In yesterday's post, I highlighted an excerpt of Sze Zeng's article on NCC's building project where he said NCC "don't know what is a church and the gospel". In that article, Sze Zeng also provided a link to a 19/9/2008 article which he wrote, entitled "What is the Gospel?"
I append below Sze Zeng's conclusion in the 19/9/2008 article:
So now we know that the character of the Gospel, as we have seen, is not some vague divine messages. Neither is it some ‘prosperity’, ‘health and wealth’, or ‘hyper-grace’ news that guarantees emotional, psychological, monetary, or materialistic fulfilment in the first place.
The Gospel is first and foremost the reckoning of the presidential sovereign of Jesus. In St. Peter and St. Paul’s word, the Gospel is, “Jesus is Lord” (Acts 10.36, Romans 10.9, 2 Corinthians 4.5). In today’s term, it is, “Jesus is Prime Minister/President”.
The new order of God, which is personified in Jesus, is directed to liberate the socially and religiously marginalized people in the society, and among each individual within it. It concerns social justice and the whole community at large.
We do not have evident that shows Jesus to concern over individual financial aspiration or constraints. Neither do we have contextually-interpreted texts recording his promises of good health and abundant wealth to his disciples. His healings are not merely for the well being of individuals but the signs of his authority as the delegate who launched God’s agenda into the world.
The disarming love that underlies God’s agenda uncovers the significance and power for society to advance hope, peace, and love. Yet this love never stops critiquing and challenging individuals by its object of a crucified and resurrected Messiah of how such advancement can and should be done.
Therefore any ancient or present-day Gospel that is emptied of the message as exemplified through Jesus’ life and ministry, that Gospel is not the jargon of the Christian community as understood historically and through the church tradition. (Galatians 1.6-9)
"Coincidentally" Pastor Lawrence preached today on what the Gospel is. He began by quoting Romans 1:16-17 - "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.”"
The Gospel is about God revealing to us His righteousness and that we receive His righteousness through faith in Jesus. Peter and Paul showed us what the Gospel is through their preaching:
Acts 10:34-43 (NKJV)
34 Then Peter opened his mouth and said: “In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality. 35 But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him. 36 The word which God sent to the children of Israel, preaching peace through Jesus Christ—He is Lord of all— 37 that word you know, which was proclaimed throughout all Judea, and began from Galilee after the baptism which John preached: 38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him. 39 And we are witnesses of all things which He did both in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem, whom theye]">[e] killed by hanging on a tree. 40 Him God raised up on the third day, and showed Him openly, 41 not to all the people, but to witnesses chosen before by God, even to us who ate and drank with Him after He arose from the dead. 42 And He commanded us to preach to the people, and to testify that it is He who was ordained by God to be Judge of the living and the dead. 43 To Him all the prophets witness that, through His name, whoever believes in Him will receive remission of sins.”
Peter preached that whoever believes in Jesus will receive forgiveness of sins (v43). At that point, when Peter was still speaking those words to Cornelius and his household, the Holy Spirit fell upon them and the Jews who witnessed this were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit was poured out on the Gentiles too (Acts 10:44-45).
The Holy Spirit could not even wait for Peter to finish preaching his sermon and fell upon Cornelius and his household just when Peter was telling them that whoever believes in Jesus will receive forgiveness of sins but Acts 13:16-41 records a full sermon preached by Paul.
In that sermon, Paul also preached the same thing - whoever believes in Jesus will receive forgiveness of sins - "Therefore let it be known to you, brethren, that through this Man is preached to you the forgiveness of sins; and by Him everyone who believes is justified from all things from which you could not be justified by the law of Moses." (vv38-39)
"‘prosperity’, ‘health and wealth’" and "emotional, psychological, monetary, or materialistic fulfilment" are just the effects of believing the Gospel of Christ and should not be confused with being the Gospel.
This is the Gospel - through His name, whoever believes in Him will receive remission of sins. This is what NCC preaches and we are not ashamed of it!