Raised in a large Southern Baptist family in the 1950s, I grew up hearing and believing that there was one Gospel, the Gospel of salvation. This “salvation Gospel” secured a believer an eternity with God and secondarily offered the Holy Spirit as an indwelling presence to guide the believers’ decisions toward the path of righteousness.
It was from our parents, not the church, that my five siblings and I learned that showing compassion for others and stepping into the needs faced by those whom Jesus called “the least of these” was expected of us whatever our age or situation. We learned about serving others by watching how our parents lived. We watched them “do unto others” with no expectation of return. We watched them sacrifice time and money for the poor. We watched them stand up for the oppressed during the civil rights movement in the turbulent 50s and 60s — not an easy thing to do in Central Florida for a white man and his wife, especially a prominent business owner and community and church leader. They did it despite threats to our safety, the business, and their reputation.
It wasn’t until much later that it dawned on me that the church was almost exclusively focused on the “salvation Gospel” while spending very little energy and resources on what one might call “the forgotten Gospel.”
This realization answered a question that, for me, had existential significance — “Why don’t regular attenders of evangelical protestant churches in America engage in a meaningful way in ushering in the kingdom of God on earth?”
The answer isn’t that the regular attenders are not Christian. Rather the churches have primarily taught that the Gospel of Christ only secures eternal salvation; and they taught this while not emphasizing the other Gospel, “the forgotten Gospel of Jesus.”
By emphasizing the “salvation Gospel,” the evangelical protestant churches in America offered free, no-stress membership along with convenient, family-friendly locations. At the same time these churches stressed the inerrant interpretation of the Bible as interpreted by its pastors.
By the mid-1970s evangelical protestant seminaries in America were producing pastors to meet the growth, positioning graduates in the salvation-centric Gospel for generations of pastors to come.
Growth, in number of churches and in the rising membership in churches, created its own challenges that needed continuing growth to meet. As the “salvation Gospel” messaging needed more and more resources, something had to give, and so began the declining emphasis on forgetting the Gospel of Jesus.
Slowly, over the next few decades, the only Gospel proclaimed was the “salvation Gospel” and “the forgotten Gospel of Jesus” became truly forgotten as it faded into the background.
This book, “Reclaiming the Forgotten Gospel of Jesus,” explores what Jesus said, what Jesus did, and what He expects His followers to do.
In the book we will be covering why the Gospel of Jesus was forgotten. What it is and how Jesus defined it. What we can do to bring it to the foreground. And how the local church will benefit.
I hope you will join me in exploring how, together, we can revitalize the church to advance the kingdom of God on earth, releasing the love of the Gospel of Jesus into the world.
This is My Prayer
God, please use me to encourage church leaders to embrace the Complete Gospel of Jesus, the Christ, reminding them that it is the unique role of the church to usher in the kingdom of God on earth by our actions, with our resources, through our love and lives of compassion, until the whole church cares about the whole Gospel in a whole new way, through the local church.
Charlie is founder of Making Faith Matter, a movement to help the local church return to the Complete Gospel of Jesus, the Christ. This is expressed best by Jesus when He taught us to pray, “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.” Charlie's new book “Reclaiming the Forgotten Gospel of Jesus” explores what could happen when churches adopt establishing the “Kingdom of God on earth” as their primary purpose. Learn more...
Reclaiming the Forgotten Gospel of Jesus
For decades, evangelical protestant churches in America have preached a salvation-centric Gospel of Christ. Today, a majority of protestants believe this is the complete gospel, and their churches have aligned their teachings to “seek and save the lost” only. In doing so, they relegated the life, words, and works of Jesus to secondary, non-gospel status.
But, what if the story of Jesus, passed down to us in the New Testament (especially Mark, Matthew, and Luke), describing His life, actions, death, and resurrection, is true? What if it accurately portrays the whole story of Jesus, the Son of God, as He lived among us? What if He still lives with us, showing us how to live out the kingdom of God on earth?
What if Jesus’s life was a living gospel, as He said it was, yet it has been forgotten by the evangelical protestant churches in America? And if this forgotten gospel has been ignored, what should the church do about it?
The purpose of this book is to explore how the life, words, and works of Jesus can bring churches, pastors, denominations, and members back to the Complete Gospel of Jesus, the Christ.