The vitality of our life as the ELCA is inseparable from the clarity of what we proclaim. In my final report to the Lutheran World Federation Assembly in July, I asked the question I have asked throughout the ELCA over the last nine years, "What gospel are we proclaiming?"
The question of what gospel or message of good news we are proclaiming is important for all of us because there are competing gospels in American public life. Some attractively offer the hope of material prosperity to those living in poverty. Other gospels say the way to salvation depends on the purity of our personal morality, the generosity of our charity, the courage of our public witness, the sincerity of our pious devotion, or the dogmatic precision of our doctrinal formulations.
The gospel of Jesus Christ, however, is "the power of God for salvation to everyone who has faith" (Romans 1:16).
Not a partisan ideology about correct attitudes, behaviors or ideas, the gospel of Jesus Christ is God's own power to save. It is the saving message of God's good work in Jesus Christ—the forgiveness by which God overcomes all human divisions and brings in the new creation in Christ. "So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ ..." (2 Corinthians 5:17-18).
Did you hear that? Do you believe it?
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