The purpose of the Church is to preach the gospel, as Jesus told his disciples, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.” (Mk. 16:15; cf. Lk. 24:46ff; Acts 1:8) However, the primary breakdown between command and obedience happens precisely in the definition of the gospel. “What is the gospel?”The modern theological figurehead of evangelical theology is George Eldon Ladd. There is an academic “consensus” concerning his articulation of inaugurated eschatology (denial of which is nigh unto heresy). His gospel is visually represented in the bottom diagram (Theology of the NT, 67). He based this diagram primarily upon the middle diagram of Geerhardus Vos, the father of modern biblical theology (Pauline Eschatology, 38). However, Ladd, Vos, and virtually all modern scholars agree that the first-century Jewish interpretation of the Bible boiled down to a simple timeline, beginning at creation, enduring “this age” of sin and death, and ending in “the age to come” (pictured top in Vos’ “Original Scheme”).

Why do we feel compelled to add lines to the simple timeline? (ahem, PLATO) Let’s just stick a Cross on the timeline and believe the Messiah had to suffer for the sins of man that we might be delivered from the wrath of the Day of the Lord (cf. Heb. 9:28; Rom. 5:9; etc.). Let’s return to a “gospel timeline” and live like we believe it.

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