The Gospel Of The Synagogue Vs. The Gospel Of The Son Of God

Years ago I remember hearing a wise elder say to me that if my sermon could be accepted in a Jewish synagogue then it is not a distinctively Christian sermon.  I’ve thought a lot about that over the years. What makes Christian sermons distinctively Christian? What damage could be done in the life of the Christian church if our sermons lose their distinctively Christian character?  To answer that, of course, one would need to understand and appreciate what makes a gospel message distinctively “gospel”.

To be sure, the word “gospel” is used differently in the Scriptures.  W. Robert Godfrey provides a helpful observation:

Sometimes the word gospel refers broadly to all aspects of the salvation and new life that Jesus gives His people, and sometimes it is used narrowly to refer to what Jesus does for us outside of us. In other words, sometimes the term gospel refers broadly to Jesus’ work of justification and sanctification for and in His people, and sometimes it refers narrowly to Jesus’ work of justification.

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  1. Interestingly, we used to say to candidates in West Africa that if their message could be preached in a mosque then it wasn’t a gospel or Christ centered sermon.

    • Keith.,

      Amen! You must remember Dr Bergsma saying what Chris says here. I suppose he got it from R B Kuiper but that’s just a guess. That’s where I learned it. I think Ed Clowney used to say it.

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