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Who is God and what has He done? The Gospel, simply stated, is a word that means “good news” and refers specifically to the finished work of Christ. There are several places where the Gospel is written down by the eyewitnesses to the resurrected Jesus, the first one penned is likely 1 Cor 15:3-8, which states:
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.
What are the implications of making this our central claim?
TODO: Insert Tim Keller quote from Center Church about a Gospel centric church…
The Gospel is always in context, it is neither a simple thing nor a complex thing, but something that is universally true and only understood by an individual within their unique context. That means that terms like justice and justification, mercy, forgiveness, sin, and other things used to explain he truth of this good news are understood within the culture and vocabulary we live in.
Why are these the essentials, 1 Cor 15 as a creed mentions severL aspects that were considered core beliefs by these earliest of believers. Scholars(1) have emphasized the importance of these core beliefs as the earliest accounts of what the church has always claimed to be true about Jesus. The central claims of this creed are a really good outline for what it means to believe the Gospel(2).
- Who is Christ?
- What is sin?
- The importance of the Old Testament Scriptues as prophetic.
- Why death?
- The Burial of Jesus
- Resurrection of Jesus (in bodily form)
- Massive Eyewitnesses verification
- Personal acceptance
- Gary Habbermas and others date the creed in 1 Cor 15 to less than a decade after the resurection of Christ to specifically deal with passing on the faith to the first non-eyewitness generation due to concerns that these first eyewitnesses, over 500 of them, had started to expereince natural cause death. This makes it one of the most important historical records of the validity of the eyewitness accounts of a resurrected Christ and what they believed about him, which is both far too early for it to have been legend and far to accurate for it to have been misinterpreted, for the majority of the eyewitnesses were still alive to verify it at the time of the written creed. This does serious harm to any claim that the Christian Faith is the result of some later reinterpretation of an early coral tradition or legend about a good teacher – the eyewitnesses refuted it in written ng while they were still alive to verify it in person.
- The Gospel is represented throughout scripture in a number of ways, no one of which is to be considered more appropriate or accurate than the others. This is the reason for taking in the whole counsel of scripture. Using this creed as a summary statement may leave off certain areas that would concern tenured followers of Christ, but relax – we are just showing the outline of this passage as a way the gospel is retold within context. The similar creeds in Colosians 1, Hebrews 1, Titus 1, and certainly the volume of personal claims Jesus made of himself recorded by the authors of the four Gospel books (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) is the subject of the study of the Gospel. Further, we observe that the Old Testament also tells the Gospel story, which is what is meant by “according to the Scriptures” in this creed, specifically.