[The gospel's] central proclamation is the good news of God's love and initiative not only to save us from hell, but also to bring us into healthy relationship with Himself.Bock goes on to state that the core of the gospel is "a restored relationship with God."
All that may seem pretty evident to people who have been around the church for a while, but then again maybe not. Bock goes on to say this:
Yet when I hear the gospel preached today, I am not sure I hear the presentation as good news. Sometimes, I hear a therapeutic call--that God makes us feel better or prosper more. Other times, I hear so much about Jesus paying for sin that the gospel seems limited to a transaction--the removal of a debt.... Still other times, I hear a presentation that makes the gospel seem more about avoiding something from God versus experiencing something from Him. Other presentations make me think Jesus came to change politics in the world. Such political presentations make me wonder why God did not send Jesus to Rome rather than Jerusalem.I do think this issue is critical for all of us who call ourselves followers of Christ. I find that for many of us the choice seems to be between a therapeutic message, a go-to-heaven message, or (if you go to one of those self-styled conservative Bible-preaching churches) a transaction -- the paying of my sin debt.
I'm enthused about Bock's message here. More on this in the coming days.