Jean’s Gospel: Declare These Things

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71 Responses

  1. Owen says:

    Thank you, Jean, for a very well-laid-out article. While I am not in any formal teaching capacity ( beyond my own children ), this is quite helpful.

    I think the main difficulty I have found in bringing the Good News is the recipients attitude – “Why do I need saving?” I’m glad this, too, is the work of the Spirit – convicting someone of their need for repentance.

  2. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Owen, to the hard hearted or hard headed – the ones who fight you, you give them nothing but the law and tell them why they are going to hell.
    No Gospel for them today.

  3. Owen says:


    Upon first reading your comment, I was a little taken aback – then I remembered how Jesus himself spoke with the Pharisees… not a whole lotta love there.

  4. Babylon's Dread says:

    The announcement of Good News must always have a context… Paul made his announcement in the synagogues to the faithful hearers of torah and to those God fearing Gentiles who were pre-convert disciples of Moses and the Prophets.

    The primer on reformed theology touches the requisite points of the reformation.

    The Gospel is the announcement of God’s faithful fulfillment of his promises to send forth a king who would rule not only Israel but the nations having been vindicated by his destruction of the works of the devil and conquest of sin’s recompense by death and resurrection.

    Good news is a simple announcement of the risen (anointed) king and his further promise to give forgiveness and the Spirit to those who believe.

  5. Babylon's Dread says:

    and Owen,

    Death is why. It is the whole matter. Death comes to all. We explain that death came by sin and that that Jesus came and destroyed him who had power over us all by the fear of death.

  6. Jean says:

    Thank you Owen.

    It’s great that you are teaching your own children the Christian faith. I grew up in a house where my mom dropped my sister and I off at Sunday school and totally outsourced Christian education to the church. I don’t recommend my parents’ model.

    I’ve read convincing data that shows that parent involvement in church (especially father figures) correlates highly with children remaining in the faith after they graduate from high school.

    I know there are always exceptions to the rule, but going with the odds is usually a good approach.

  7. Owen says:

    BD – well said, thank you.

    Jean – I wasn’t raised in a Christian household either, so I can relate. My mother dropped us off at Sunday school (because it was “the thing you did with the children” then.) My Dad mentioned nothing about faith at all. My mother also sent us to a local Christian summer camp, where I received faith. My two sisters are non-Christian to my knowledge, and do not discuss religion. I am the exception, by the grace of God.

    I have to agree regarding parental involvement – our church greatly consists of families with generational involvement. But it has to be modeled and taught in the home even more – as a former Pastor of ours often said during a Baptism service, ” we only get them once a week – their Christian education is your responsibility!”

    On the flip side, I have also seen apathy arising in families raised in the church, usually in the 2nd or 3rd generation.

  8. Em ... again says:

    reading good comments to Jean’s thoughtful and thorough presentation… i agree that what we can/should say is mostly situation dependent… Peter urged us to always be ready with an answer for the hope that lies within us and i have failed that i know… 1 Pet 3:15

    i read Jean’s requests 1 & 2 and thought, “oh, that’s easy, i’ll go to my files and copy a portion from a book i wrote for my grandchildren.” a romance novel centered around a PBY crew and a doctor in WW2… (yes, the gospel was my motivation for writing)
    i dug it up and realized that i’d have to copy several pages, so i spare you…
    as noted, our answers are mostly situation dependent and sometimes we can even think we’ve given a lame answer and yet find that it has great impact when the Holy Spirit brings the words to life… IMHO

  9. Jean says:


    I am in total agreement with your #5. I’m chewing on your #4. I think there are some good thoughts in your summary of the Gospel (the last 2 paragraphs).

    However, based on your second paragraph of #4, in which you seem to be implying that something in the article may not be theologically relevant to today in the context of evangelism or as a Gospel illustration (or perhaps you see reformation era errors), could you be a little more specific in terms of where in the article you would take issue?

    I can also use your feedback to sharpen my message if I have erred at any point.

  10. Jean says:


    I’ve had pastors tell me that some of the sermons they thought were the worst were the very ones in which someone told them later had a great impact on them or their situation at the time. I agree that the Holy Spirit brings the words to life, and I would add works individually in each of us.

  11. Em ... again says:

    #7-i have mentioned that i was raised by my very devout grandparents… my mother made them promise that they wouldn’t indoctrinate me with their faith – they never did so overtly, they just lived it – growing up in the height of the depression in a small town of great wealth, some of my grandparents’ children blamed their privations on the strict form of Christianity they were raised in and rejected the faith as illusory … the devil lurks just outside the door to our homes “seeking whom he may devour” …. or some words to that effect

  12. JoelG says:

    Is there a place in the North America where the Gospel hasn’t been declared, at least in words? Declaration is good, of course. Living out the Kingdom is even better. Our society is in information overload. Practicing the Kingdom of Jesus will declare the Good News better than words alone.

  13. Jean says:


    Your point about practicing what one believes is well taken.

    Where I live, only about 15% of people go to church. Many people are growing up today in families where Christianity is not taught or practiced. Bible literacy is heading lower and lower, even among church goers.

    There also are quite a few churches that don’t preach the pure Gospel, some like Osteen’s church, that are huge.

    I believe that right here in America will in the not to distant future be a great mission field, and we’ll see missionaries coming here on mission.

  14. Papias says:

    30 minutes to share the Gospel? Who gets that much time to share the Gospel? lol 🙂

    When I was looking for work I was attending job search groups, where they speak about your “elevator speech” – If you only had 30 seconds to a minute to share your job story – what would you say?

    Same thing with the Gospel – how can you it explain quickly and concisely if that’s all you get? Being prepared is what I speak of here.

    Some may not get the Bad news with the Good news this way, but it depends on the way the Spirit leads…

  15. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I will disagree with Babs at #4 – the gospel is not about sending a king to rule, except by extension. The gospel is about Jesus coming and dying for our sin, because without that, we are still dead.

    Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, 2 and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.

    3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. 6 Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. 7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. 8 Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me.

    Paul makes the gospel simple.

  16. JoelG says:

    “There also are quite a few churches that don’t preach the pure Gospel, some like Osteen’s church, that are huge.”

    Most certainly Jean. Thank you.

  17. Jean says:

    I wonder if theologians like N. T. Wright and Scot McKnight like to focus on Christ’s kingship as a way of promoting their kingdom on earth projects, which are popular with young people, while minimizing Christ’s priestly office, by which he gave his life as a ransom for many in order to redeem us from sin, because talk of crucifixion, sin, judgment and damnation are not very popular with young people.

  18. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I think folks who emphasize a kingdom / king / kingship (whichever) like the thought of crowns more than blood. 😉

  19. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    The good news is only good because the bad news is so bad.
    The law needs to be preached first with all it’s ugliness and terror before you can ever come along with the good news – because as Owen said you get stop with “why do I need saving?”

    That should never be asked, because they should have already heard why.

  20. Michael says:


    Very well done today, thank you.

    BD’s synopsis is correct in many ways, but the error in my view is twofold.

    First, it forgets that while the context of the Gospel proclamation was exactly what he declares in the first century, both the context and the hearers have changed. Our culture is not awaiting the long promised Messiah…

    Second, it takes too much of a corporate application…a group is still made up of individuals and belief is an individual necessity.

    It is well and good to understand what a covenant is, it is better to know how to come under the covenant…

  21. Owen says:

    Em – I like that, your grandparents living out their faith and still not going against your parents’ wishes. Well done on their part!

    MLD – and the gospel is simple. So simple as to seem quite foolish, actually….

    Have more to say, but the family wants to go to the beach. We are off.

  22. Michael says:

    I love the kingdom message of Wright and others.

    If we embraced it, we would understand that we have been made a new “nation”, a peculiar people who do not seek earthly power and influence, but announce that reign of Christ and live as kingdom citizens.

    It would destroy the eschatological claptrap in favor of being a people who seek the kingdom in it’s fullness and the day when heaven and earth become one instead of escaping earth completely.

  23. JoelG says:

    “I think folks who emphasize a kingdom / king / kingship (whichever) like the thought of crowns more than blood.”

    I think the thought of both crowns AND blood reveal the upside down Kingdom of Jesus.

    Michaels right on the money. If the church would pray and meditate on the Beatitudes and try living them out in the world the Gospel would be declared like never before in this country on a grass roots, subversive level.

  24. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    My mistake – I thought we were discussing the gospel.

  25. Papias says:

    I think we have moved from the Gospel (that saves) to the Gospel (living it out)…

  26. Em ... again says:

    can you separate the gospel and the kingdom? good news: God’s only begotten Son, miraculously born to a virgin Jewess, was sent to die as a propitiation for all who believe and repent – in doing so you’ll escape eternity in hell… The End …?… say what?

  27. Jean says:

    Take a close look at the text, Titus 2:11-14. Notice who is performing all of the verbs in the text.

  28. JoelG says:

    Exactly Em. Now what? We are free to love.

  29. London says:

    There is no kingdom without a king (or queen, but in this story, a king)

  30. JoelG says:

    “Notice who is performing all of the verbs in the text.”

    All Jesus.

  31. Al says:

    I love Jesus, his teachings, his narrative, his example.

    Not a fan of those who claim to be his pastors (present company excluded) or those claiming to be his Institution or his Religion.

  32. Al says:

    Do you need to accept Gurus, Teachers, Institutions and Religion to be “saved”?

    Or can you simply have faith in Jesus?

  33. Al says:

    Is faith in Jesus enough? Do I have to have “correct doctrine”? Do I have to do stuff?

    I think the true Gospel is grace and mercy and a faith we cannot nearly quantify…a faith in Jesus that we cannot accurately describe or understand…though each Sect, each Denomination, each Group and each Guru certainly try.

    Can I be good enough? Moral enough to be saved? No. Even the most moral person dies “in sin” and cannot extricate themselves from “all” sin. Most of us will die in any number of sins we never conquer.

    Is faith in Jesus enough to save us from those ongoing sins? I hope so. I think that is the true Gospel message.

  34. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    From the article Jean says “Jesus, through means of grace, sends the Holy Spirit who will purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works. This also is God’s work. “[F]or it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” (Phil 2:13)”

    This is all a Jesus thing and a part of Jesus’ saving work on the cross. This is the reason a Lutheran does not make a separation between justification and sanctification – Jesus saves and changes – one move.

  35. Em ... again says:

    faith in Jesus doesn’t quite cover it… Matthew 16:13-17 (if i have my reference correct)

    for instance, Judas believed in Jesus – i think that he thought he’d latched onto the gravy train… but the guy obviously had no fear of God IMHO

  36. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    ” Most of us will die in any number of sins we never conquer.”
    It’s a good thing that sin has not been the issue since that Good Friday long ago.

  37. Em ... again says:

    #33-i can amen that 🙂

  38. Babylon's Dread says:

    I appreciate the coherent interaction and intend to reply as we only help each other in these kind of exchanges.

  39. Jean says:

    Titus (and pastors today), probably could have preached a six part series based on this little passage.

    “our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession”

    Look at the high Christology. The atonement. The redemption from sin and our bondage in Satan’s kingdom. And he sanctifies us by His blood. Has Christ left anything out?

  40. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Well, it’s like I always say – Jesus Repents us – Justifies us – Sanctifies us – and Glorifies us. Christ alone.

  41. Al says:

    “for instance, Judas believed in Jesus”

    Judas appears to be a one-off unique example and an exception. He betrayed Jesus but he tried to repent by returning the silver and expressed remorse for his actions. He couldn’t “repent” however….similar to “satan”…bible says Judas was actually predestined to betray Jesus and to go to hell (whatever hell is in reality). Sucks to be Judas.

    Plus there are many so-called gurus who claim Judas did not really believe in Jesus, not as Messiah. I disagree, I think he likely believed in Jesus as “God” b/c he witnessed the supernatural miracles etc…I just think Judas, like the devil (if the devil is an entity/being) was created to be bad and played his role as he was intended to do (so says the bible).

  42. Al says:

    MLD, agreed. Likely the case.

  43. Al says:

    MLD, god gave me T-rex prosthetic arms. Can I get an upgrade? 🙂

  44. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Al, just remember – everyone has enough faith, because it is faith from God and not faith in God.

  45. Al says:

    I actually think I agree, but open that I’m wrong. Irregardless, I love Jesus and what he taught and exampled and I “believe” in him, his essence, his reality, his spirit etc. It is “the good” and he is the “logos of God” or “God’s word”

  46. Al says:

    …what I think I understand from my interpretation of reading the bible (applies to all Gurus in all Sects and Denoms etc)…is NOT “God’s Logos/God’s Word”….Jesus is.

  47. Al says:

    Where’s Rolph? All the way back to Logos…after 7 years.

  48. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Al, “MLD, god gave me T-rex prosthetic arms. Can I get an upgrade?”

    It shows you what an effective teacher I am – you remember that all these years later. 😉

  49. Babylon's Dread says:


    Flesh our “came and died for our sins” It calls up all kinds of questions for unlearned hearers

  50. Babylon's Dread says:

    The Gospel as the announcement of the King is still relevant because Rome wasn’t looking for him and the apostles announced Jesus as the anointed king to them as well. Further, most people today are no wringing their hands about their sins. That proclamation of the Gospel was very relevant to the 16th century in the throes of a Catholic narrative that demanded indulgence.

    We do indeed have a relevance issue with the Gospel in today’s world. But, again, death keeps resurrection life relevant. Furthermore I enunciated the Gospel as the promise of both the forgiveness of sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit … which 1) is very personal and not corporate 2) is exactly true to the kerygma of Acts, specifically the Pentecost announcement of the Gospel 3) it is faithful the mission statement of all four Gospels which proclaim that Jesus will baptize them in the Spirit … which I think, is the central mission statement of the new covenant. He deals with sin and he gives the Spirit.

    I know we agree more than disagree about these matters or at least I think we do…

    The issue of how salvation is administered and received would probably take us afield with one another but the essence of the Gospel should not take us off too far.

    And finally Michael

    I would love to hear how you would contextualize the message for relevance. For me context is the text more than our present context but both matter.

  51. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    ” For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures,”

    I plagiarized Paul 😉 – But I do like that Paul placed that as the first importance and I do realize that this is the old Paul before NTW got a hold of him.

  52. Babylon's Dread says:


    It is also before ole Martin got hold of him.

  53. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I pointed out 1 Cor 15 for the clear statement by Paul as to not only was the gospel message but what was at the forefront of that message – Christ dying for our sin.

    To move it a little further, where Paul tell us what to go out and announce is the exact same message in 2 Cor 5

    “All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”

    If the 16th century reformers were focused on the sin issue instead of the kingdom issue – it is because they were trying to take the church back to Paul – back to the Bible.

  54. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Babs – “It is also before ole Martin got hold of him.”

    I don’t need Martin – I just quoted Paul to you, unfiltered, unplugged!. The problem for people is not the lack of a kingdom – but a lack of defense against sin — and Jesus settled that problem once and for all.

  55. Em ... again says:

    #41-i don’t think we have a clear explanation of Judas given to us in the Bible… so what i say here is strictly my extrapolating…
    i think – dunno – that Judas’ approach to a belief in Jesus was one of exploitation… did he think that Jesus was Messiah? perhaps he did, but he also saw Jesus as of lesser intelligence than he, himself… he was going to force Jesus’ hand and they’d all be rich when Jesus was forced to demonstrate His power… and, possibly, as Satan was the goad behind Judas, Satan may have thought that by forcing Jesus to fight back (isn’t it a given that He could have killed them all on the spot?), Satan could go to the Father and accuse Jesus of using His supernatural powers “inappropriately” in disobedience to the Father? was he repentant when he returned the pieces of silver? i don’t know, but i do see that he realized that he’d made a big mistake; humiliation, maybe?… i see a lot of pride and greed in old Judas…
    just a speculation on my part – a ponder

  56. Al says:

    “It shows you what an effective teacher I am – you remember that all these years later. ?”

    You are a good teacher…and a good dude, good father etc.

    However….I am like Rainman and remember probably all the discussions we’ve ever had on here to a large degree LOL

  57. Al says:

    Babs, do you think baptism of the spirit is necessary for salvation…and if so…can it come in milder forms than what we see as mainstream Charismatic theatrics?

  58. JoelG says:

    I concur. MLD is a good man practices the Kingdom by declaring the Gospel on a regular basis.

  59. JoelG says:

    Practices = practicing

  60. Babylon's Dread says:

    @57 Al — I am not at all advocating a form of doctrine about the baptism of the Spirit … Here is what I am advocating. 1) You cannot belong to Christ without receiving the Holy Spirit 2) Spirit Baptism is by some a second experience … I believe there are many experiences of the Holy Spirit but without the Spirit one is not a Christian 3) John Baptist in every Gospel told us the mission of Jesus was to Baptize us in the Holy Spirit 4) Forgiveness of Sin and reception of the Holy Spirit are in essence the new covenant promise. I do not think them to be separate but necessary sides of a coin. Deal with the old heart by death give a new heart by rebirth.

    I am not expousing Pentecostal theology in the classical sense. I am simply telling the Gospel

    I do believe that the Spirit must be in us to convert us and that he often comes upon us to release his power through us…

  61. Babylon's Dread says:


    You parse Paul from himself… There is no need whatsoever to parse the work of the Spirit from the forgiveness of sins.

    If you are not doing that then we have no quarrel

    Further, where there is no king there is no kingdom. Paul uses the word anointed to describe and name Jesus 383 times …. that word both evokes the Spirit and the ruling kingship of Jesus.

    King Jesus is the Gospel … Where he rules sin is abolished

  62. Peter follows up Pentecost by “fleshing it out
    1.) (Repent & be baptized) = 1 act
    2.) In the name of Jesus Christ
    3.) the purpose of baptism is for the forgiveness of sin.
    4.) The result = reception of the Holy Spirit.

    38 Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.”

  63. “King Jesus is the Gospel … Where he rules sin is abolished”

    Are you saying Jesus is not King today? are you saying Jesus does not does not rule today?

    Probably not much confession going on with your people in your church.

    You still refuse to deal with Paul’s very words – he says bluntly – THIS is the gospel and he goes on.

    You have expanded the ‘gospel’ to be the entire narrative of the new covenant. NTW has bewitched you.

  64. Em ... again says:

    since i am unclear as to how many here view the new birth, it is hard to follow where some are going in the above discussion… the Holy Spirit at work in us should manifest Himself in one way or another and i doubt, since we are all individuals, that it is the same for each and every one of us… but,
    if i do not see life differently – in one way or another – after repentance and MLD’s 4 step outline, then i’d conclude one of two things: i was already saved and didn’t know it or i’m not yet saved. – sorry about that word, “saved” 🙂 not trying to scare anyone and i could be wrong … again … eh?

  65. Al says:

    Dreadly, thanks for the clarification. I think I agree with all of that in essence, not that i have to agree, but i think that is balanced and makes sense.

  66. em,
    We are just talking this through – but there are some basic differences between us Lutherans and those coming out of the old Third Wave (as I knew them) who now seem to have morphed into the New Apostolic Movement – with stops in between at Toronto and Brownsville.

    You throw in N T Wright and his New Perspective on Paul and you have a very messy soup.

  67. Babylon's Dread says:

    Regeneration is being born again is being born of the Spirit is having the Spirit is new covenant is the Gospel.

  68. Babylon's Dread says:

    For the record my expressions here have not been from NT Wright whom I find very dissatisfying when teaching about the Spirit.

    If MLD is going to resist Luther associations in favor of the text I shall do the same.

  69. Call me confused, and it wouldn’t be the first time.
    We were speaking about the gospel and someone said no we moved on from that gospel talk and we are now into the gospel of something else.

    When I tried to define the gospel by what the Bible says through Paul, I run into resistance as if I am reading Paul through Luther.

    I quote Paul unplugged – I do the thing that most non Lutherans find so hard to accept – let the words speak for themselves – and the blow back in unending.

    Babs, your #67 has censored out the part about what Jesus did – “that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures,”
    and you leave out what we are to proclaim – “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”

    You seem to be more into the “what I get.” – I will go with Paul’s definition of the gospel as the good news is what Christ did for me – not my life.

  70. Babylon's Dread says:

    Dammit MLD … how many times do I have to include forgiveness of sins in my description of the Gospel for you to see that I do not neglect it AT ALL.

    Throwing an Inkwell at MLD Dread

  71. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Babs, look, I am sure that you believe it, I just do hear it and I am afraid that is for a theological reason on your part.
    I woke up this morning to your #67 where you made a fresh attempt to restate what is the gospel. I saw no mention of sin forgiveness by a single act of Jesus..

    But damn, how am I going to get all this ink off me? 😉

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