Saturday, September 16, 2006

Quotes about the Gospel

My co-blogger (Joel Willitts) and myself have come up with a rather novel and subversive idea, namely, that the centre of Evangelicalism is not inerrancy, complementarianism, or the confession (i.e. the 1689 LBC, the only truly reformed confession :). Instead, the centre of Evangelicalism is the evangel! Whoa! Now before you say, "Avert your eyes children, he may change form!" Or, "Let's burn this heretec like a grilled cheese burger" hear me out. I'm not denying the veracity and utility of those other things, but they are not the sine qua non of Evangelicalism. For us what defines, characterizes, shapes, inspires, drives, nourishes, and permreates Evangelicalism and and Evangelical Theology should be the evangel!!!

What the word ‘evangelical’ will objectively designate is that theology which speaks of the God of the Gospel.
- Karl Barth, Evangelical Theology: An Introduction (trans. Grover Foley; Great Britain: Collins, 1963), 11.

A renewed theology will be evangelical, that is, centered on the gospel of reconciliation and redemption as attested in Holy Scripture.
- Donald G. Bloesch, A Theology of Word and Spirit: Authority and Method in Theology (Downers Grove: IVP, 1992), 124.

Evangelical Theology should be a Theology of the Gospel.
- Kevin J. Vanhoozer, ‘The Voice and the Actor: A Dramatic Proposal about the Ministry and Minstrelsy of Theology,’ in Evangelical Futures: A Conversation on Theological Method, ed. John G. Stackhouse (Regent: Regent College Publishing, 2000), 61.

To be ‘evangelical’ is to read Scripture in the light of the euangelion that lies at its heart.
- Francis Watson, ‘An Evangelical Response,’ in The Trustworthiness of God: Perspectives on the Nature of Scripture, eds. Carl Trueman and Paul Helm (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2002), 287.

Revelation does not merely bring the gospel: the gospel is revelation.
- Klyne Snodgrass, ‘The Gospel in Romans: A Theology of Revelation,’ in Gospel in Paul, eds. L. Ann Jervis and Peter Richardson (JSNTSup 108; Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1994), 108.

The gospel stands at the beginning of the story that explains why there are Christians at all, on the boundary between belief and unbelief – often, for the hearer, prior to a knowledge of the Bible itself. For the person entering from the outside, the gospel is the introduction to the faith, the starting-point for understanding. It then rightly becomes the touchstone of the faith. Since this is where faith begins, it is essential that faith continues to conform to it.
- Peter Jenson, The Revelation of God (Downers Grove, IL: IVP, 2002), 32.


David Ker said...

Totally awesome! Sign me up. But I've got a question: What's the gospel? And another question. Are we supposed to pronounce "Euangelion" like "oo-angelion" or "evangelion?"

Michael Pahl said...

Amen! I was just thinking today (for the umpteenth time) how ironic (mild word) it is, for example, that the Evangelical Theological Society has nothing directly about the evangel in its statement of faith, a statement that all members are required to agree with before belonging to this "Evangelical" society. But I'll stop before I get into a rant on a blog that's not my own and jeopardize my ETS membership before I even present my first ETS paper... :-)

Matthew D. Montonini said...

Mike and Joel,
Great points. I think when viewed from this perspective, the term "evangelical" becomes less stigmatized.

Nate Mihelis said...

Truly innovative and subversive. Careful or you might just turn the whole world upside down :-) Great stuff!

Derek Brown said...

Brilliant. And simply brilliant at that!

David Shedden said...

Do the people you cite agree on what the evangel actually is? :-)

Sylvanus said...

Fantastic !

Quote: A renewed theology will be evangelical, that is, centered on the gospel of reconciliation and redemption as attested in Holy Scripture.

Reconciliation is the very best evangel proclaimed.

(lingamish: notice the bold part above)

Quote: Revelation does not merely bring the gospel: the gospel is revelation.

Sounds simple, but often forsaken as michael rightly says.

Quote: the gospel is the introduction to the faith

Too true. Too much is made of the rest of the NT, while the Gospels are kind of left behind a bit.

I really look forward to your posts

Thank you

exegetical fallacy said...

Wonderful post! And it's exciting to see so many that agree!!
I was wondering how ethics/obedience would play into this, however. I mean, you can practice beastiality, beat your wife, and yet still be a member of ETS - and for the most part, 'endorse' the type of gospel you laid out. Perhaps you can tease out what it is to be reconciled and redeemed a bit more since these can mean different things to different folk. Would it be too much to say that to be 'evangelical' is to be radically and holistically transformed by the gospel?

stc said...


Few Christians would disagree with anything you have affirmed — including me, and I'm a liberal.

Are you willing to stand by the implications of your position? Would you accept me as an evangelical because of my commitment to the message of reconciliation, even though I deny the inerrancy of scripture and harbour doubts about the deity of Jesus?

As for Michael's comment —

I know the statement of faith doesn't represent the entirety of what the Evangelical Theological Society believes. But I am always shocked when evangelicals emphasize the Trinity — a doctrine which is not directly taught in scripture, but is at most an inference — rather than the evangel, which is explicitly taught in Ro. 4:25, 6:23, 2Co. 5:17-21 and so on and so forth.