four sons, Chris, Jonathan, Tyler, and Philip. I have two grandchildren. And I practice law.
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