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What's the gospel in seven words?

The current Century editorial argues that, while it's unhelpful to insist that Occupy Wall Street produce a list of specific policy demands, it will be useful if the movement can eventually coalesce around a simple statement of general principle. The Tea Party has "Make government smaller!" What's the Occupy equivalent?

Slogan-length summations are crucial to any movement. "Jesus died for my sins" comes up an awful lot in popular Protestantism (mainline as well as evangelical). It's one thing to reject this as an inadequate summary of the gospel; it's quite another to improve on it with comparable pith.

Having seen this challenge come up in the blogosphere a few times, we thought we'd ask a bunch of theologians, pastors and others to take a crack at it. We asked them both to summarize the gospel in seven words and to expand on this in a few sentences. Starting this week, we'll run the responses as a blog series. To see all the responses together as they're posted, bookmark this page.

Got your own version? Feel free to add it as a comment to this post.

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God's plan for our exaltation through Christ!

God's plan for our exaltation through Christ

Christ defines it this way Himself in 3 Ne 27--the Gospel is beautifully simple, and simply beautiful!

"Jesus challenges us to seek Godly perfection."

"Jesus challenges us to seek Godly perfection."

The words, life, teachings and death of our Master, Jesus, challenge us to do, to act, to follow, to serve, to be better, to do more, to try harder, to be humble, yet Righteousness, to serve God not money, to lose ourselves and gain eternity.

Picking up a cross, going the extra mile, expanding our 'talents' to serve others, and being the Good Samaritan cannot mean a life of leisure and ease. It's a call to action. If we say we love Jesus, but don't hear what he says, we've built our lives on shifting sands, not the Rock of his Words.


Death is defeated by Jesus - follow him!

That's it folks,. For anything more, read the gospels!

Gospel in Seven Words

Christ crucified, is risen, will come again.

Gospel in 7 words

There is only one of us

Gospel in 7 words

Jesus suffered, died, rose. Your turn, now.

love these creative yet concise words

I love these creative, yet concise, words to sum up our understandings of the core message! I am grateful, however, that we are not actually limited to seven words. Here are a few of my own in answer to the question: Who do you say that I am?

The One who shows us compassionate justice (7 words)
The God who emptied himself for all (7 words)
Compassionate Jewish man-God who loves us (6 words)
God-human who came to show us the Way (8 words)
Servant-God found in the eyes of the oppressed (8 words)
Rabbi who rebukes evil but redeems through love (8 words)
Born in human form to show God's Way (8 words)

The One we see in the eyes of the poor (10 words)

Letter from John C. Rankin

God gave, we blew it, he forgives.”

John C. Rankin

Simsbury, Conn.

Letter from Nancy R. Scott

The late Lewis Mudge, onetime dean of McCormick Theological Semi­nary, challenged people to state the gospel in a few words and in non­religious language. Here’s my attempt to do that in seven words: “Fear not! We are all greatly loved.” A few more words could be added: “Love one another, as you have been loved.”

Nancy R. Scott 

Urbana, Ill.

Letter from Bill Williamson

In regard to “The gospel in seven words” (Sep. 5), my contribution is: “Fear not.” And if, like your contributors, I get an explanatory paragraph, I would say that so much of our culture is driven by fear--fear of terrorists, fear of being fired, fear for my health, for my children, for my church not making its budget, and on and on. The gospel says, Do not be afraid.

Bill Williamson

Louisville, Ky.

7 words

Love God.  Love neighbor.  Transform the world. 

Jesus lives. Therefore your future is good.

Robert Jenson ca. 1980. I'm a bit surprised no other student of his has weighed in with this; thought even Jens himself might. I believe the original formulation was, "The man Jesus now lives with death behind him; therefore your future is good." All I might note is that to change "your" into "our" would seriously diminish its kerygmatic power. Michael

Gospel in Seven Words

Love one another as God loves you.

God's kingdom rests on loving all people

I am a member of the congregation at St. Peter's Episcopal Church in Lakewood, Ohio. As part of this morning's sermon, our rector, Keith Owen, challenged us to convey the Gospel in a seven-word elevator speech. Several members of the congregation shared their interpretations with the rest of the community. How inspiring and enlightening to hear so many viewpoints on Christ's ministry!

2 Timothy 2:8

I am excited to see Christians discussing this all-important topic!I think Apostle Paul summarized the gospel in the best way in 2 Timothy 2:8. This could be read in 7 words:

“Remember Jesus Christ, resurrected, descended from David.”

I think Christians in this generation (including myself) have lost sight of the part of the gospel that declares Jesus as “descended from David” or another place “according to Scriptures”. The fulfillment work on the cross is sorely needed these days.

7 words

Since the gospels never tell us why Jesus died, this is the best choice of words.

The gospel in seven words

We are now all one.

No explanation. No added theology. Only a realization to contemplate and effect.

Gospel in seven words

Hell's gone, Everything is One With God

The gospel in seven words

The fatherhood of God, brotherhood of man.

The Gospel in Seven Words

Christ-like character, Kingdom community, compassion for all.

The expression of the gospel message I think for a Christ-follower on the personal level is to be like Christ; socially or communally it is to live together in an open, welcoming, creative, sustainable community or environment; and missionally, it is to partner with God to redeem the world back into heaven on earth.

that's 8 words, but who's

that's 8 words, but who's counting

8 or 7?

I think "Christ-like" is just one word but you're right. Who's counting.

Gospel in seven words

SEVEN WORDS: Christ-like character, Kingdom community, compassion for all. The expression of the gospel message should reveal what it means to be a Christ- follower. On a personal level it's about character transformation; socially or communally it should help us live responsibly and creatively in an open, welcoming and sustainable community or environment; and missionally we should be partnering with God in loving and redeeming creation (the world) back into a new heaven on earth.

The Gospel in seven words

Behave like a Christian if you profess.

The Gospel in Seven Words

We Are A Living Body of Christ!

What a honor to be part of God's divine body!

What the Gospel ISN'T in 7 words

Tell us what the gospel ISN'T in seven words or less - http://anirenicon.com/2012/09/01/what-the-gospel-is-not-in-seven-words-or-less/

The Gospel in 7 words

The Kingdom of God is among you

Try to be as gracious as God or Hallows, not Horcruxes

Try to be as gracious as God Hallows, not Horcruxes

Gospel in Seven Words

Be merciful.  Be generous.  Love one another.

God will make all things new.

God will make all things new.

Gospel in seven words

I had a teacher who said rabbis used to be challenged to give a summary of the law while standing on one foot. These summaries of the gospel thought-provoking.  Thanks!

Here's my attempt: 

Creation. Sin. Wrath. Love. Death. New Life.

Seven Words . . .

Love God. Love Others. It Matters.

Gospel in Five Words

Unconditional love trumps unlovable condition.

Gospel in seven words

Come in from the rain

Gospel in 7 words

God loves you, and I do too.

The gospel in 7 words...

God reaching down vs humans reaching up.

Gospel in One Word


seven words

Broken humanity, redeemed by Christ, has hope.


Created, fallen and in need, redeemed, hope.


Judging from the 3300+ death threats I have received from Christians, I always assumed the core teaching of the religion was "hassle homosexuals". Along with abortion it is the key issue that defines Christian politics.


What Jesus Said the Gospel Was...

The kingdom of God has drawn near.

Six Christ Holidays of the Lotus ( in seven words)

Birth, Verbal Teaching, Death, Ressurection, Pentacost, Ascension

Great idea Steve; like doing a haiku, it forces precision.

Most of the entries are demented gnosticism, a distortion of Christianity. Traansformation towards a perfect world, progress, etc,-- not that these have no importance, they simply aren't Christianity. For you "transformation" peope: read history, Aquinas, Voegelin, you won't want to displace Christiantiy with progressivism.

gospel in seven words

Your Creator wants to redeem you.

gospel in 7 words and gospel in 3 words

7 word gospel:

realize repent receive Jesus as Lord Savior

Or a 3 word gospel (per Hank Hanegraaff):

1. realize

2. repent

3. receive


Gospel in 7 Words

Jesus died that we might live.

In Jesus, we are reconciled

In Jesus, we are reconciled to God

Gospel in 7 words

God died that man might live

The Gospel in Seven Words

I am God and you are not.

Gospel in Seven Words

God embraced the fallen with Jesus Christ.

the Gospel in seven words

Some ideas

"We become God's children in Christ" 

if I had more words "Christ's death transfers us from darkness and alienation to sonship and light" 

OR "in Christ alone our hope is found" (Keith and Kristin Getty)

OR "God's promised Son saves His sinful people"

OR for a Reformation cry "All He requires is faith in Christ"

OR "His obedience for our sinfulness.  No joke."

I really like Ellen Charry's because the wall of hostility can be both horizontal and vertical.  It is also biblical.  In general, I find that it is easy for our definitions to be really individualistic, focusing on the law and grace distinction rather than on the work of Christ or the importance of the Church.

The Gospel in seven words

God loves all people, unconditionally and eternally!

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