What's the gospel in seven words?

October 25, 2011

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.


Gospel in 7 or less words

Love one another as I love you.

It's easy to be confused by specific phrases, parables, or versions of the gospel.  This phrase allows me to keep it simple.  In this context, love is a verb which requires active participation on my part, not just the warm fuzzy feeling I get when my granddaughter does something cute.  Although the concept is simple, it's not always easy to behave lovingly when I forget that God is the centre of my world.

1in 6 Voters still believes Obama is Muslim

After Mr Obama's same sex marriage stunt last week, I am more conveced that Mr Obama is NOTChristian.

What Christian would throw the Sacrament of Marriage out the window for a few votes, and $15 + Million Dollars.

The Sacrament of Marriage was instituted by Christ, with its foundation in the Ten Commandments.

The gays and lesbiens are looking for any big name to give their aproval for their behavior, just so they can feel good about themselves.

Interesting that someone

Interesting that someone else, myself included, could view Obama's stand as proof that he is Christian. 

I don't say this to draw a "battle line" but to point-out that within the Body of Christ there is such a diversity of views among sincere, prayerful and biblically-literate people.

7 words

I still like Will Campbell's 8 words.  "We're all bastards but God loves us anyway."

Gospel in Seven Words ...

I don't have a seven-word gospel, but I'm pretty confident that the reason Buddhism-lite is doing so well in the US is because it is presented with one goal (compassion) and ten expectations you can start today ... whereas we offer 66 books that we promise will take a lifetime to begin to understand. The old catechisms, virtues and vices had some value, I think.


God is love.  Be love yourself.

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.

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.


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.


seven words

Broken humanity, redeemed by Christ, has hope.


Created, fallen and in need, redeemed, hope.

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.

Gospel in 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

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.

8 or 7?

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

The gospel in seven words

We are now all one.

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

7 words

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

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.

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!