Denver Seminary

2019 Fall Engage Magazine

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 3 of 20

4 FALL 2019 4 FALL 2019 THE GOSPEL INITIATIVE EVANGELICALS ARE FIRST AND FOREMOST "GOSPEL PEOPLE." OUR VERY NAME COMES FROM THE GREEK WORD FOR GOSPEL. OUR FAITH IS CENTERED ON THE GOSPEL, THE GOOD NEWS THAT THROUGH THE CRUCIFIXION AND THE RESURRECTION, JESUS CHRIST DEFEATED SIN, EVIL, AND DEATH. WE ARE PEOPLE WHOSE LIVES HAVE BEEN TRANSFORMED BY THE GOSPEL. WE ARE GOSPEL PEOPLE! Unfortunately, evangelicals are not known primarily as "gospel people" in the broader culture today. The majority of Americans understand "evangelical" in primarily political terms rather than gospel terms. What a tragedy. For millions of Americans, "evangelical" doesn't mean good news; it means bad news. And that's our fault, not theirs. We have allowed ourselves to be identified by politics rather than the gospel. As a result, the number of Americans who identify as evangelical continues to decline while those who identify as having no religious affiliation continues to grow in number. The Pinetops Foundation landmark study, The Great Opportunity¸ warns that if Gen Zers (those born after 2000) disaffiliate from Christianity at the same rate as Millennials, 42 million more people will leave the faith by 2050. 1 Another recent study discovered that almost half of adults who were raised in the largest evangelical denomination in the United States have now left the church. 2 It's time. It's time for us to reclaim our identity as "gospel people." It's time for us to reconsider what it means to be a credible and compelling gospel presence in our society today. It's time for us to refocus and recommit ourselves to the one mission we have on this earth—to testify to Jesus Christ. We know that the religious landscape in America has changed. So have the questions and the objections to the gospel that many are voicing. The ways we've done evangelism and apologetics in the past just aren't connecting with the broader culture like they once did. We need a new approach, one that listens carefully to those who are turned off and disillusioned by the Church. We need to rethink how we approach those tough issues that form barriers to faith. How do we engage the hard questions, the skepticism, and the indifference that characterize our times? How do we step into the brokenness of our culture with compassion and conviction? Reclaiming Our Identity: The Gospel Initiative Mark Young, PhD President, Denver Seminary 1 2 dosecreative/iStock

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

view archives of Denver Seminary - 2019 Fall Engage Magazine