Response to Christoforchuk: What is the Gospel?
Those four books you mentioned are considered the “Gospels”. They outline the ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus. They are not however, the Gospel.
He then goes on to explain the biblical metanarrative of creation-fall-redemption-consummation (none of which I disagree with), but is still missing elements of the “biblical Gospel”. So my rebuttal to Chuk, and for everyone else with this understanding of this “gospel”, is how does your understanding of the Gospel hold up to the Bible? I’d like to make a few points:
 Compare the response to 1 Corinthians 15:
Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas [Peter], and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.
Paul makes especially clear here that this is his message of the Gospel, what he passes on as first importance: The death, burial and resurrection of Jesus, the annointed Messiah (what “Christ” means in Paul’s context), according to the Scriptures (referring to the Hebrew Scriptures, as the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John were not in circulation). This, as raw as the message is, is the message that saved, saves and will save. Some, or many, evangelical Christians will find this response from Paul frustrating simply because Paul doesn’t seem to explain enough. So instead of accepting this bare-bones Gospel, we like to add the ideas of sotierology and atonement theory and present those as part the Gospel - or even worse, the actual Gospel. The death, burial and resurrection of Christ, according to Paul, is the Gospel.
 Matthew, Mark, Luke and John as the Gospels
If the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus is the Gospel, then the Gospels are actually the Gospels. If the death, burial and resurrection aren’t the bare essentials to the Gospels, then Matthew, Mark, Luke and John don’t deserve to be called “the Gospels”. This is what irks me about the statement: Those four books you mentioned are considered the “Gospels”. They outline the ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus. They are not however, the Gospel. The Gospels fall under the Apostles’ qualifications for the Gospel. For some Christians, this doesn’t seem to be, sadly, enough for them to qualify as “The Gospel”.
 The Apostolic Preaching and Understanding of the Gospel
I’ve already made a post about Peter’s Sermon in Acts 2, but a step back and looking at all the Apostolic sermons throughout Acts is needed to grasp the Gospel message of the early church. Compare Gospel presentations with the Sermons in Acts 2:14-40, 3:11-26, 7:1-53, 10:34-43, 13:16-42, 14:14-17, 17:22-31, 26:1-29. While I doubt that Chuk would disagree with any of these sermons, these sermons lead me to two of my next points…
 Where is Israel?
To borrow a critique from Scot McKnight, many Christians go straight from Genesis 3 to Romans 3, skipping the story of Israel altogether. This understanding of the Gospel as Creation-Fall-Redemption-Consummation misses the story of Israel in the process of ‘Redemption’. Jesus’, Paul’s and the Apostles’ Gospel included the story of Israel as the leading up the climax of Jesus.
 Penal Substitutionary Atonement as part of the Gospel?
Chuk’s language about the atonement is, understandably, blatantly in the language of Penal Substitutionary Atonement:
On that cross He suffered the Father’s wrath against our sin, paying the ultimate cost for something He did not do. Him in our place.
While I do not disagree with penal substitutionary atonement, you will hardly find this language in the apostles’ and early church fathers’ understanding of the Gospel. The dominant views of atonement theory in the church for the first 1,000 years are Christus Victor, Ransom theory and Moral Influence, not penal substitutionary atonement (PSA). PSA was a developed out of Anselm’s 11th century satisfaction model, developed in the 11th century, by the fathers of the Reformation. The phrasing, especially in the Gospel sermons, is not explicit in any of the preaching found within the New Testament. It is important not to associate later developed ideas as “necessary to the Gospel” when the idea is not necessary to the Gospel of the early church.
It is harmful to start saying things such as the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John or the death, burial and resurrection are not the Gospel when are, in fact, they are the Gospel. Why? Because it leads us to make formulations that may are extra- or non-biblical. Sure, the Plan of Salvation has and will probably continue to be a method of telling the biblical story, but don’t confuse it with the actual, apostolic Gospel.
 See: Paul R. Eddy and James Beilby, The Nature of the Atonement: Four Views || Gregg Allison, History of the Doctrine of the Atonement, Southern Baptist Journal of Theology 11.2 (Summer 2007) || Daniel Glynn, Theories of Atonement || Derek Floods, Substitutionary Atonement and the Church Fathers: A reply to the authors of Pierced for Our Transgressions of the atonement
 See: J. I. Packer, What did the Cross Achieve? The Logic of Penal Substitution (1973 Lecture): “…Luther, Calvin, Zwingli, Melanchthon and their reforming contemporaries were the pioneers in stating [penal substitutionary theory]…” || John Calvin, Institutes 2:16
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