An ideology is defined as: 1 : a systematic body of concepts especially about human life or culture 2 : a manner or the content of thinking characteristic of an individual, group, or culture. In many ways, the Christian Gospel about God’s plan to redeem creation through the death and Resurrection of Jesus is an ideology since it redefines so much of our world. Nevertheless, the Gospel does not stop there.
An ideology is often linked with control. Converting someone to an ideology implies a measure of control under a new system of thinking, and Christians are often viewed in a negative light because they are perceived as desiring to control people by proselytizing to their own ideology.
A Christian can win friends easily by never sharing the Gospel or trying to convert any one. In fact, the number one critique I hear of Christians is that they try to convert people to their way of thinking. Hence, the labels closed-minded, intolerant, and controlling are plastered onto Christians.
But is the Gospel more than an ideology, a way to win people over to the Christian fold for the sake of power and influence? Sometimes the church is guilty of reducing it to little more than this, but in reality the Gospel is supposed to be good news. What’s so good about it?
I prefer NT Wright’s way of framing the Gospel: God is putting the world to rights. The Gospel means we can be right with God, with one another, and with the rest of creation. God’s plan is for people to join him in bringing spiritual and physical freedom.
In God’s coming kingdom there will be peace and an end to all manner of suffering. God will know his people intimately. The Gospel concerns the partial manifestation of this wonderful time.
More than just a way of explaining our world, the Gospel opens our eyes to a whole new world that has already begun to take root in creation. When a Christian shares the Gospel and invites others to join in, it’s an invitation to step into the freedom of God’s new work.