While being a student at Johnson University, I have read a lot of books and written a lot of reviews and reports. Many books given out by the professors are meant to be inspiring, yet many repeat a lot of what was written in the first couple chapters. Do not get me wrong, these books are something I enjoy. I wouldn’t write as much as I do if I didn’t believe in the power of words. That’s the thing about lengthy books–sometimes a book can be counterproductive because the influential words are drowned out by the same ideas but in a different style. Although, this is something that happens, I’m not claiming that most Christian books do this, but it is something that occasionally happens.
The most recent book I had to read and write about is called Simply Good News by N.T. Wright. Wright is a British New Testament scholar who has been called the C.S. Lewis of this generation (Which is no light title). He has written multiple books and Simply Good News is one of his well-known books.
Now, I know what you’re thinking…Nick, you just wrote a paper about this book for school. Why would you choose to write about it again? Well because this topic is not one to brush over, but something to chew on. Also, I’m obviously crazy for liking to write. I’m writing this to reveal the SIMPLE GOSPEL and its nature. This is not in any way a summary of Simply Good News. There are already plenty of those online. This is showing the main points from the book and discussing the question behind why we need to grow in the Gospel.
When I was young, I was presented with this thing called the Gospel. It changed my life to accept Christ, but I didn’t know everything. In it’s simplest form, all I knew was sin, saved, and sent. When I was a child, this was the knowledge I needed in order to accept Christ into my life. This was enough to save me, right? I didn’t know how Jesus spoke into the culture of that time and flipped their world upside down. All I knew is that he flipped my world upside down. So, if that is the Gospel and I was saved with only the knowledge of sin, saved, sent, then that begs the question of why we must grow in our knowledge of the Gospel?
The first thing that must be known is that the SIMPLE GOSPEL is still the Gospel. You cannot convince me that the knowledge I had when I was saved wasn’t enough. It was enough for me and Jesus still accepts people through my lack of knowledge. For it is not knowledge that saves, but Jesus who was the truth incarnated.
You have to start somewhere, but you cannot stay there. The Gospel is more than letters on a page, it is life. Your starting point is meant to be exactly that, a starting point that opens up into a vast ocean of living water that needs to be explored.
You would think that if there is a vast ocean of water that it would be great to discover everything in it and have fun swimming in it. I do think that a part of the Christian walk is to see the character of God and know him. That is a blessing that should not be taken for granted, but eventually, you realize that there is a whole world of dry land that desperately needs the water you have found. That is where we must realize that Jesus came to bring heaven to earth. The reason we bring water to the world is that we have tasted heaven and want to see God’s love revealed.
This is not an event that will happen, but the kingdom of heaven is here. It is in the workplace, the restaurants, the homes, and especially the church. The Gospel is the power of God which comes through Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection to all who believe. The truth is that, if you have access to a Bible (which you do, Bible Gateway) then you have a supply of the water this world needs. You don’t need the book Simply Good News, you don’t need a Bible commentary, you don’t need anything but the word of God and a community to love you through this journey.
You are allowed to have a starting point (sin, saved, sent), but you are not allowed to stay there. God wants you to grow in your relationship with him, but also to love people in this dying world. You have heard. You have seen. But will you reveal the Gospel to others? You have heard the calling of Christ and, therefore, ignorance is no longer an excuse.
Jesus came to simplify our struggle by giving us a single cure to many problems. Jesus. Jesus is the SIMPLE GOSPEL. The Gospel is not about what we have done, but what Jesus has done for us.
Ephesians 4:11-13, “So Christ himself gave the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the KNOWLEDGE of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.”
In this passage, knowledge was meant to unify, not separate. The SIMPLE GOSPEL is bringing everyone together under the reign of God, which is a reign of love. We receive love and grow in relationship with Christ, then we share the love we have received.
What is so ironic about this is that I read Simply Good News and I felt like I had heard the info before, but I haven’t read anything like it. Quickly, I realized that I knew Simple Good News because I saw someone live it out. They lived the SIMPLE GOSPEL. That’s the point of the SIMPLE GOSPEL. Yes, we go to heaven one day, but God has plans for you right now. The SIMPLE GOSPEL brings heaven to earth, right here and now. Can you hear it? Can you see it? Will you reveal it?