Creation — a single good Creator making the world and all that is in it, with humans as the pinnacle of creation. Fall — we humans choosing our own way rather than Gods (sin) Redemption — Christ’s substitutionary death for us at the cross Restoration — God’s greater plan to restore all things, which was a primary topic of Christ’s teachings, clarifying a gradual restoration, completed only upon Christ’s return.
Where the traditional western gospel falls short today
- We suggest that the traditional western gospel message was able to assume the ‘Creation’ part because most people could see the logic of a single, knowable, good God.
- As such, the message itself was not the whole gospel, because parts of the message were assumed. However, to repeat such a message in today’s western society without necessary modification could result in failed communication. Because of assumptions we are making, those hearing the message may not correctly understand it.
- Traditional communications of the gospel have also often fallen short in the area of ‘restoration’, presenting Christ’s death as being so as to get us into heaven, but overlooking that it’s about a lot more than that.
- Centrally we suggest it was about enabling us to be restored to relationship with our Creator
- Out of that comes a restoration to our purpose on earth, which includes the spread of the gospel as well as the progressive establishing of God’s ways on earth through everything we do.
- Then, when we die, we get to be with the Creator forever, because we have been adopted back as His children.
- In today’s world we suggest that a gospel presentation that presents the purpose of salvation only as getting to heaven is deficient. Culturally, people are looking for things that relate to the here and now — and the gospel relates to the here and now! Many will also react against anything communication that seems to them to be using scare tactics.
- Note, this is not to say we should not talk about hell (quite the opposite – an understanding of justice and consequence is the necessary backdrop for the great news that the gospel is), but that wisdom is needed in communication. A lack of tact can close doors that otherwise would have remained beneficially open.
As such, many ‘traditional’ communications of the gospel were really of a truncated gospel, covering two of the above four areas that give an overview of the good-news message that we have through Christ. However, they successfully communicated at that time because of the accepted cultural assumptions at that time. However, times have changed — and now the whole gospel is needed!