The Gospel Of Jesus Christ: By Grace Through Faith -- By: David S. Dockery

Journal: Journal for Baptist Theology & Ministry
Volume: JBTM 02:2 (Fall 2004)
Article: The Gospel Of Jesus Christ: By Grace Through Faith
Author: David S. Dockery


The Gospel Of Jesus Christ: By Grace Through Faith

David S. Dockery

President
Union University
1050 Union University Drive
Jackson, TN 38305

If anything has disappeared from modern thought, it is the belief in an eternal heaven and an everlasting hell. Even those who retain some vague idea of heavenly bliss beyond this life are slow to acknowledge the reality of final judgment and condemnation. Modern men and women live with the mind-set that there is no heaven, no hell, and therefore no guilt.

Today it seems obvious that we face major challenges to believing and understanding the gospel of Jesus Christ. On the one hand, much confusion exists concerning the gospel on the part of unbelieving modern men and women. On the other hand, the believing church has confused the truthfulness of the gospel with effectiveness regarding evangelistic methodologies.

One of the common mistakes in our time is to think of evangelism more in terms of a method than a message. Such is the case with some revivalists or evangelists who have suggested that evangelism can only take place when the “right words” are uttered or the “right prayer” is prayed by the professing respondent. Recently, this thinking has been taken so far as to suggest that evangelism can only take place when the “right music” is played or the right kind of “invitation” given. What has been lost, or at least misplaced, is the recognition that at the heart of genuine evangelism must be a firm theological foundation. Evangelism is the proclamation of the good news in words, as well as the manifestation of this good news in deeds, with the purpose of reconciling men and women to God.

Not only are unbelievers confused about the truthfulness of the gospel, and not only has the church confused truthfulness with methodological effectiveness, but believers have also become sidetracked by secondary and tertiary matters found in the theological systems of Calvinism and Arminianism. In order to help us refocus on primary and essential matters, we will seek to explore the basic themes that help us understand the biblical and theological aspects of the gospel message. Prayerfully, this effort can help unify and strengthen the church, help us proclaim faithfully the good news of the gospel, and advance the cause of Christ. Please join me in thinking about: 1) God as creator and the place of men and women in God’s creation; 2) the fall of humanity into sin; 3) God’s provision in Jesus Christ; 4) God’s salvation of men and women from their estranged, guilty, and dreadful plight; and 5) God’s ultimate work of redemption.

Men and Women in God’s Creation

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