The Gospel & Happiness Paradox

By John Orberg

What is the gospel? Folks in the most interesting places are asking that question these days. When I was growing up, no one had to ask what the gospel was. We knew. It was the answer to the question: "If you were to die tonight, how do you know for sure you'd go to heaven?" The gospel was what got you saved. We knew what getting saved was, too. Getting saved was being placed in the heaven-bound category. And we knew what heaven was. Heaven was the pleasure factory where everybody wanted to go after death.

But now folks like N. T. Wright (from a New Testament historical perspective), and Dallas Willard (from a spiritual formation and discipleship perspective), and Shane Claiborne (from a community perspective), and Brian McLaren (from a general gadfly perspective), are calling us to rethink what the gospel really means. Recently someone asked me to comment on it. (Actually it was my wife. And she did so only because I asked her to ask me to comment on it so I'd have an excuse to write about it.)

So here are a few thoughts.