The Central Message of the Gospel?

Asked about the election of a new pope, Pres. Obama said this:

“I don’t know if you have checked lately but the Conference of Catholic Bishops here in the United States don’t seem to be taking orders from me,” said Obama. “My hope is, based on what I know about the Catholic Church and the terrific work that they’ve done around the world and certainly in this country, you know, helping those who are less fortunate, is that you have a pope who sustains and maintains what I consider the central message of the Gospel that we treat everybody as children of God and that we love them the way Jesus Christ taught us to love them.”

Here, the president is a typical American Evangelical and, at the same time, ironically, a typical Roman Catholic.  That is, however, not the central message of the Gospel, which has always been and always will be: Jesus Christ, crucified and resurrected for you, a sinner.  Otherwise, it’s simply not good news.

On the other hand, Luther:

In the voice of the Gospel God is glorified and preached in Christ…This is what will take place in preaching.  Nor shall anything else be heard in the church but the voice of praise and proclamation of God’s blessings which we have received.  This song is in conflict with all human wisdom and righteousness, which are our works and in which we seek our own glory rather than give thanks to God.  Hence, to be pleasing to God is simply to acknowledge that we are the recipients of His blessings, not the donors.  A Christian confesses that he was condemned and lost and that he has received from Christ everything that belongs to salvation and righteousness; all his own merits [even love!] he considers worth nothing.  This is the fullest and most perfect sacrifice, and it embraces everything in the Old Testament.  There animals and cattle were slaughtered; here our own wisdom and righteousness, our endeavors and works. [Commentary on Isaiah 12:1, LW 16:128]


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