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Which Gospel?

Which Gospel? Three New Testament Perspectives
By Rev Dr Dean Drayton
MediaCom Education, 2005.
RRP $19.95

Rev Dr Dean Drayton, President of the Assembly of the Uniting Church in Australia, has provided us with a most helpful volume to assist leaders in the Church in proclaiming the Gospel of God in new and exciting ways. It is written in a very readable and attractive style.

He begins by looking at the ways in which the concept of the Gospel has been reduced to a single critical event in the lives of individual Christians, often associated with particular Protestant views of conversion.

He traces this historically through the life of the Church, particularly from the Reformation through the Enlightenment and the various Awakenings and Revivals in Western Protestant culture. Critical is the Enlightenment. Here, faith is not denied. Rather, faith and religious expression are given their place. They are to be individual, and to be subjective.

Christian life is primarily to be authenticated by individual interpretations and by the consciences of individuals. Revivalism within Protestantism, following the Enlightenment, has for two hundred years greatly shaped the way in which the Gospel of God in Jesus Christ is proclaimed and received.

Against these backgrounds, Dr Drayton looks at three New Testament perspectives on the concept of the Gospel of God: that found in Paul’s writings, that found in Matthew, Mark and Luke, and that found in John.

Here we have a variety of perspectives, all of which challenge the perspective of the single and highly individualised and subjective paradigm, which has been so influential in the traditions that formed the Uniting Church in Australia.

Thus, Dr Drayton’s work is a gift of liberation for Christian leaders and church members, and a source of encouragement and instruction for those seeking to witness to God’s Gospel in Jesus Christ for us and for all humanity.

Rev Professor James Haire, President, National Council of Churches in Australia; Professor of Theology, and Director, Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture, Charles Sturt University.