So this question might seem like a no-brainer. As long as we can agree on the basic tenants of the gospel (Which is not as easy as it sounds!), then it seems that preaching the gospel would be the act of public declaring those basic tenants. And maybe it is that simple.
But before we settle on the obvious, here are two questions?
1. Is it still preaching the gospel if it is done from a position of corruption?
On the one hand, the gospel message is true and powerful regardless of who is saying it. As Paul in Phil 1:18 says, “What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed!” Some people may be speaking it from a stance of corruption, but at least the gospel is being preached. On the other hand, there is no doubt damage is done to a message if the messenger lacks credibility. If we are preaching a gospel that saves sinners from sin but we are still neck deep in sinful slavery, is that really preaching the gospel? If we are preaching a gospel that extends justice to the poor and exploited yet are supporting and enabling laws that exploit poor people, is that really preaching the gospel? If we preach the gospel with words but undermine it with our lives, is it really preaching the gospel?
2. Does preaching the gospel only involve words?
Preaching obviously is done with words, but I’ve been married long enough to know that vocalized words are not the only means of effective communication. I can tell Lauren I love her, but if I say it monotonously and without passion, or if I say it while I am betraying her, she doesn’t get that message. So is preaching the gospel any different? Does effectively communicating the gospel only take words?
This is what I mean by this question. In order to preach the gospel, do we only need to say the right words, or does it take more? What role does social justice have? What about corporate and personal integrity? Does it take a previous relationship, one that can continue into discipleship, for it to be true gospel preaching?
This is something I’ve been wrestling through, and I would love to know what you guys think.