The Gospel is MORE

The Gospel is MORE

Dr. John P. Davis

I  have more than just an intense interest in the gospel of Jesus Christ. I have a deep love for the gospel. The gospel of Jesus Christ has brought me deliverance from my sin, forgiveness, relationship with God, and the assurance of life eternal.

The gospel is the Good News that in the person and work of Jesus Christ God answers the deepest need of humanity and of the world. The gospel is the Good News that the personal and cosmic effects of sin are defeated and reversed through the triumphant work of the Son of God who became man, who lived the perfect life we’ve failed to live, who died that death that we deserve to die, and who rose again triumphantly to declare the Good News that He has vanquished sin and death

I have seen how the simplicity and glory of the gospel can get lost in theological debate. Don’t get me wrong. I am a theologian. I love biblical theology where the development and growth of the thematic seeds of God’s redemptive plan can be traced through the progress of revelation. I also love systematic theology where the great doctrinal truths of Scripture are brought together in coherent, logical systems. 

But, I love the gospel more than biblical and systematic theology.  I love the gospel more, because it is more. 

The gospel is not a lesser, unrefined, more elemental understanding of God’s work of redemption. The gospel is deeper and broader than any biblical theology or systematic theology. The gospel is deeper in its significance and broader in its application than any attempt at formulating theological systems. The gospel is more.

The gospel is more because the gospel is the power of God unto salvation. No system can make such a claim. You can be strong adherent and defender of a system, and still go to hell. But if you believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, you will be saved.

The gospel is more because it is universal. Theological systems are limited by the cultural and historical systems which gave rise to them. The gospel is supra-cultural as is seen in the diversity of its adherents from every tongue, tribe, and nation.

The gospel is more because it will always bring us to an affection and loyalty to Jesus that supersedes the affection and loyalty that many have for great thinkers and theologians.

The gospel is more because it the basis for the true unity among Christians for which Jesus prayed. History leaves a trail of civil war between Christians who shed the blood of brothers over systems.

The gospel is more because it is eternal. One day we will see that all human biblical and theological reflection and systematizing woefully failed to plunge the depths of the wonder of God’s grace in the gospel.  All human formulations are temporary and at best provisional.

The gospel is more because it alone has the power to humble my heart and warm my heart with a passion for those who do not know Christ. I have met great theologians without passion for the lost. I’ve never met a cold-hearted ‘lover of the gospel.’

Because the gospel is more, I will pursue biblical and systematic theology only as long as they lead me into a deeper love for Christ and the gospel, only as long as they bring me into more committed love to my brothers and sisters in Christ, only as long as they promote a humility in pursuing a deeper and broader understanding and application of the gospel, and only as long as they stir up in me a passion for those who are outside of the gospel.

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On September 10, 1970 I came to understand the great love of God for me, a sinner and a rebel. That evening I received God’s forgiveness and a new life through Jesus Christ, who died in my place and rose again to offer forgiveness and new life. I have been senior pastor for over 30 years planting two churches in Buckingham, PA and Queens, NY and serving two other churches in Brooklyn, NY and Roslyn, PA. I am currently the lead pastor at Grace Church of Philly.

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