Jenson on the gospel

Again in Jenson’s Systematic Theology:

Such things as forgiveness or liberation or empowerment are for gentiles what happen on the way of conversion from the gods to the God of Israel. They are not therefore unimportant. So, to take a principle example, not acknowledging the true God is sin, and therefore the privilege of conversion to him is forgiveness; moreover, in its undeserved happening it is forgiveness by grace alone occurring in this act of faith alone. But the “therefore” in the preceding sentence and in all others like it is essential. Conversions to other religions or yogas or therapies may also in their own ways be describable as “forgiveness” or “liberation” and so on. To such possibilities the gospel’s messengers can only say: “We are not here to entice you into our religion by benefits allegedly found only in it. We are here to introduce you to the true God, for whatever he can do with you–which may well be suffering and oppression.” 51

Jenson is of course not the first to make this point; in a similar vein, John Piper has a book titled God is the Gospel. But it is nonetheless an interesting and important point, relevant to previous discussions on this blog, and to evangelism and mission: as the saying of some goes, “what you win them with is what you win them to.” If the chief benefit being preached in preaching is something other than God himself, then God is not the God you are preaching, ultimately.