Understanding evangelion (Greek word for good news) is critical for understanding Christ and the Kingdom of God. I think it’s time that we admit and separate the idea of gospel/good news from our beliefs of judgment and hell.
The good news is many things. Jesus talks about the good news a bit in Luke 4.
The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.
Reading through every single use of the word evangelion will give you confidence that nowhere, can it even be suggested that the good news of Jesus Christ somehow includes the idea that someone is going to hell. I can say confidently that the gospel, the good news of Jesus, does not include hell. In fact, it would be quite common for the good news to be a response to those that were living some form of hell.
The other thing that is not included in the exegesis of good news is any mention of bad news. The good news, is that there is no bad news. I’m not finding anywhere when ‘good news’ is mentioned (evangelion) that it comes coupled with some sort of threat or alternative for those that don’t accept it.
As Christians, I think we can confidently proclaim the good news in and of itself and all our theology of judgment, salvation, warnings of destruction should be separated as a different topic all together. I don’t think we shouldn’t talk about it. Let’s just not mix it up with the good news. What we can’t do is try and define what good news is through a filter of our retributive theology. Good news should not be defined by our need to have bad news. If good news is freedom for prisoners and sight for the blind and to set the oppressed free, how is it that it also can have anything to do with hell for all those that don’t believe it?
The good news is still good news if you don’t believe it. The good news is not defined even remotely by what happens to you if you don’t believe in it. The good news is good and our job is to tell people what it is. There is no disclaimers or caveats or fine print. It’s just good.
3 thoughts on “The Good News (Gospel) Is That There Is No More Bad News”
What is the good news? It depends on who’s definition. Here is what I think. I am the way the truth and the light. No one comes to the father except through me. (John 14:6). And again ” he who believes in the son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.(john3:36) the good news is your saved from hell. Man is but a vapour here and gone . But those who hear the good news of Christ dying on the cross for them and they are forgiven and transformed also saved from hell. Well now that’s some good news. Don’t you think so?
Nathan Colquhoun, once again you invite the ire of believers worldwide by daring to challenge orthodox Christianity.
Professor Bart Ehrman touches on the transformation of Jesus’ apocalyptic vision in his book, “Jesus, Interrupted”. In it, he discusses the transformation of a ‘horizontal’ dualism of the kingdom of God (a timeline involving the present age, and the age to come) into a ‘vertical’ dualism that constitutes two *spheres*: this world of suffering below, and a kingdom of heaven above.
This dualism naturally invokes the doctrine of heaven and hell, except this time the dualism has become spiritual instead of temporal. Suddenly, it no longer matters that St. Paul’s expectation that he would be alive at the second coming of the Christ did not materialize. What matters *now* is that if you side with God and believe in the Christ – it means your soul will go “above”.
(What needs to be examined is the emergence of the idea of an ‘immortal soul’ from Judaism into Christianity….but there are only so many hours in the day to investigate such things, right?)
The transformation of the apocalyptic resurrection of the body (‘horizontal dualism’) into the doctrine of heaven and hell (‘vertical dualism’) has been *standard Christian orthodoxy* for years and YEARS.
Fair warning, my friend: writing well-intentioned posts like the one you have written will be derided by believers of all stripes to be unorthodox. Despite your earlier parable of the two sons with the mute father, the fact remains: countless ecumenical councils, catechisms and confessions have written the rules. Repent of your unorthodox beliefs, or perish. ;) (As I, no doubt, will.)
On a more personal level, your (subtle) controversial writing is captivating. Well done.
Your Friend The Apostate.
hmmm….Jesus talked more about hell and judgment than he did about heaven. If you are going to keep denying Scripture, stop referring to yourself as a Christian. You are not. Those who don’t believe in hell are the most likely to go there.