Summary: What are the basic elements of the Gospel? What truths are required to be Proclaimed, Understood, and Believed in order to be saved?
The Irreducible Gospel
(Thanks to David James from the Alliance for Biblical Integrity for his research on this subject and his Powerpoint backgrounds.)
Professor Michael Bebe to illustrates the intricacies of Intelligent Design by demonstrating all of the simultaneous things that had to take place in order for life to form. This is referred to as Irreducible Complexity and refers to the minimum requirements that make a thing function. If you take any of the key elements away, the entire system will not work.
The simplest illustration of this is the mouse trap. It has a spring, base, hammer, hold down bar and catch for bait. If you take any one of these parts away, the mouse trip will not function.
With this illustration in mind, what are the basic elements of the Gospel? What truths are required to be Proclaimed, Understood, and Believed in order to be saved?
The Key Passage in this discussion is . 1 Corinthians 15:1–11 (ESV) — 1 Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, 2 and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. 3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. 6 Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. 7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. 8 Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me. 9 For I am the least of the apostles, unworthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me. 11 Whether then it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed.
Here, the Apostle Paul describes The manner in which the Gospel is communicated.
i. 1 Corinthians 1:1 “I preached, you received”
ii. 1 Corinthians 1:2 “I preached”
iii. 1 Corinthians 1:3 “I delivered what I also received”
iv. 1 Corinthians 1:11 “we preach, you believed”
Do you see Paul’s personal involvement with the gospel? He is affirming the gospel through his own personal witness and testimony. Christianity is unique in this way. God wants us to investigate the truthfulness of the gospel. The message of Jesus was not something written centuries after the events supposedly took place. The gospels and book of Acts were written by those who personally witnessed these things, and written to people who were alive to know whether or not the stories were true.
Notice the significance of first hand accounts in the communication of the gospel
PETER at Pentecost. Acts 2:32 (ESV) — 32 This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses.
Peter and John in the Temple court. Acts 3:15 (ESV) — 15 and you killed the Author of life, whom God raised from the dead. To this we are witnesses.
Apostles... Acts 4:33 (ESV) — 33 And with great power the apostles were giving their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all.
Peter and the Apostles to the Jewish leaders. Acts 5:32 (ESV) — 32 And we are witnesses to these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him.”
Peter to Cornelius. Acts 10:39–41 (ESV) — 39 And we are witnesses of all that he did both in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a tree, 40 but God raised him on the third day and made him to appear, 41 not to all the people but to us who had been chosen by God as witnesses, who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead.
Luke to Theophilus. Luke 1:1–4 (ESV) — 1 Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the things that have been accomplished among us, 2 just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word have delivered them to us, 3 it seemed good to me also, having followed all things closely for some time past, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, 4 that you may have certainty concerning the things you have been taught.