An Ancient Summary of the Gospel, Part 2
The answer is Irenaeus.
Irenaeus lived and ministered in the second century A.D. And even though he was quite systematic in his thinking (all you need do is read "Against Heresies," a massive volume he wrote to combat Gnosticism, among other things), he did not attempt to state the Gospel in a way focused exclusively on the climax of the story. He went back to the beginning instead, and he included Jesus' ascension, exaltation, and return.
Contrast Irenaeus' summary with one I recently read in a tract I was given:
“God is crazy about you! His love is unlimited and completely unconditional. There is nothing you can do to make God love you any more or less than he does right now. There is nothing God wants more than to love and be loved by you.
Sadly we have all been separated from God’s love by something the bible (sic) calls sin. Simply put sin is choosing to live for ourselves rather than God. We sin when we ignore God, break His laws and basically do things our own way. Sin destroys relationships with friends, with family and with God. The bible (sic) says that sin ultimately brings death.
The key is to realize that the penalty for sin is death. We’ve all sinned and we deserve to die. But God, who is full of mercy, loved you so much that He sent Jesus to come and die in your place. Jesus died so that we can have eternal life.
God has done everything He can to demonstrate just how important you are to Him. It is now up to you to decide what you want to do. God is offering you life in all it’s (sic) fullness for all eternity. All you need to do is accept that you’ve sinned, ask for God’s forgiveness and decide to live the rest of your life only for Him. The choice is yours.”
I wonder what Irenaeus would say about a summary like this? Did you notice no mention of the ascension, exaltation, and return of Jesus? Even the resurrection goes missing. And hardly anything is written to help people understand more accurately who Jesus is.
At The Gospel Story-arc, we love to tell more of Jesus' story. We believe that knowing more about him, knowing more of his story, from creation to his return, clarifies the decision that everyone must make—whether or not to believe in him.
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