The evangelical protestant church in America is dying, slowly but surely. The future demands a new way of being and doing church. The coming wave of younger believers and those yearning to see the kingdom of God on earth realized, are already voting with their feet by avoiding the traditional denominations. In their search they are finding what they’re seeking in the rapidly growing non-denominational churches flooding the nation.
This book is about a reformation that is needed in Protestant churches in America, particularly those that identify with the term “evangelical.” Perhaps, what we should be calling for is a “vival,” a new re-launch of what the Complete Gospel of Jesus, the Christ, really includes. This “vival” centers around the definition of the word “gospel” as used in the church.
When asked “What is the Gospel of Christ?” the leading answer for the great majority of American protestant pastors and believers revolves around what we’re calling the “salvation Gospel of Christ.”
The “salvation Gospel of Christ” means that the path to eternal salvation is attained by belief in God and His Son, Jesus. It also means believing that Jesus lived and was killed as a sacrifice to atone for the sins of each person. Jesus rose from the grave through God’s love and power, appearing to many before ascending to heaven. We can join Him for eternity, after our life on earth ends, by accepting the unearned, unmerited gift of salvation.
I have nothing to add to this definition and completely believe it for my eternal salvation.
But, there is another portion of the Gospel that Jesus established early in His ministry and this is where the reformation comes into play. Jesus, through His words and deeds, encouraged all His followers to establish the kingdom of God on earth. His model prayer included these words: “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”
Over time this “Forgotten Gospel” receded so far in church doctrine that even mentioning it today is often disavowed with “saved by faith alone and not by works” arguments. At the same time, the evangelical protestant churches in America focus very few resources, energy, and messaging on the Forgotten Gospel.
This brings me back to why I wrote this book, to challenge local churches to embrace the Forgotten Gospel (the kingdom of God on earth Gospel of Jesus) as an equal part of the Gospel of Jesus, the Christ.
Then churches should align significant portions of their resources, people, messages, training, teaching, and budget, toward the Forgotten Gospel.
My hope, my prayer, is that thousands of local churches that are chained to a Gospel that only speaks to the hereafter will awaken to the Forgotten Gospel and live their lives grounded in what Jesus came to do, usher in the kingdom of God on earth. The church in America can be the most important institution for justice and hope. But it isn’t. Not yet.
It is also my hope that you will get a glimpse through this book of what Jesus intended His followers to do with their lives, and through the lives of those they touch, in neighborhoods and communities.
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.