Sunday, August 7, 2011

The Gospel in a Few Minutes

Is it possible to share the gospel in a few minutes?

I have seen a few recordings on You Tube, of the Gospel in a few minutes, by people who are noble and reliable.
As I am considering these forthright and genuine proclamation talks—I am thankful for them. But as yet, I am undecided about what they really convey. Is it the gospel? Can it ever be? Is it a snapshot of the gospel? Is it a truncated gospel?

I a reminded of Karl Barth's saying that 'no one ever heard the gospel from the lips of another person' — meaning that it is Christ Jesus himself who preaches to a person, and reveals himself to them. 'Faith comes by hearing', and hearing by the 'preaching of Christ'. (Romans 10).

That is, the Ascended Jesus preaching to a human heart, through 'the words' (the agency) of a person like me, or you.

I am also reminded of Geoffrey Bingham's comment that "John 3:16 is not the gospel in a nutshell! Only a nut would think that!"

So, I ask again, is it possible to share the gospel in a few minutes?

On the one had, there is a Word to speak, all the time, that bears witness to Jesus Crucified and Risen, and the grace of God, we know in him, by the Spirit. So lets speak of the good things we know.

However, what of this gospel, can it be summarised or located or identified?

I recall that C. H. Dodd tried to summarise all the elements of the "kerygma", the early Christian preaching. Others have discussed this, and found that, yes, there are common elements, in speeches and content, but, the 'magic words' - as such are unable to be isolated, (pinned down) amidst all of the unique relational talks with real people in real settings, Jews, Gentiles, unbelievers, and believers, pretenders and listeners.

So we note that:

A. Jesus, the centre of the gospel, came 'when the time had fully come' (Galatians 4:4).
B. And yet the gospel was declared to Abraham 'beforehand' (Galatians 3:8).
C. And it is stated, that there is 'an eternal gospel' (Revelation 14:6).

To gather these thoughts. I am thinking that the gospel, in a few minutes, would need to include some setting forth of:

1. Creation, its plan and purpose to Edenise the world
—and the tragic, irrational entrance of sin
2. Abraham and the Promise—God's Covenant of grace
3. Christ Jesus and the significance of his life, death, resurrection and current reign

I think that number 1 and 2 are often neglected a bit, so we have ...a baby without a cradle!

So, rather than just be critical, I might even have a try one Sunday, to pack "the gospel" into about 5 minutes—ready for uploading along with others of genuine heart and noble purpose, yet another attempt to unfold the gospel... on You Tube! Praying of course, that in it all, Jesus himself speaks!
Cheers. Trevor.

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