One might think that in a Christian context, a term like “Gospel” would not require a definition. History, however, has proven it to be one of the most contentious terms in the entire tradition. Even people who were converted by the Apostle Paul were prone to turn to other “gospels” (Gal 1:6). No doubt this is why Paul argues in the same book for the “truth of the Gospel” (2:5) to be preserved. Indeed, the severity with which he chastises his beloved congregation illustrates the necessity for getting this all-important concept right. So, with the Apostle Paul, we stand in the tradition that sees the Gospel as just what the word means: Good News. Specifically, the Good News that “Jesus Christ came into the world to save Sinners.” (1 Timothy 1:15). “[Christ] was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.” (Romans 4:25). The Gospel is a proclamation, rather than an invitation or command, yet it always addresses sinners and sufferers directly, i.e. you and me. People have gone wrong throughout history when they have reduced this Good News to its effect on those who have heard it, e.g., peace, love and understanding. These are wonderful things, to be sure, but they should not be confused for the Gospel itself, lest it become a means to an end, rather than an End in itself.
We hope the following guide will explain how certain technical terms are used on the Mockingbird site.
None of these definitions are, or could possibly be, comprehensive. Hundreds of books have been written on each. We are aiming, instead, via a few broad strokes, to give a sense of how the terms are being used. It should be noted that these terms are sometimes used as shorthand for their philosophical implications, or centrifugal outworkings.