Features of the Fourth Gospel - Suitability for Communicating the Christian Message in a Post-modern Context
Garner, Gary O. (2003) Features of the Fourth Gospel - Suitability for Communicating the Christian Message in a Post-modern Context. (Unpublished)
Today’s post-modern society, as it applies throughout most first and second world countries, has brought about so-called "progress" substantially in the form of material abundance. Marked by a move to a "service society" (i.e. expanding education, health, and other private and public welfare services), control of the natural and social environment is also often achieved, but paradoxically with variable and sometimes unpredictable results. Accordingly, scientific and technological achievements are often bought at some cost to spiritual growth and positive emotional development.
The Fourth Gospel - John - brings about a timeless, yet refreshing message that meets an increasing spiritual need, despite a typically healthier, better housed, better fed and better educated population. The emphasis throughout this Gospel - that Jesus Christ is the Son of God - enables us to keep perspective in a world often placing undue emphasis on self-interest and materialistic competitiveness. It sets the scene for understanding the magnitude of God’s love and forgiveness, as captured in perhaps one of the most widely known of all scriptures - Chapter 3, verse 16: "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life".
In fact, the very meaning and purpose of this Gospel is provided in 20:31 which states that it has been written "…that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name". Put briefly, the Gospel was written so that men might believe that Jesus Christ is God.
It may not be too surprising therefore that the strong evangelistic purpose, embedded in the latter verse, is the very reason that the Fourth Gospel has been used so widely in communicating the essential New Testament message – the life and purpose of Jesus. Believe in Him, and you will have life.
Of all the communicators throughout history, religious or otherwise, Jesus would surely have to rank among the most effective, and certainly best known. His message may be relied upon for holding truth as much today, as it did yesterday. In this context, the Gospel of John is quite unique in that it contains extended discourses of the words of Jesus – there is far less reliance on supporting narrative as is the case, for example, with the other three Gospels. Therefore, the ability of the Fourth Gospel to effectively communicate the Christian message is an outstanding feature. What better way to do this than to use the very words of Jesus, which are given extensive treatment throughout? It not only encourages existing believers, but its evangelistic emphasis provides a very suitable platform to in win new disciples for the extension of God’s kingdom.
Impact and interest:
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|Keywords:||post, modern society, society, spiritual growth, emotional development, materialism, God, Gospel, Jesus, Christ, evangelism, communication|
|Subjects:||Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > PHILOSOPHY AND RELIGIOUS STUDIES (220000) > RELIGION AND RELIGIOUS TRADITIONS (220400) > Christian Studies (incl. Biblical Studies and Church History) (220401)|
|Divisions:||Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Built Environment and Engineering|
|Copyright Owner:||Copyright 2003 Gary Garner|
|Deposited On:||27 Apr 2007|
|Last Modified:||09 Jun 2010 12:39|
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