Thursday, April 21, 2011

A Two Word Story Revisited

I try not to recycle the postings to this site. However, the time is right to update a posting from several months ago. This has to do with an initiative of several hundred churches in the metropolitan Detroit area to present the Gospel message to the entireity of this region in the forty days after Easter. This initiative goes under the acronym of E.A.C.H. - Everyone A Chance to Hear.

A key component of this initiative is something called the "Two Word Story."The website will be The idea is that you will have a word which summarizes a personal aspect of how you came to faith in Christ. For myself, if I were to use a two-word story, it would be the standardized form of that word into a question and then and exclamation. Thus

Trust? Trust!

Let me offer what is my real two word story. It is "the gospel." The word "gospel" comes fro the old English for "good tale" or more literally "good news." Indeed, that is what the Gospel is. It is good news.

In the midst of many "two word stories" which you might be hearing, it must be remembered that, ultimately, this is the only one and actual "two word story."

It involves the announcement of what God did for us humans in the work of His Son, Jesus. While many may be anxious to tell others what Jesus did for them, the proper emphasis must be kept. It is not what Jesus did for ME. It is what JESUS DID for me and for others. In our very individual-oriented culture, my strongest concern about this movement is that fellow Christians might, inadvertantly, center in on the story of their own encounter with Christ and start and END with that. That would be a dreadful mistake. Their experience is the effect. What Christ did in history for us is the cause.

The good news of the Gospel will be (and is) true whether we have internally experienced it or not. When someone tells others of their subjective experience, what differs that experience from anyone else's experiences? Some might have have a "mystical moment" while looking at a sunset, scoring the winning basket in a basketball game or even while under the influence of alcohol or some other mind-altering substance. The Gospel is NOT an emotional personal experience.

Nor is the Gospel something which we are. We cannot "be the Gospel" to others. Such a statement, as it stands, is a category error. It would be similar to bearing the news to a worker that they just received a 100% salary increase effectively immediately. As the message bearer, you are not the salary increase. You merely pass along such good news to the worker. However, if stated correctly, EACH is trying to live out the effects which the Gospel has had on our lives and pass that along in a genuine desire to do good for others in the community. That is commendable.

The good news of Christ as presented in the Bible is an objective announcement. It would be just as true if you live or if you had never existed. It is not about us but rather what Christ did for us.

One of the best summaries of this ultimate good news (the Gospel) which I have ever read is found in an article by Michael Horton called The Great Announcement (linked here) I highly suggest you read it and reflect upon what it says. Christ's followers have been privileged to tell everyone about this good news. Once believed, this good news does bring us joy. We cannot help but inwardly (and outwardly) rejoice when we have placed our lasting trust in the living Jesus, whose work on Earth is the core of the Gospel. My real two word story is "The Gospel."