Understanding the Gospel

By: Danny Chua

I had the privilege to step attend “Gospel in the City”, an event organized by Redemption Hill Church in Singapore in collaboration with Redeemer City to City (read more @ http://redeemercitytocity.com/our-story.jsp) – basically an international Gospel movement towards Gospel-centric church planting and ministry in urban cities in our world today.

One of the sessions had us exposed to the some ideas of reading the Bible in different ways to understand the same one True Gospel.

Systematic – Theological Method (STM) addresses the topical dealing of Scripture with rational organization and logical interpretation. Redemptive – Historical Method (RHM) denotes the adoption of a perspective of Scripture that deals with it historically and uniting the entire redemptive history of the Bible in the culmination of the person and work of Christ.

[head+scratch]Which of these two methods do you see most prevalent in your church, campus ministries, bible studies or even devotions?

Well the heart of these considerations lie in the topic of Gospel Theology. While we recognize the benefits of STM, we must also commend the relevance and importance of the RHM – which gives us an arguably more Christ-centered understanding of Scripture and a more organic way of seeing Scripture i.e. how everything is one in Jesus. Ultimately, it is foolish to champion the case for a single method to be king over the other. The two approaches do not have to contradict simply because STM says that God is good and consistent throughout Scripture while RHM drives that there is continuity in God’s work throughout the history of the world. The synergy of both approaches can and should help us read the Bible more efficiently and understand the totality, and perpetuation of God’s redemptive purpose through Christ in all of Scripture!

Above all, the talk and discussion brought me back to the truth that the myriad dynamic ways of Bible reading and exposition must not lure us away from the undeniable truth that there is One True Gospel. Yet the beautiful elements of this Gospel are uniquely and flexibly brought out to convict all of us in different ways by the same Spirit, consider these 3 Biblical truths:

  1. Scripture suggests an upside-down kingdom: Radical, counter-cultural living is embodied by Jesus Himself in His poverty (so that we may be rich), also being the folly of God (as compared to the wisdom of the world)
  2. It also suggests an inside-out kingdom: Repetitive drilling of Religion/Law vs. Grace appeals to our earnest but futile efforts to obey out of duty rather than delight
  3. A forward-back kingdom: Jesus’ first descent into our world to inaugurate God’s kingdom and to perfect it in eventual triumph in the Second Coming – this keeps us from being overwhelmed by the evil in the world or conversely, step over others with all-Christian-all-Jesus ideologies to govern our society by force
Albeit the intense information downloading a.k.a drinking from a fire hose, this one session narrowed down my takeaways to the mesmerizing truth that this one True Gospel is being preached to us over and over again, by the same Spirit of God who prompts us everyday, in diverse different ways that do not betray the integrity and infallibility of the Gospel of Jesus. Come Monday, the Gospel might remind me that my works are filthy rags and I am justified in Christ – amazing grace! Come Tuesday, the Gospel might remind me of my eternal Hope in the fulfillment of Jesus’ perfect Kingdom – imperishable inheritance!
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