John Stott – from Christian Mission in the Modern World:
What is the one, the changeless New Testament gospel? The first and the best answer would be to say that the whole Bible is God’s good news in all its astonishing relevance. Bible and gospel are almost alternative terms, for the major function of the Bible in all its length and breadth is to bear witness to Jesus Christ. Nevertheless, God’s revelation recorded in Scripture.
What is [the gospel]? God’s good news is Jesus.
How did the apostles present Jesus? Their good news contained at least five elements.
- The gospel events, as saving events.
- The gospel witnesses, by which I mean the evidence to which they appealed for its authentication.
- The gospel affirmations. (They concern not simply what he did more than nineteen centuries ago, however, but what he is today in consequence. “Jesus is Lord.”)
- The gospel promises (what Christ now offers and indeed promises to those who come to him – a new life in the present through the regeneration and indwelling of the Holy Spirit, who is also the guarantee of our future inheritance in heaven).
- The gospel demands (repentance and faith – and (in public) baptism.
What is the Good News?
The good news is Jesus. And the good news about Jesus which we announce is that he died for our sins and was raised from death. In consequence he reigns as Lord and Savior at God’s right hand and has authority both to command repentance and faith, and to bestow forgiveness of sins and the gift of the Spirit on all those who repent, believe and are baptized. And all this is according to the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments. It is more than that. It is precisely what is meant by “proclaiming the kingdom of God.” For in fulfillment of Scripture God’s reign has broken into the life of men through the death and resurrection of Jesus. This reign or rule of God is exercised from the throne by Jesus, who bestows salvation and requires obedience. These are the blessing and the demand of the kingdom.
– adapted from Christian Mission in the Modern World
(Check out the ongoing series entitled “Gospel Definitions” – the largest grouping of gospel definitions on the internet today.)