There is a fundamental flaw in our world view of “The Gospel.” The biblical (and logical) definition for gospel is, “Good News.” It is not “Good News and Bad News.” It is not qualified as “Good News unless…” The Good News of Jesus Christ carries with it no form of judgment and no eternal damnation for humanity. Nowhere in Scripture is the Good News confounded by culture, coerced by creed, or dumbfounded by doctrine. The Good News is the gift of God’s grace. It is the declaration of the person of Jesus Christ. It is the announcement that humanity is no longer necessarily alienated from, but reconciled to, redeemed by, and united with the community of God and one another in Jesus Christ.
Our flaw finds its basis in bad theology, bad hermeneutics (interpretations), and the lack of logic. For example: Because the Good News carries with it no judgment, it does not necessarily follow that there is, therefore, no judgment of God (for justice demands judgment). Though the Good News ends all separation from God, it is not rational to insist that everyone is ultimately rescued. The Good News is of Universal Atonement, not Universal Salvation. Cultural norms do not qualify nor dictate the effectiveness of the Good News, for it is fully enculturated into any and all societies; it is socially axiomatic. The Good News does not accentuate a creed; creeds attempt to make the Good News systematic. Doctrines do not dictate the specifics of the Good News, but the Good News is the fount of good doctrine. If it is God’s grace, then there is no bad news involved. If it is exacted by the person of Christ, then it is entirely for our benefit. And if it reconciles and redeems then there is no threat to humanity to be found at all in the Gospel.
How, then, do we rectify the Bible’s supposed over-abundance of notions to the contrary of these facts? Two words: Good Hermeneutics! Because the Scriptures speak of God’s judgment does not mean that this judgment is found in the Good News. Since Christianity claims that Christ came into the world, there must be a reason for which He has come. If He did not come because humanity is separated with irreconcilable differences from God, then all theology falls to the ground for lack of logic; and the Christian claim is false for lack of need. Thus, Christ did come, and He did reconcile humanity to God through His sacrifice. This reconciliation is Good News! The Good News is that humanity does not necessarily have to remain in the judgmental separation from God.
Notice: The Good News came not with judgment, but because of it. Judgment is already present, thus Christ comes as the means of exiting the judgment. If one does not jump off the ride at the exit, then that one is still in the judgment that was already present. It is not rational to exclaim that Jesus has come not only with rescuing from judgment, but also judgment from judgment. If judgment was not already present, then from what have we been rescued by Christ? And if no present judgment, then judgment comes with Christ; which not only demands a self-contradiction in Scripture, but also makes of Christ both a blessing and a curse. Which does Scripture teach: We were broken and separated from God and Christ has healed us and reconciled us (blessing)? Or we were just fine with God until we heard the message of Christ, and in rejection that one is now damned (curse)? The Good News is utterly good indeed!