Ok, so part of me feels horribly nervous about this post.  Especially given I'm still in the early stages of germinating thought over this.  But over the last two weeks I've had a number of things in my life and learning come together which has made me decide that I believe in a big gospel.

What do I mean by a big gospel?  I mean that the good news that Jesus died on a cross to save me is not the sum total of the gospel.  Rather, the gospel is the good news of God's kingdom which brings salvation to me and you through the death and resurrection of Christ.  But it is also the good news of God's kingdom breaking into this world through the life of kingdom people, through the transformation of lives, through the feeding of the sick and helping of the needy, through the worship of the King of Kings... That is it think what is often called the 'fruit' of the gospel is actually part of the gospel itself.  A bit like how the fruit of a tree is part of the tree itself.

Let me explain some of the practical things that have pushed me in this direction:
1. A Testimony - This was actually the last thing that happened but it was stunning given my previous week.  Anyway, I listened to the most beautiful and amazing testimony of some Muslim friends.  Their story is nothing but miraculous.  The fascinating thing about it was, being Muslims their conversion moment happened when they realised Jesus was God.  That was the big deal thing for them.  That was the thing they struggled to accept.  That was the thing that God worked powerfully to convince them of.  It was only months later as they passionately worshipped and served in their church that they realised not only was Jesus God, but he had died for their sin too.  Now they had already surrendered their life to Jesus when they decided he was God.  But on a narrow view of the gospel, were they saved yet?  It is clear in their story that they were saved before realised Jesus died to forgive them.  Knowing that Jesus was God was the high point.  That was the moment.  It was as they recounted that moment where they cried and we cried as we listened to this testimony of the power of God.  A narrow 'mechanics of salvation' view of the gospel doesn't allow for this sort of story.  Though they were equally amazed when they discovered why Jesus had to die and what it meant.  But it wasn't their conversion moment.  I can't reconcile that story on a 'narrow' or 'mechanics of salvation' gospel.

2. Church Planting... In my church planting class we discussed how do you contextualise the gospel to your receptor culture (the people you're trying to reach).  How do you communicate in a meaningful way the problem of sin and it's solution.  It's difficult to do this in a way that connects with people if you have a narrow view 'mechanics of salvation' view.

3. Christian Worship... Sometimes I find church services horribly one dimensional.  Often I can't understand why people get upset when we sing a song like 'Our God' by Chris Tomlin and insist that the only biblical songs are 'Consider Christ' or 'Servants of the Gospel'.  I get frustrated when people push that everything must relate to the sermon.  Is not our experience of God bigger and broader than what we hear in sermon?  Can not other things be impressed upon us?  Perhaps these differences come down to a narrow vs. big view of the gospel?

I need to do more work on the theology.  That's granted.  But I've read some work by Scott McKnight and I find him compelling.  He has a new book I plan to read soon.  The gospel is the good news of the kingdom.

Some people say it's dangerous to mix the gospel (Jesus died for my salvation) with the 'fruit of the gospel'.  I'm unsure where the term 'fruit' of the gospel comes from biblically (granted it may be there), but I don't see how this is dangerous.  What is dangerous is not telling the full story.  Which of course includes leaving out the great news that Jesus died for our salvation!  I'm not suggesting I want to walk away from that at all!

In fact, let me finish the post by saying that the greatest day in my life was when I realised that Jesus had dealt with my sin on the cross.  That he paid the price.  That I had the chance to live for him because of what he did.  That my relationship with God is restored because of that death.  I'm moved by this.  I cry at the beauty of this when no one is looking.  But as I live my new life in God I can't help but see how it is the Gospel the big story of God (the great news that God who created the world, who is redeeming a people for himself, who is bringing peace, justifying sinners, making lives new, transforming relationships, sent his son to live, die rise and ascend) that is infecting every part of my being and life.