Michael Horton: What is the Gospel?

(Source: What is the Gospel?)

Horton states that the Gospel is “a very precise term. It is not equivalent to whatever is good and important in Christianity. Gospel is a very particular word, or kind of speech in the Bible. From Genesis to Revelation the Gospel is God’s promise of a Son who will crush the serpents head, forgive the sins of His people, raise them from the dead, and give them ever lasting life solely on the basis of His grace for the sake of Christ.”

He also states that the Gospel “never tells us something to do. The Gospel tells us about something that’s been done.” He addresses the statements such as living and doing the Gospel by explaining that we need to do the Law. He says doing the Gospel is a category mistake. If we confuse Law and Gospel we will “make ourselves partly our own saviors.”

Whether you agree with Dr. Horton or not, I’m sure most will agree with some of his final words that we need “greater clarity on what we mean by the Gospel.”


in Church Issues,Gospel,theology

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Scott Gordon February 16, 2011 at 10:10 am

I’ve been following this issue since Frank Turk’s open letter. While I appreciate Dr. Horton’s concerns, I more thoroughly concur with Frank’s assertions in his letter. I do agree with Dr. Horton that we don’t “do the Gospel.” That phrase is absurd. What I find problematic is that Dr. Horton relegates all Gospel-talk to assertions of past historical fact, and therefore asserts that we must only talk about The Gospel rather than those ‘other things.’ My problem with his assertion is that what I see Christ calling his church to be is Gospel-centered. The Christian life is living in the grace-given power of the Gospel. Indeed, The Gospel is not 12 steps to a happy, healthy home…but…a joyous, peace-filled home is only achieved through the power of Gospel living.

Sola Gratia!

2 Bryson May 31, 2011 at 12:31 am

Here is my definition of “The Gospel”. I believe this definition combines a systematic understanding and application of scripture and God’s original (and ultimate) plan…
The “Gospel” is the proclamation, re-introduction, and tangible encroachment of the Kingdom of God in and on the earth.

I think that covers it. How do you feel about this definition?


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