“The gospel is not just the diving board off which we jump into Christianity—it’s the swimming pool in which we swim.”
That’s a line from J. D. Greear’s new book, Essential Christianity: The Heart of the Gospel in Ten Words (The Good Book Company). Greear is pastor at The Summit Church in North Carolina and the author of many books. He served as the 62nd president of the Southern Baptist Convention, the largest Protestant church network in the United States.
His book Essential Christianity works through Romans, the apostle Paul’s magnum opus. Based on Romans, Greear defines the gospel, the good news of Jesus Christ, this way: “God, in an act of grace, sent his Son, Jesus, to earth as a man so that through his life, death, and resurrection he could rescue us, reign as King, and lead us into the eternal, full life we were created to enjoy.”
Greear writes not only to encourage believers in Jesus but also to challenge non-Christians. He aims to show how the gospel defies many modern expectations. For example, he writes, “The cross yields a radical inclusiveness that welcomes anyone, celebrates everyone, and looks down on no one.”
J. D. joined me on Gospelbound to talk more about Romans and the human condition, as well as about his leadership maturation as a pastor. I also asked him what one change he’d want to make in the SBC.