Many in our world are increasingly arguing that the good news is both works and proclamation. I, myself, have even argued such things, however there has been a growing uneasiness in my soul over this expansion of the gospel. Maybe, it is because too many Christians are forgoing the proclamation aspect in exchange for Rotary Club type service efforts that never tell people the good news of Jesus Christ. Or maybe it is because there is something deeper at work in such collapses of the good news.
Dr. Jon Payne, wrote an article for the September/October 2011 issue of Modern Reformation which pointed out one possible deeper implication. In it, he writes,
When we negotiate the Great Commission, adding our good works or service to the equation, the gospel too easily becomes what we do for others rather than an announcement of what Christ has done for us. (pg. 11)
These words were clarifying for me. They underscored and illuminated the struggles I have had with many in our churches calling for good works as our form of gospel proclamation. This isn’t the gospel, though it flows out of the gospel. We must be careful to keep the proclamation of Christ in the forefront of our churches and evangelism ministries.