What we talk about when we talk about the Gospel?

Remarkable Gospel! Series - II

In this post I’ll be continuing my Remarkable Gospel! series. We launched this series in the previous post (click here) where I challenged you to take an honest look at the gospel and ask yourself, is it still remarkable today? To answer that question we’re now stepping back and asking ourselves, what do we mean when we talk about the “Gospel”?

How-To Guides Are Unremarkable

Have you ever seen a Tweet that looks like this:ikea3

I bet in the history of social media nobody has ever Tweeted that.

Because nobody finds instructions remarkable. I know I don’t. In fact, much to the chagrin of my wife, I’d prefer not even looking at instructions when putting something together if I can avoid it.

Instruction manuals are a means to an end and most people only look over as few of the instructions as absolutely necessary to arrive at their goals.

Recently we purchased a brand new SUV to accommodate our growing family (with baby #2 on the way, our little Fiesta will no longer do). With our new Escape came a “user manual.” And guess how many times we read it?

Zero. We haven’t even cracked the spine even though there are features in this new car that we’ve never seen before.

Because user manuals, how-to guides, instruction books – they are boring. They are completely unremarkable. We use them when necessary, and not a moment more than that, and we certainly don’t talk about them.

The Gospel Is Not A How-To Guide

Is the Gospel Still Remarkable?

Remarkable Gospel! Series - I

Over the next few weeks I’ll be running a series called “Remarkable Gospel!” The way I see it, if the Gospel is still remarkable, then it should be sharable, contagious and impactful enough for it to spread organically in the digital space. So I hope you enjoy this Remarkable Gospel! series. No. I hope you find it, remarkable!

The word “remarkable” means “worth remarking about.” The dictionary goes on to use these synonyms: striking, exceptional, stunning.

For something to be remarkable it has to be absolutely stunning. It has to stun people. Stop them in their tracks. Stand out as exceptional.

That’s another good one. Exceptional, which the dictionary defines as unusual.

When something is so unusual that it stuns people into a moment of silence (often followed by exhilarating enthusiasm), it gets shared. And then shared again, and again and again.

That’s why Robert Stephens, founder of Geek Squad, said “Advertising is a tax you pay for being unremarkable.” Because if something is unremarkable, people won’t share it. If it’s unremarkable you have to pay to get the word out. But if something is remarkable, it goes viral. It spreads naturally.

Now does that sound like the Gospel to you?

Is the Gospel remarkable?

Before you answer, take off your church hat, or your “spirituality hat” or your “I’m just a Jesus follower” hat or whatever hat you’re wearing. Take it off, and take off your shoes too. Those holy shoes. Those churchy shoes. Those ministry shoes. Take them off.

Don’t worry, I’m not going to leave you naked. You can keep your clothes on (for now).

But now that you’ve got your churchy hat off, and you’re barefoot, I want you to slip on shoes that belong to someone who has never stepped foot into a church.

Feels weird doesn’t it? To wear shoes that have been worn by other people. The toe grooves are in a different place. You get the sense that their sweat and foot oder is mingling with your own, and you don’t like that. We can tolerate our own foot oder, but a goulash of other people’s foot oder mixed with ours is just too much.

Good. This exercise isn’t meant to be comfortable. It’s meant to give you perspective.

When I asked ten Christians if they believed the Gospel was remarkable, each one said it was. But they had to say that, didn’t they? I mean, it’s part of the script. Can you imagine if one of them said, “No way, it’s boring as hell!”

The room would come alive with gasps of shock (admit it, someone reading this just gasped too!).

But when we follow a script (and we Christians are so good at following our script that we don’t even realize it!), we’re not being very honest.

There’s a difference between whether something is remarkable, and whether something should be remarkable.

No question the Gospel should be remarkable. No question the Gospel was remarkable in the past.

But is it remarkable today?

To answer that question we need to go back and ask ourselves what made the Gospel remarkable in the first place. We’ll explore that in the next post in this series. But for now, I have a little assignment for you.

ASSIGNMENT: Ask ten Christians from three different generations if they believe the Gospel is remarkable and document their answers. Pay particular attention to the responses that Millennials give.

Question: Share the results from your assignment in the comment section beneath this post. You can leave a comment by clicking here.