Doctor of Leadership in Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

A Preacher, A Teacher, A Printer

Written by: on April 10, 2015

I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about the Gospel and what it means to be lived out. As I look around my community I notice more and more that we’ve lost the simplicity, the purity, the joy and the power that comes through building our lives on the Gospel. We’ve complicated things so much that we’ve reduced it to a handful of good works and church attendance. I wonder what it would mean to live out the Gospel life…

Reading through “Global Evangelicalism” this week I was reminded of a few things…

First, the Gospel is at the root of evangelicalism… it doesn’t matter how you define it, or the branches that come out of it… the root is the gospel. If we didn’t have that we wouldn’t have anything.

I really appreciated the way Mark Noll broke down the key ingredients of evangelicalism. He says that the four key ingredients are: conversion, the Bible, activism and the cross (p20). I don’t know if I would put them in that order, but I think that I agree. At the end of the day, these are the things that matter the most… and these are the things that determine how we live our lives in light of the Gospel and in light of our relationships with people.

Bottom line is this, “the Gospel is the biblical message that addresses every dimension of human experience and need.” (p46) If we don’t live it out in every dimension of our lives and in every experience, then we’ve missed the point… not only have we missed the point but also we fail to reach people.

Wilbert Shenk says, “Social reform is good, but it is not the Gospel. Education is good, but it is not the Gospel. Medical work is good but it is not the Gospel. Indeed, these matters, good as they are, may destroy the Gospel.” (p54) He goes on to quote Samuel Escobar in saying, “the temptation for evangelicals is to reduce the Gospel, to mutilate it, to eliminate any demands for the fruit of repentance… the church… must stress the need for the whole Gospel of Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord whose demands cannot be cheapened…” (p57) – I can’t get this quote out of my mind. I wonder if it’s true? I wonder if the condition of the church today is as it is because we’ve reduced the standards of the Gospel and have cheapened the sacrifice that was made on our behalf on the cross? I wonder if for the sake of being inclusive we’ve diluted the message… not that inclusivity is wrong, or has gone too far… but I wonder what Christ-like inclusivity looks like?

Second, the expansion of the Gospel is very messy… from Europe to the Americas and into Asia… this took time, commitment and sacrifice. We do live in a globalized world, but the spreading of the Gospel takes the same time, commitment and sacrifice that it took at the beginning.

This week’s reading stirred in me a desire to have a deeper held conviction and commitment to the Gospel.

About the Author

Stefania Tarasut

5 responses to “A Preacher, A Teacher, A Printer”

  1. John Woodward says:

    Great post this week, Stefania. You hit on some great points that I have also been coming to grips with. Over and over, the question of “what is the Gospel” kept coming back to me…something that I needed to get a handle on. I was listening to lecture yesterday as I drove to South Dakota that talked about the center of our faith being “Jesus is Lord” – that we often get the “Jesus is Savior” right, but we seem to leave off and are less keen on His Lordship. In so doing, we dampen down the Gospel and the message of what Jesus really wants to do in our lives and in the world, because we miss out on who Jesus really is! So, the Gospel is becoming so much bigger and fuller for me! Sounds like the same is happening for you! Keep learning and being inspired!

  2. Liz Linssen says:

    Hi Stefania
    I love your post! I love the quotes you included, and i do agree. Have you heard of the Bible study program, ‘Not a Fan’ by Kyle Idleman? What you wrote reminded me of that. It’s a bible study we’re about to start at our church, and I do wonder how people are going to respond. It challenges people to not simply be fans, but to be true followers who take up their crosses. Back to the original Gospel! As he says, usually we don’t hear that included in gospel invitations. So true. Thank you Stefania. A great post.

  3. rhbaker275 says:

    Stefania – your post points out the kind of self-reflection that we all need to experience.

    Through this week’s reading, like you, I sensed the “Good News” as central to my own personal life and the centrality of Jesus as the message. You point out that “the Gospel is the biblical message that addresses every dimension of human experience and need.” It was in this context that Wilbert Shenk relates the comprehensive gospel for the “whole person,” thus requiring the means of witness to “be flexible in order to enable the missionary to touch all aspects of life.” The natural next step is that ordinary Christians actively participate in Christian witness and mission. Noll indicates it this “wholeness” that makes the good news “a faith with a global vision.”

    I believe we all need to understand the personal nature of being involved in the proclamation of the good news. But how do we achieve this awareness and commitment. It must be through constant personal renewal. As Noll states if it is “’News’ it implies the need for the message to be spread.” Shenk refers to the four points that are “hallmarks of pietism:”
    1. Intensive Bible study,
    2. Recovery of the priesthood of all believers
    3. Relating Christian faith to daily life; and
    4. Seeking to win unbelievers to faith through compassion and positive example

    This is a good path toward personal renewal and discovery.

  4. Stefania,

    Your post got me thinking about the Gospel. What is the Gospel really? How should it affect our lives? How should those who know the Gospel affect others’ lives? These are questions that I do not take lightly.

    In my experience, the Gospel is powerful when it first comes into a life. However, it seems that with most people I have known (including myself), the Gospel and its transforming power wears down over time. And, it has also been my experience that many who preach the Gospel the loudest don’t know how to live it — particularly leaders. And that is why I left full-time ministry many years ago. I was tired of seeing this again and again. So, I find myself with many, many questions about the Gospel. Yes, I believe it; I have for almost 50 years. But do I live it? Embody it? Share it? Love it? These are questions that your post has prompted me to think about. Thanks for the stimulation.

    I look forward to having a conversation about these things in Hong Kong.

  5. Ashley Goad says:

    Stefania, how do we live out the Gospel? Whoa. That’s a great question. And just as important, how are we teaching our congregations how to live out the Gospel? Looking back on this last week, I wonder, did I live out the Gospel fully? Did I even begin to touch upon living out the Gospel? And what does that mean exactly? Does it mean the same to everyone? I tend to think of it as loving God and others. Or living those four E points that Pastor Louis mentioned… Or “Believe, Belong, Become.” 🙂

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