I was looking through my application for my Church of England Bishop's Advisory Panel Selection Conference (snappy I know) today and I came across this. The question was 'Summarise the most important elements of your own Christian faith. Why are they important to you? What is at the heart of the good news you want to share with other people?' My answer could be accused of being somewhat 'Wrightian' but it is still a fair summary of what I believe:
Amongst the most important elements of my Christian faith are: a sense of being loved by God, of being forgiven, of a peace with God which leads to peace with other people, a sense of meaning and purpose in life, a hope and a future, a belief of being called by God to participate with Him in his putting the world to rights, renewing and redeeming all of creation. These elements are important to me because they have changed my life, they help me make sense of the world, and I believe they are based on truth.
My current understanding of the gospel is as follows:
God the creator has given us all good things to enjoy and look after. However, we have taken these things, and rather than enjoying them with thanksgiving, we have turned them into idols, worshiping the creation, rather than the creator. We become like what we worship, so that, rather than becoming image-of-God-bearing fully alive, whole human beings, we have marred God’s image and become broken, dehumanised slaves to sin, subject to death. All of humanity and indeed all creation has been affected by this rejection of their creator. The good news is that in the life, teaching, death and resurrection of Jesus, God was reconciling the world to himself, winning a decisive victory over the powers of darkness, sin and death. This gospel is the message of God’s inbreaking kingdom (rule), which has begun through what Christ has done, continues through the work of the Spirit, and will one day be complete. Its announcement in word and deed, challenges all other would-be rulers, and demands a response of the obedience of faith, or rejection. The good news is not an invitation to have a new religious experience, or to follow a new moral code, but the message that Jesus, the crucified messiah of Israel, is the risen Lord of all who now reigns. The resurrection of Jesus, was the 1st day of God’s new creation, and the promise of God’s future renewal of all creation. In the mean time, in the power of the Holy Spirit, the people of God work and pray and announce the message in anticipation of that day when evil is destroyed and God’s reign of justice and peace is complete.
This is a big picture overview of the multi-faceted gospel. The results for the individual who accepts this message are the love, forgiveness, peace, purpose, hope and future I mentioned above. How I share this news with other people will depend on their context.