When defining the Gospel, I often hear people conflate a correct response to the Gospel or the effects of the Gospel with the content of the Gospel itself. This is dangerous and inaccurate for (at least) two reasons:
- It confuses pragmatism and function with ontology (there is more on the danger of Pragmaticism here).
- It includes consequences in the definition rather than just the grounds. This breaks a basic principle of creating definitions, namely “that the attributes included in the definition should be always such as are the ground of the others rather than the consequences”1.
How to Define the Gospel Well
I believe a safer approach to defining the Gospel is, what is often termed, a “word-study” approach which looks at the uses of the word “εὐαγγέλιον”2 in the New Testament. A good passage to start defining the Gospel is 1 Corinthians 15:3-8.