Down-grading the Gospel to Being Just About Me

Sorry for the absence beloveds! It’s been quite the busy season readjusting to school and a fragile housing situation (prayers needed for that). I’m doing homework again and hence, getting excited about what I’m learning. Here’s an epic quote that has earned stars from me all over it in the margins.

“The core of the gospel, the historical facts of what God did in Christ, is often down-graded today in favour of a more mystical emphasis on the private spiritual experience of the individual. Whereas faith in the gospel is essentially acceptance of, and commitment to, the declaration that God acted in Christ some two thousand years ago on our behalf, saving faith is often portrayed nowadays more as trust in what God is doing in us now. Biblical ideas such as ‘the forgiveness of sins’ or ‘salvation’ are interpreted as primarily describing a Christian’s personal experience.

But when we allow the whole Bible- Old and New Testaments- to speak to us, we find that those subjective aspects of the Christian life which are undoubtedly important- the new birth, faith and sanctification- are the fruits of the gospel. This gospel, while still relating to individual people at their point of need, is rooted and grounded in the history of redemption. It is the good news about Jesus, before it can become good news for sinful men and women. Indeed, it is only as the objective (redemptive-historical) facts are grasped that the subjective experience of the individual Christian can be understood.”

Gospel and Kingdom by Graeme Goldsworthy

Lisbeth Fun fact: My tutor during my term at L’Abri Switzerland was Karryn Goldsworthy, Graeme’s daughter.


10 thoughts on “Down-grading the Gospel to Being Just About Me

  1. Love that fun fact! What an honor to have a tutor who grew up with such a wise and godly man. I know you learned a lot from her.

    This passage is a good tempering perspective…and one that brings great comfort. It’s really not all about me and my feelings. But rather, about Christ and what he did for me. Less about me. More about Him. Always need to work on that.

    In prayer for you and your house-mates!

    1. Again, this is particularly poignant for me during holy week. But I suppose, it should be real every week. By God’s grace. And thanks for praying for my housing situation back in the Fall. God has provided, God has redeemed, God has sustained, and God has blessed. Praise Him!

  2. Powerful and a good reminder. I echo Lauren’s comments! What a wonderful experience to have been at L’Abri with your special tutor and now at WTS reading a book by your tutor’s father. As Edith Schaeffer would say, it’s God’s beautiful tapestry!
    I also pray for renewed community in your home and for God’s blessing on all of you!

  3. Lisbeth,
    What a great quote. How self-centered we can be in our spiritual experience that we forget how central an preeminent Jesus’ redemptive work is. Thanks for sharing this. And how cool that you were under his daughter’s tutelage. Not only are you part of God’s tapestry (from above familial comment), but you are also part of His Swiss cheese. (Too cheesy?)

    Your punny Dad

  4. Good point! I’m passing this on to our pastor who has been bringing us through a “season” (lasting a few years now) of understanding the Gospel.

    Why is this so meaningful for you?

    Liked the little “fun fact” too 🙂

    1. Hmm, I think it’s so meaningful to me because I can be so self-centered in my faith and my own spiritual experience. I can skip Jesus sometimes and go straight to myself. Goldsworthy’s emphasis on Christ first, then salvation for the individual believer means a lot to me because it redirects my gaze towards Christ and the gospel.

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