Saturday, April 7, 2012

A Churchless Gospel-P. Horning

    This presentation of the gospel focuses on the first chapter of John and seven specific revelations found there. The gospel message is emphasized through the Word and its role in the good news of Jesus Christ. The pastor mentions Jesus as the eternal, personal, creative, life-giving, light-giving, saving, and incarnate word. He urges the congregation to see their individual futility and need for Christ and simply accept Jesus’ healing power to be saved.
            This presentation of the gospel is really quite good. The pastor states the powerful actions of God through Jesus, our powerlessness to gain our own salvation, and the work of Jesus to take away our sin on the cross. However, while this may be due to the short length of this message as well as the context, the message fails to address the communal importance of the gospel and Christian life. This factor can be seen in the “churchless” counterfeit gospel of Wax’s book. This counterfeit focuses just on an individual basis for the need of salvation and purpose and a church and community aspect is hardly mentioned.
            The presenter of this gospel stresses individual needs and an individual agenda for the saving news of the gospel. However this is only half of the necessary steps we need to take as believers. While we need to work through our faith individually, community and fellowship with other believers offers accountability for our lives and provides an authority. This view can lead to a self-righteous faith which sees only faults in the modern church and Christian community. While many contemporary Christians speak of the importance of getting back to the organic roots of the original churches, they fail to recognize that those churches had just as many problems as the churches of today. While a gospel message of individual salvation is a good first step to entering into the kingdom of God, it must be followed by a community-oriented faith and life.

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