If you weren’t already aware, there’s a movement afoot in contemporary Christianity. I personally cannot attest to its reach, whether it extends beyond the West, but you can be sure that it is making serious headway here among us. Further, the impact of this movement is and will continue to dramatically alter the face of Western Christianity. I doubt the change will be as “violent” as the Reformation of Luther and Calvin, but its impact will be as deep.
I am speaking of a new way of understanding the gospel, which, like all good things, is nothing new at all.
Luther’s understanding of the gospel as a message of atonement – that Christ died to save me from my sins so that I might enter heaven upon my death – is being overcome. Christians everywhere are beginning to understand that as important as this doctrine is, it is the tiniest piece of what Jesus was doing, what the apostles understood him to be doing, and what the early church believed had happened.
Instead, we are beginning to realize that the Gospels – and really the entire New Testament – are about the Kingdom of God (that is, God’s jurisdiction, His rule, where what He wants is done) becoming reality in and through the person of Jesus. The gospel is God regaining His throne over creation.
It is like summarizing The Lord of the Rings trilogy as a series of travel movies. Well, sure, Frodo and the gang do a lot of traveling, but the purpose is much, much greater. It’s all about the destruction of that ring and the rescue of Middle Earth from falling under a great shadow.
Anyway, we’re rediscovering the gospel, and it’s going to change everything.