Chapter 3, “Gospel: the Gift of Forgiveness” pp. 34-46
Stuempfle observes that preachers often seem hesitant about the importance or the power of the Gospel. Possibly this is because we find our broken lives more familiar than forgiveness. Not only that, but we are bound to do more than simply describing forgiveness. The preacher’s job is to apply forgiveness and grace, if possible, in a way parallel to the way the Law was proclaimed. For instance, if the Law pointed out our failure to restore, the Gospel needs to show how Jesus restores us.
Stuempfle also shows that many of the terms we use for forgiveness may not be readily understood by and audience today. He suggests finding the cultural parallel rather than simply explaining the term. As we proclaim the Gospel, Stuempfle advocates keeping four principles well in mind. First, find an idiom the audience understands. Second, tell the implications of forgiveness rather than simply announcing it. Third, address people as directly as possible when announcing forgiveness. Finally, focus clearly on Jesus and his work. Merely mentioning his name is not what people need. They need to know how and why Jesus is for them.