Mark Jones recently asked the question, “Does the Gospel Threaten?“. I heartily disagree that the Gospel itself threatens. Within Mark’s question (and subsequent post) he seems to be positing that the Gospel itself contains within its announcement threatenings. As if to say that the Gospel consists of not only Good News but also Bad News (threats).
I do not dispute that there are “Gospel threatenings” if by that you mean there are particular threatenings that accompany or attend the Gospel. What is crucial to maintain though is that these threatenings are distinct from the Gospel (e.g., “Do not neglect so great a salvation) yet are a natural consequence of the nature of the Gospel itself. We must warn all that there are mortal consequences for our reception or rejection of the Gospel. And we must warn believers that our lives must be a reflection of and in accordance with this Gospel lest we so prove ourselves not to actually believe this Gospel.
By saying that they are a natural consequence I mean that they do not consist in or make up any part of the Gospel but do result from it. The grace of Christ abundantly poured out on wicked sinners is not lightly spurned. When the Son of God must become a man and die it is a matter of life an death when we consider our response to this message. But threatenings are by no means good news. The Gospel, by definition, is the good news par excellence. To refuse such good news is to our peril, but that does not change, alter or add to the content of that good news. It does not suddenly change the Good News to be simultaneously Good News and Bad News.