The word “gospel” is a noun and an adjective and a verb and an industry that has become as amorphous as the word “evangelical.” I often hear about how this or that is a “gospel” issue, or how the litmus test of a good church is whether or not they are “gospel-centered.” Blogs and coalitions and conferences and genres of music claim the name.
Writing to a group of early Christians in Corinth, the Apostle Paul famously said, “the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God” (1 Cor. 1:18). Christ crucified was “a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles” (v. 23), a foolish thing and a sign of weakness. In the ancient world a cross was not something decorative to put atop buildings or wear, diamond-studded, around one’s neck. It was a barbaric method of slow death.