The Gospel…in 5 words

Screen Shot 2015-06-15 at 1.45.23 PMThe problem is Unfaithfulness. People have broken the relationship with God. Our disloyalty dishonors God. (Ez 36:21; Rom 1:21-23; 2:23; 3:23)

The dilemma is Shame. Our dishonor means separation and disunion. We are shameful in God’s eyes, and feel shame. (Gen 3:7-8; Jer 3:8, 25; Rom 1:24)

God’s solution is Restoration.  Jesus’ death honored God and bore our shame. His death reconciled the relationship. (Isa 50:6; 53:3; Heb 12:2; Rom 8:14ff)

The response is Loyalty.  People must honor Jesus with complete allegiance. We must seek God’s face and name. (1 Sam 2:30; John 12:26, 43; Rom 4:20ff)

The result is Honor.  God makes outcasts his children and exalts them to eternal glory.  (Zeph 3:19; Isa 54:4; 62:2ff; John 1:12; 17:22; Rom 10:11-12; 1 Pet 2:6-11)


Some explanations

1. Most evangelistic presentations, regardless of the form, follow this basic structure emphasizing legal aspects of salvation: transgression, guilt, restitution, confession, forgiveness. The above structure outlines the biblical message in terms aligned with collectivistic values. Screen Shot 2015-06-15 at 2.05.54 PM

2. The five words are not an evangelistic presentation, but the framework to structure a creative expression of the gospel, whether it be a story, skit, personal testimony, etc. This is only the skeleton, you need to put flesh on the bones so it resonates and attracts. For that use local terms, images, and genres.

3. Finally, the “gospel” is foremost about the Creator God and his kingdom rule. The above articulates a biblical response to that good news. I say this to keep the horse in front of the cart. The gospel is about God’s glorious kingdom, and human salvation is a wonderful consequence of that reality.

To training and teaching purposes, I have developed a Free Reference Bookmark that includes outline of the gospel. 

resources for Majority World ministry

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Posted in Evangelism, Ministry, Theology
5 comments on “The Gospel…in 5 words
  1. Nathan says:

    Thanks for this!!

  2. Charmàine says:

    I love your work

  3. Brian says:

    How would you tell someone to “repent” in an honor/shame culture?

    • HonorShame says:

      It depends on what language the person speaks. 🙂

      On a serious note, repentance involves more than “stop doing bad things and start doing good/Christian things,” but also a change of allegiances. Repentance is not simply a behavior change, but a transfer of group identities, transitioning from the group narrative/culture of honor-accumulation to that of God’s. It’s a matter of switching loyalties from one identity group to another.

      Simply wearing a 49ers jersey doesn’t make you a fan of the team, but is simply an indicator of where your loyalties and passions lie, and those make you a true fan. Likewise, good behavior is not the ultimate mark of a Christian, but a signpost of where one’s loyalty/identity/allegiance lies, and that is what defines a person a follower of Christ, so that is what must ultimately change. So in a nutshell, the idea of repentance is “start being loyal to God (and his people)!”

      Hope that helps out. In the winter time I’ll be doing a series “Honoring Theology” that explores the various aspects of Christian theology from an HS perspective in greater length; repentance will be one of the topics. Stay tuned.

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