Summary: Helping expand the good news from simply forgiveness to restoration.
Relates to chapters 3 (Gospel), 5 (Need) and 6 (Sin) of Holy Conversation book.
We all like to communicate… but sometimes we discover that some things don’t translate well.
Some of the biggest companies in the world have discovered this the hard way… when they tried to market their products in countries….
• When Parker Pen marketed a ball-point pen in Mexico, its ads were supposed to have read, "it won’t leak in your pocket and embarrass you." Instead, the company thought that the word "embarazar" (to impregnate) meant to embarrass, so the ad read: "It won’t leak in your pocket and make you pregnant.
• In Italy, a campaign for Schweppes Tonic Water translated the name into "Schweppes Toilet Water."
• Pepsi’s "Come alive with the Pepsi Generation" translated into "Pepsi brings your ancestors back from the grave," in Chinese.
• Clairol introduced the "Mist Stick," a curling iron, into German only to find out that "mist" is slang for manure. Not too many people had use for the "manure stick."
• Scandinavian vacuum manufacturer Electrolux used the following in an American campaign: "Nothing sucks like an Electrolux."
• Coors put its slogan, "Turn it loose," into Spanish, where it was read as "Suffer from diarrhea."
Often words just don’t carry the same meaning for different people… or any meaning to some people.
In this series entitled “Holy Conversation” which is about talking about God in everyday life…we naturally must consider how the actual meaning of our faith is conveyed. We’re reminded of the simple truth…
“It doesn’t matter what you say… only what is heard.”
This helps us consider the Good News of the Gospel.
The word “Gospel” itself is a word that we would rarely hear today outside of it’s Biblical reference. The word ‘Gospel’ literally means ‘good news.’
It carries the sense of something vital being announced… but if the message doesn’t translate into what people actually understand… then it sounds like a foreign language.
What if you turned on CNN and you saw a news ticker break into the bottom of the screen saying, ‘very important newsflash’? What if the words then shifted into a language script and alphabet you have never seen before? The newsflash is apparently important, but you can’t read it.”
We may assume too much common meaning when we talk about the great spiritual message of the Gospel. We can use words that potentially disconnect people from the dialogue, rather than engage them in deeper reflection about what’s important. (Adapted thoughts from Static by Ron Martoia, pp. 156-157)
(We cannot simply replace the words of God to make people comfortable. What we can do is look at the intended meaning and be sure we are not confusing or missing the point because we are using words that simply can’t be understood. The scriptures use different words to get at similar issues. And obviously… the original languages and lives had a context that is different. So a part of what you will have an opportunity to explore in the Holy Conversation groups is how to think about the real and relatable meaning of spiritual words.)
I want us to briefly consider today is
What is that good news of the Gospel… and how might it best be communicated?
The word ‘Gospel’ is certainly used often within the Bible… especially in the New Testament. (It is called the gospel of God (Romans 1:1), gospel of His Son (Romans 1:9), the gospel of the kingdom of God (Luke 16:16), gospel of the grace of God (Acts 20:24), etc…. but clearly all imply that his good news is referring to the same thing.) However, we don’t quickly find a simple single defining summary. In part it is because it is intended to capture the whole of what God had clearly done on behalf of humanity… and in part because those who heard it already understood something of that history of God’s work that was then fulfilled in Christ.
So let me offer us a basic definition…
The Gospel is essentially the Good News of what God has done on behalf of humanity, the historical work of rescuing and restoring creation which is ultimately fulfilled through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
• Life (which embodied, taught, and imparted new life with God)
• Death (which provided restored relationship by bearing our shame, sin, and separation)
• Resurrection (which defeated the powers of this world and established the ongoing power of God’s supreme presence with us.)
There are several key words used here. I want to suggest that perhaps the best over-riding word both in terms of capturing the whole and communicating in our current culture is restoration.
I want to help us capture…
The Good News (Gospel) as Restoration
I realize that this word like any one single word doesn’t convey all that the Gospel implies… but I believe it is the best of over-riding meanings. It’s a message of restoration… that is communicated (that is… ‘made common’) not only in words, but in works…. not only in proposition, but in power.