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Have you heard the New Gospel?  It’s not been codified. It’s not owned by any one person or movement.  But it is increasingly common.

The New Gospel generally has four parts to it.

It usually starts with an apology: “I’m sorry for my fellow Christians. I understand why you hate Christianity.  It’s like that thing Gandhi said, ‘why can’t the Christians be more like their Christ?’  Christians are hypocritical, judgmental, and self-righteous.  I know we screwed up with the Crusades, slavery, and the Witch Trials.  All I can say is: I apologize.  We’ve not give you a reason to believe.”

Then there is an appeal to God as love: “I know you’ve seen the preachers with the sandwich boards and bullhorns saying ‘Repent or Die.’ But I’m here to tell you God is love. Look at Jesus.  He hung out with prostitutes and tax collectors.  He loved unconditionally.  There is so much brokenness in the world, but the good news of the Bible is that God came to live right in the middle of our brokenness. He’s a messy God and his mission is love.  ‘I did not come into the world to condemn the world,’ that’s what Jesus said (John 3:17).  He loved everyone, no matter who you were or what you had done. That’s what got him killed.”

The third part of the New Gospel is an invitation to join God on his mission in the world:  “It’s a shame that Christians haven’t shown the world this God.  But that’s what we are called to do.  God’s kingdom is being established on earth.  On earth!  Not in some distant heaven after we die, but right here, right now.  Even though we all mess up, we are God’s agents to show his love and bring this kingdom.  And we don’t do that by scaring people with religious language or by forcing them into some religious mold.  We do it by love.  That’s the way of Jesus.  That’s what it means to follow him.  We love our neighbor and work for peace and justice.  God wants us to become the good news for a troubled planet.”

And finally, there is a studied ambivalence about eternity: “Don’t get me wrong, I still believe in life after death.  But our focus should be on what kind of life we can live right now.  Will some people go to hell when they die?  Who am I to say? Does God really require the right prayer or the right statement of faith to get into heaven?  I don’t know, but I guess I can leave that in his hands. My job is not to judge people, but to bless. In the end, God’s amazing grace may surprise us all.  That’s certainly what I hope for.”

Why So Hot?
This way of telling the good news of Christianity is very chic.  It’s popular for several reasons.

1. It is partially true. God is love. The kingdom has come. Christians can be stupid. The particulars of the New Gospel are often justifiable.

2. It deals with strawmen.  The bad guys are apocalyptic street preachers, Crusaders, and caricatures of an evangelical view of salvation.

3. The New Gospel leads people to believe wrong things without explicitly stating those wrong things.  That is, Christians who espouse the New Gospel feel safe from criticism because they never actually said belief is unimportant, or there is no hell, or that Jesus isn’t the only way, or that God has no wrath, or that there is no need for repentance.  These distortions are not explicitly stated, but the New Gospel is presented in such a way that non-believers could, and by design should, come to these conclusions.  In other words, the New Gospel allows the non-Christian to hear what he wants, while still providing an out against criticism from other Christians.  The preacher of the New Gospel can always say when challenged, “But I never said I don’t believe those things.”

4. It is manageable.  The New Gospel meets people where they are and leaves them there.  It appeals to love and helping our neighbors.  And it makes the appeal in a way that repudiates any hint of judgmentalism, intolerance, or religiosity.  This is bound to be popular. It tells us what we want to hear and gives us something we can do.

5. The New Gospel is inspirational. This is what makes the message so appealing to young people in particular. They get the thrill and purpose of being part of a big cause, without all the baggage of the Church’s history, doctrine, and hard edges. Who wouldn’t want to join a revolution of love?

6. The New Gospel has no offense to it.  This is why the message is so attractive.  The bad guys are all “out there.”  This can be a problem for any of us.  We are all prone to soft-pedaling the gospel, only presenting the attractive parts and failing to mention where Christ does not just comfort but also confronts.  And it must confront more than the sins of others. It is far too easy to use the New Gospel as a way to differentiate yourself from all the bad Christians.  This makes you look good and confirms to the non-Christians that the obstacle to their commitment lies with the hypocrisy and failure of others.  There is no talk of repentance or judgment.  There is no hint that Jesus was killed, not so much for his inclusive love as his outrageous Godlike claims (Matt. 26:63-66; 27:39-43).  The New Gospel only talks of salvation in strictly cosmic terms.  In fact, the door is left wide open to imagine that hell, if it even exists, is probably not a big threat for most people.

Why So Wrong?
It shouldn’t be hard to see what is missing in the new gospel.  What’s missing is the old gospel, the one preached by the Apostles, the one defined in 1 Corinthians 15, the one summarized later in The Apostles’ Creed.

“But what you call the New Gospel is not a substitute for the old gospel.  We still believe all that stuff.”

Ok, but why don’t you say it?  And not just privately to your friends or on a statement of faith somewhere, but in public?  You don’t have to be meaner, but you do have to be clearer.  You don’t have to unload the whole truck of systematic theology on someone, but to leave the impression that hell is no big deal is so un-Jesus like (Matt. 10:26-33).  And when you don’t talk about the need for faith and repentance you are very un-apostolic (Acts 2:38; 16:31).

“But we are just building bridges. We are relating to the culture first, speaking in a language they can understand, presenting the parts of the gospel that make the most sense to them. Once we have their trust and attention, then we can disciple and teach them about sin, repentance, faith and all the rest. This is only pre-evangelism.”

Yes, it’s true, we don’t have to start our conversations where we want to end up.  But does the New Gospel really prime the pump for evangelism or just mislead the non-Christian into a false assurance?  It’s one thing to open a door for further conversation.  It’s another to make Christianity so palatable that it sounds like something the non-Christian already does. And this is assuming the best about the New Gospel, that underneath there really is a desire to get the old gospel out.

Paul’s approach with non-Christians in Athens is instructive for us (Acts 17:16-34).  First, Paul is provoked that the city is so full of idols (16).  His preaching is not guided by his disappointment with other Christians, but by his anger over unbelief.  Next, he gets permission to speak (19-20). Paul did not berate people. He spoke to those who were willing to listen.  But then look at what he does.  He makes some cultural connection (22-23, 28), but from there he shows the contrast between the Athenian understanding of God and the way God really is (24-29). His message is not about a way of life, but about worshiping the true God in the right way.  After that, he urges repentance (30), warns of judgment (31), and talks about Jesus’ resurrection (31).

The result is that some mocked (32). Who in the world mocks the New Gospel? There is nothing not to like.  There is no scandal in a message about lame Christians, a loving God, changing the world, and how most of us are most likely not going to hell.  This message will never be mocked, but Paul’s Mars Hill sermon was. And keep in mind, this teaching in Athens was only an entre into the Christian message.  This was just the beginning, after which some wanted to hear him again (32).  Paul said more in his opening salvo than some Christians ever dare to say. We may not be able to say everything Paul said at Athens all at once, but we certainly must not give the impression in our “pre-evangelism” that repentance, judgment, the necessity of faith, the importance of right belief, the centrality of the cross and the resurrection, the sinfulness of sin and the fallenness of man–the stuff that some suggest will be our actual evangelism–are outdated relics of a mean-spirited, hurtful Christianity.

A Final Plea
Please, please, please, if you are enamored with the New Gospel or anything like it, consider if you are really being fair with your fellow Christians in always throwing them under the bus.  Consider if you are preaching like Jesus did, who called people, not first of all to a way of life, but to repent and believe (Mark 1:15).  And as me and my friends consider if we lack the necessary patience and humility to speak tenderly with non-Christians, consider if your God is a lopsided cartoon God who never takes offense at sin (because sin is more than just un-neighborliness) and never pours out wrath (except for the occasional judgment against the judgmental).   Consider if you are giving due attention to the cross and the Lamb of God who died there to take away the sin of the world. Consider if your explanation of the Christian message sounds anything like what we hear from the Apostles in the book of Acts when they engage the world.

This is no small issue. And it is not just a matter of emphasis. The New Gospel will not sustain the church. It cannot change the heart. And it does not save. It is crucial, therefore, that our evangelical schools, camps, conferences, publishing houses, and churches can discern the new gospel from the old.


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76 thoughts on “The Gospel Old and New”

  1. Steve Curtis says:

    This is so timely and important. I share your passion. Our evangelistic models ought to be Jesus, Peter, and Paul – not the warm and fuzzy notion of a white-bearded, avuncular God with a “boys will be boys” attitude. The degree to which the grace of God is amazing to us is directly proportionate to our awareness of our need for that grace. This “New Gospel” minimizes our need and, consequently, eclipses the glory of His grace. The sad reality is that any view of grace apart from the biblical one elevates the work and the potential of man in salvation, which results, of course, in no salvation at all. If we truly care about the eternal condition of someone’s soul, we must not placate their sinfulness or excuse their casual disregard for Truth; we must, rather, say with Christ, “Repent or perish.” This is not being “mean”; it is demonstrating the love of Christ. You are right in pointing out the the Gospel is, of necessity, offensive. Only after the offense can the healing Balm of Gilead be applied. Thanks again. God bless!

  2. EWR says:

    Yes – thank you Kevin. This is very well put. Thanks especially for taking the time to point out why the “New” Gospel is so attractive to so many in the evangelical fold. May God continue to bless your ministry.

  3. Dan Smith says:

    I’m very pleased to read this. One thing that I would like to see as a follow-up is some encouraging words and ideas for those of us who are trying to share the “old” (re: true) Gospel. I know the “just do it” idea works well, but your audience is mostly the “old” gospel type, so…any ideas?

  4. S.D. Smith says:

    Excellent, Kevin. Grace and truth. I think you nailed it.

  5. Nancy says:

    Another great post!

    This is EXACTLY the issue we have been dealing/struggling with at the Christian Camp/Conference center we attend each summer.

    Thanks again for the honesty with which you write!

  6. bob says:

    I hope a lot of people read this post. Nicely done.

  7. Phil Baiden says:

    “This is no small issue. And it is not just a matter of emphasis. The New Gospel will not sustain the church. It cannot change the heart. And it does not save.”

    As a minister in a mainline UK denomination I can tell you the truth of this statement. The denomination is dying and I can’t remember the last time the old Gospel was ever heard at one of our events. I’m thankful I read some old theologians in my training for ministry.

    Kevin, thanks for your books and blog. Be assured you’ve been a blessing to this minister across the pond and may God continue to bless your ministry in the future.

  8. EJ says:

    I enjoyed this post a great deal. I like the lay-out, the way you say what you think without reservation, and your willingness to stand up for what you believe.

    What stood out most to me was the end, “The New Gospel will not sustain the church. It cannot change the heart. And it does not save.” Isn’t it Christ who sustains the church? Isn’t it Christ who changes the heart? Isn’t it Christ who saves? The Gospel message is only philosophy or religion without Christ. It never could save us, change our hearts, or sustain the church. God did that.

    I find that both Old and New Gospel folks have a tendency to speak without thinking. The Old Gospel folks speak in equations, simplifying something that’s passionate and rowdy with something that’s boiled down and easy to put on a tract. Interesting that when we started evangelizing with those tactics the church actually started shrinking in first world countries. The New Gospel folks seem to dislike the Old Gospel without knowing why… they’ve been offered an answer in the New Gospel, so they repeat it to others.

    I wonder if it has anything at all to do with spiritual gifting… I hear the New Gospel from people who would never ever claim to have the gift of prophecy like Paul, and the New Gospel is easier to communicate.

    Also, as if I’ve not pooped out enough thoughts already, there are legit theological ideas related to the New Gospel. It will never be like the Old Gospel, but there may be space for both.

    With all my love,
    EJ

  9. Ellen says:

    There is only one gospel being preached. perhaps those who think what you describe as the “new” gospel is too warm and fuzzy don’t believe that the Good News can truly be transforming. The fear of an afterlife of hell ignores the hell that happens now.

  10. Steve Curtis says:

    Sadly, there is not only one Gospel being preached. Much as Paul warned against those preaching “another gospel” so we must be warned today against those who would seek to mitigate or water down the truth in an effort to make the Gospel more palatable. Many of Jesus’ disciples could not bear his hard sayings, and it is only when one is moved by the Spirit that the response echoes Peter: “Where else can we go?” If the GOspel being presented does not – intially – offend, it would seem to be a different Gospel from that found in the New Testament.

  11. Ed J says:

    Wow. Thank you.

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  13. Sean says:

    Thanks, Kevin, for sharing these timely truths. I appreciate your way of stating challening ideas in chewable chunks. What I struggle with as a local church pastor is those who God sovereignly guides through our front doors who seem to be apathetic and complacent to ANY Gospel, new or old. For them the key issue is “doing church”. My concern is that these dear ones have been inoculated with just enough “Christianity” to be immune to the real thing. I am praying and preaching in the expectant hope that the Holy Spirit is doing His work through God’s Word so that the Gospel will mightily display the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes.

  14. Joe Carter pointed to this as a response to Claiborne’s Esquire Piece http://bit.ly/4wFR9e which I thought was very helpful. This piece nicely accounts for some of my anxiety after reading Claiborne’s piece.

    The anxiety prompted by this response, however, is that its easy for us to critique but much harder to address the itch that this “New Gospel” is scratching. Its easy point out how it provides solutions on the cheap, but what it comes along side in a way the church is currently failing to do.

    Thanks for this though, it does illuminate and I think potentially moves the conversation forward. pvk

  15. Great insights Kevin, I was encouraged by your words. I just cannot help but wonder when Esquire will invite a guy like you (or me) to write a piece in their magazine.

  16. Mike Daniels says:

    the old gospel is tied to scripture. as “we” have allowed the erosion of our dependance to the current “we find scripture to be trustworthy”, we have lost much of the old gospel.
    if we can begin at “scripture is God’s word, God breathed, innerant and athoritaive over all portions of all believers lives” then the new gospel cannot follow.
    if we let the roots rot, the fruit must follow.

    Thanks again Kevin for a measured clear assesment of an all too common problem.

  17. Well said.

    I recently protested about such a presentation and was asked, “What is the heresy?”

    The heresy is not in what was said. It is in what gets left out.

  18. Adam says:

    God saved me 7 yearsago, I was 22, had never been to church and had no Christian friends or background, through a presenation of the old gospel.

    I am a sinner, separated from God. Jesus came to die in my place for my sins to bring me to God and live a new, eternal life in service to Him.

    It still works, it is still relevant, it is still true, Jesus still saves.

  19. Andrew Faris says:

    Kevin,

    This is a hard post for me, if it is indeed in response to Claiborne’s article specifically.

    For one thing, if it is not- if it is just a general, “these guys are out there and they’re popular” sort of thing- then is it so different from the New Gospel’s strawman caricature of Old Gospel folks?

    On the other hand, you’re certainly right: the New Gospel is growing in popularity, and I sure wish it wasn’t.

    If it is specifically Claiborne’s article, I have a couple thoughts:

    For one, his last paragraph is horrendous. No question about it.

    Second, the rest of the article is not so bad. Even this statement: “did not choose to devote my life to Jesus because I was scared to death of hell or because I wanted crowns in heaven… but because he is good” sounds like something some of us Reformed folks would say, except that it’s from Claiborne. And this: “Don’t get me wrong, I still believe in the afterlife, but too often all the church has done is promise the world that there is life after death and use it as a ticket to ignore the hells around us” is this kind of thing I hear David Platt saying all the time and Reformed people applauding.

    I suppose the point is that for all of the insight of this piece (and it is indeed quite insightful), I wonder if you’ve also done some caricaturing that is unfair. We do need to come down hard on a lot of this stuff, but we also need to celebrate when Christians who aren’t in our usual streams are reading the Bible, noticing things we’ve ignored, and bringing them to ours and everyone else’s attention.

    Sometimes this is just semper reformanda, isn’t it?

    Andrew Faris

  20. H1N1 says:

    We need both theology in words and theology in action to have a healthy and growing faith. Don’t assume you know everything about Shane’s life just from an article in a secular magazine. He grew up in the Bible Belt and was raised in an evangelical church where complacency was normal and doctrine was watered down and forced on people. His letter is speaking from experience—what he grew up with. He is seeing the hypocrisy of people and how it has hurt non-believers. He’s not necessarily speaking from an all-encompassing view of Christendom.
    True, his article seemed tainted against Christianity, but not so much against sound doctrine as against the unwillingness of church-goers to love their neighbor. If you read his books, you’ll see that he doesn’t really write about “How to evangelize” but rather how American culture has grabbed hold of the gospel of Christ and twisted it into something it’s not.
    It’s interesting that Shane is accused of becoming like the culture but it’s exactly the opposite. He writes about separating ourselves from materialism, complacency and comfort, nationalism, social Darwinism, etc. His primary audience in his books is people who fall into the trap thinking that Christianity only means going to church. Shane calls us to a whole life devoted to Christ, not just part.
    Also, Shane has been arrested for feeding the homeless and doing other acts of loving his neighbor. If you look at the scriptures, you find that, yes, Christ was finally arrested and convicted because he claimed to be God. But the authorities wanted to arrest him long before that and tried different ways to trap him and use own his words and actions against him (Mark 3:1-6, for example).
    Is it wrong to love our neighbor first before telling them about Christ? If we are supposed to be like Christ, aren’t we commanded to love people as He loves? And I agree this means comforting AND confronting.
    There is not ONLY ONE way to present the Gospel, but there is ONLY ONE Gospel to be presented.
    Overall, I’m glad there’s dialogue on both sides—faith without works is dead, and works without faith is also dead.

  21. Drew says:

    The New Gospel is old theological liberalism in a new package.

  22. EJ says:

    “If the GOspel being presented does not – intially – offend, it would seem to be a different Gospel from that found in the New Testament.”

    The Gospel didn’t offend the prostitutes and beggars that Jesus encountered… it offended the religious. It seems like the Old Gospel has that backwards; the religious remain unoffended while those outside of the christian world get flustered and put-out. What is more, christian subculture commends this backwards attitude.

    There was also a post by Ellen where she mentioned how fear of afterlife takes away from hell on earth. I think it also detracts greatly from the opportunities we have to recognize the Kingdom of God as it’s is currently breaking through in our world.

  23. Paul C says:

    Thanks for this very balanced message. There has been quite a lot of debate over this new method of apologizing, which is really an attempt to distance. And I don’t think that distancing is all that bad as there needs to be a clear distinction between religion and faith. But the attempts, like Claiborne’s for example, are so nebulous and jellyfish-like. Again, I found your overall statements, especially the conclusion, very intriguing.

    There’s a little discussion going on around him and Dan Kimball here: http://prophets-priests-poets.info/2009/11/23/they-like-jesus-but-not-the-church

  24. Jeff Strong says:

    What it is……

    Is found in 2 Peter 3rd chapter starting in verse 3 and take it through to 18.
    As for H1N1, and speaking as one who has been in jail in defense of the gospel and the unborn and the homeless and who pastors 3 churches filled with homeless, mentally challenged, and hookers and addicts and the rest of humanity that the church and society considers as non people except during Christmas and Thanksgiving there is this……
    If you take flour and put just the smallest amount of yeast in it in the course of time it will affect all the flour and if you tweak the Gospel of Jesus just a little bit it will in time pollute the whole church. Shane’s gospel is tweaked and more than just a little. But for that, your thinking is right on and I would encourage you to shift to the position of being a voice crying in the wilderness, for most of the body has ears, but they can’t see and they eyes, but they can’t see. Be their eyes, but do it in the power of the Holy Spirit, who is for ever faithful to Christ Jesus and who leads and teaches us all things according to God’s Word not man’s.
    Just remember what ever man creates dies and what ever God creates lives for ever.

  25. The underlying issue with those who present the New Gospel is that they never get around to presenting the Old Gospel. They say they are using the NG to build bridges, but they never finish the bridge, which requires the OG. The building bridges excuse is to placate those who confront them about their false gospel presentation. They never present the OG because in their minds the worst sin they can commit is to confront someone else about their sin.

  26. Steve Curtis says:

    “The Gospel didn’t offend the prostitutes and beggars that Jesus encountered…”

    Actually, the Gospel presupposes the Law. And it is the Law that offends, as it reveals our sin. The Gospel is the good news of salvation – but it is salvation from the wrath of God, the due penalty for our sin. Any other “salvation” – from poverty, illness, or what have you – is secondary. The only one who can be saved is the one who admits the need for a Savior to deliver him from the wages of sin. If there is no sin, there is no salvation. And if there is no proclamation of sinfulness (through the law), there is no real Gospel presentation.
    Granted, some are more aware of their sinfulness (e.g., the prostitutes who found redemption in Christ). Others, like the beggars (perhaps) only found temporal blessing (akin to the 9 lepers who did not return). Still others (e.g., Pharisees) found judgment. No one is saved on the basis of their being pitiful but on the basis of their acknowledgement of their sin against a holy God.
    Undoubtedly, one need not begin a evangelical conversation with condemnation; however, until the elements of God’s holiness and man’s sinfulness are adequately addressed, the notion of a Savior is, at best, merely a novel idea, and, at worst, presents a distorted view of salvation that is more at home in liberation theology than in orthodoxy.

  27. jake says:

    I would agree that Claiborne has a very lopsided view of the gospel, but he appears to be trying to practice what he reads in the New Testament.

    I fear that many of us would pride ourselves in “correct doctrine” yet our hearts are much less inclined towards sacrificial service.

    What is better, lopsided theology and mercy or correct theology and comfortable middle class materialistic evangelicalism where we send kids from the youth group to a foreign country once a year and call it missions? I would say that they are both equally lopsided.

    I personally think that the more theologically minded need to learn from our more liberal friends in not a few ways.

    Tim Keller seems to have been able to cultivate a balance between social justice mindedness as well as robust theological conviction.

  28. Eric T says:

    Orthodoxy and orthopraxy are intrinsically linked. They must go together. Faith (orthodoxy)without works (orthopraxy) is dead. We cannot forget this. Right belief is absolutely necessary! The Gospel is the good news of God’s saving us from sin exclusively through the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. A moment ago I cited James 2. Look at that passage about faith and works in context:

    “What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.” (James 2:14-17)

    While man does not live by bread alone, he needs bread nonetheless.

    We should combine the emphasis on good works and ministry to the poor with the “doctrinal,” if you will, Gospel.

    Remember, Jesus said to those who professed faith: “if you abide in my Word, then you are truly my disciples.” (John 8:31)

    There is a reason Joshua says not to stray to the right OR the left. We can go wrong both ways. In fleeing from one error, may we not run into one that is equal, yet opposite.

    =)

  29. EJ says:

    Yeah, Steve, I hear what you’re saying. Some respectable christian theology talks about it differently, though. It’s almost as if salvation is from sin and death itself, that God is saving us from that messed up junk inside of us, and that is what the story of God is about. Using the phrases like “wrath of God” and “penalty” is one way of doing it, and it works well in some places. Eastern Orthodox theologians talk about it differently. So do theologians like Gustaf Aulen in books like “Christus Victor.” Both are compelling, viable options.

  30. Steve Curtis says:

    EJ, the problem I have is that God Himself (through folks like Paul) talks about “wrath” and “the wages of sin” (i.e., penalty), and “enemies of God.” So, with all due respect, there is no “respectable” Christian theology that doesn’t include these ideas and, yes, I would even say, these exact phrases. Any theology that abrogates these doctrines has lost any legitimate claim to being “respectable” in my humble opinion. I’ll take the Puritans, for instance, over Aulen any day.

  31. Daniel says:

    There was a time when I would have competely agreed with your logic. When I meet him and saw his love for me, the true beauty of his mercy and grace, and the freedom it gave me to love him and others my mind didn’t change, my heart did, I’ve been following him ever since. My religion before was just a shadow. I walk in the new gospel, that is really older than the gospel you call “old”.

  32. John Thomson says:

    Excellent. Very, very helpful blog.

  33. Kathe says:

    In this age where “niceness” and comfority to pop culture is the new norm, is anyone surprised?

  34. Kirstin says:

    This is an excellent post! I wasn’t aware that it might be a response to an article by Shane Claiborne. I haven’t read his books, but I have a friend who has and talks about him all the time. I’m part of a mega-church that is preparing for its annual off-Broadway extravaganza Christmas Eve services, and I wonder if we shouldn’t embrace simplicity, as Claiborne apparently does.

  35. Sam Huggard says:

    It seems as though the new gospel is a reaction to the flawed “4 spiritual laws” approach, which leaves out the need to follow Jesus now and paints the goal of the gospel as an escape from the consequences of our sin later on and not freedom from sin itself. However, by trying to concentrate on how we can be part of Jesus’ mission now, the new gospel jettisons the way by which we are able to actually follow Jesus – the power of the Spirit that comes through belonging to Jesus and crucifying our sinful desires (Gal. 5:22-25).

    Thanks, Kevin, for this well-written explanation of the new gospel and defense of the Gospel of Jesus. If you haven’t already seen it, you can catch a glimpse of the new gospel message at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kCVcSiUUMhY.

  36. Kevin Adams says:

    Thought I would wade into this body of alligators, put a target on my back and wait for the criticism to begin. It has been 30 years since I became a Christian. I have found Christianity “as practiced” to be very unsettling. If we are indeed “New Creations” then why is there a striking similiarity between the “old me” and the “new me”. I can already hear it….I’ll tell you why…it is because of your sin, because you have not totally surrendered….because you have not faith….because you never were a Christian in the first place, blah, blah, blah. Is there any doubt that Christianity can offer up thousands of excuses for why it is that people’s faith seems to make little or no difference in their lives. Everyone knows the “right” answer. I have not seen any subject that is more divisive, controversial, and neverending than Christians arguing with each other on proper theology. Shouldn’t it be clear by now that no one has a lock on truth? I have enjoyed reading a number of Postmodern books. I don’t embrace all of it but have found quite a few golden nuggets there. I don’t find the need to label everyone as “Reform” or “Postmodern” or whatever and therefore marginialize their life or their faith. Here is the real shocker….I have not found that Jesus has been the answer to every problem that I have. As wonderfully positive as that sounds, life is full of struggles, contradictions, and idiosyncrasies. Sorry, got to go.

  37. Kevin,

    WOW! What a succinct and powerful assessment of where we are. I have a Reformation & Renewal Ministry, IgniteUS, Inc. and I am a Church Consultant. I constantly run head on into the “New Gospel”, especially when churches are seeking a new pastor.

    I will meet Tuesday with a Pulpit Committee and give them a copy of this article. I also added a quote from Reforming or Conforming – – confession must precede mission. THANKS

    In Grace,
    Tom

  38. Mich says:

    I cannot decide if you’re preaching the Gospel or Calvinism!

    Peace.

  39. Mike Daniels says:

    if we disregard any portion of scripture because “it does not work for me, or i don’t like the way it looks on others” then who exactly is lord?
    the new gospel is kind and giving and will accomplish many good temporal things. that is not what Christ died for.
    the new gospel doesn’t realy hinge on, or need a crucified savior, that almost makes it the gospel of the pharisees.
    it is pretty hard, it costs quite a bit, but humans can do it. in many ways it is even more demanding than submission to Christ as told in the scripture.
    we must never underestimate our ability and drive to self justify, and self gratify.

  40. Mike Daniels says:

    Andrew,
    do we really need to defend incorrect theology because it is closer than it used to be?
    to see progress in a life is great, to have that taught as correction, is to draw the norm toward that incorrect extreme.
    we have seen it for years in our politics, our morality and our theology, the new normal.
    we do not set the threshold God did, and He is unchanging.

  41. Israel says:

    The gospel shouldn’t be compromised to appease our minds, or to draw people. Thanks Kevin.

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Kevin DeYoung


Kevin DeYoung is senior pastor of University Reformed Church (PCA) in East Lansing, Michigan, near Michigan State University. He and his wife Trisha have six young children. You can follow him on Twitter.

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