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McRaney provides a compelling argument on the gospel of Jesus Christ. I appreciate the reference to the gospel as the “message.” It reveals that there is a particular purpose to the gospel that seeks to proclaim a unique message among the various messages that would have been expressed. He provides four explanations of what the message is not.
First, the message is not intended to make us feel good about God (McRaney, 2003). Referring to this intent as the “Tylenol or therapy gospel”, McRaney seems to express how the message does not focus on the earthly, but the eternal.
Second, (McRaney, 2003) demonstrates that evangelism is not about getting decisions for Christ. Rather, evangelism is about making disciples for Christ. In this case, growing the quantiative number of those who may be committed to a church does not denote true evangelism.
Third, evangelism is about advocating true community (McRaney, 2003). When the message is communicated properly, believers are not to feel that they can believe in Jesus and individually improve spiritually (McRaney, 2003). Rather, the message invites believers to live their lives in genuine community (McRaney, 2003).
Lastly, the Christian life is not to be lived privately (McRaney, 2003). Rather, the gospel is supposed to extend to every area of life (McRaney, 2003). This makes the gospel a wholistic message.
Considering what the gospel is not, repentance is indeed essential. In fact, it is the very thoughts of man that have devised these inapprorpriate ideas about the message of Christ. In receiving Christ, one is to surrender, repent, and have faith (McRaney, 2003). All of these facets must be done within a biblical framework.
Repentance, surrender, and faith have been commonly defined in ways that are unfamiliar to the biblical idea. McRaney does not propose that one abandon these important factors. Rather, he proposes that they be done within the biblical understanding that makes them impactful.
McRaney, W. (2003). The Art of Personal Evangelism. Broadman & Holman Publishers.
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