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I love Paul’s words to the gathering of Jesus in Corinth! He said: But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Jesus, the Christ. (II Corinthians 11)I’ve always liked what he warns as a “tendency to have your minds led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Jesus.”
Several years ago, I had the privilege of meeting with the editorial staff team of a large ministry to children, known for their evangelism efforts and success. In discussion with the editorial leadership I asked them a question, “What is the Gospel?” The answer was absolutely amazing! It was, “Well, it’s complicated.” “In what way?”, I asked. Their response was to say, “There are several elements to what the Gospel is.” I said, “How many, do you think? Maybe 4 or 5?” “Yes, about 5!”, they said. I asked, “What are they?”
Well, not one of the editorial team could name the 4 or 5 elements of the Gospel. I said, “Well, that’s OK. Let’s just say there are 5. What if a person believes only 3 or 4 of the 5 elements? Will the person get into heaven or not?” They weren’t sure how that might work. When I shared with them that I have come to believe that the Gospel is simply Jesus, they were relieved and a bit pleased.
This exact conversation occurred, when meeting with the President of the organization. He used the exact same terminology. “It’s complicated” and “There are probably 5 elements to the Gospel.” He couldn’t list the 5 elements either.
Remember, this is one of the most “successful” Christian ministries to children!They raise millions of dollars every year to articulate the Gospel message to millions of children and are unable to explain it in the simplest of terms. The Gospel is not complicated and doesn’t have a lot of elements to it.
When you attempt to define the Gospel as more than simply Jesus, the real Good News gets lost in the process. If it’s complicated, it’s man-made, ego-centered, and temporary. If it’s simple, it’s a God-thing, Jesus-centered, and eternal! Jesus is the Gospel (Good News)! If Jesus is missing, then the Gospel is missing! If simply Jesus is missing, then there is no outreach.
There is no bad news in Jesus and it’s a simple relationship with him! Now, that’s good news!