“Many people are rejecting our gospel today not because they perceive it to be false, but because they perceive it to be trivial. People are looking for an integrated world-view which makes sense of all their experience. We learn from Paul that we cannot preach the gospel of Jesus without the doctrine of God, or the cross without the creation, or salvation without judgment” (quoted in Bruce Milne, The Message of Heaven and Hell [IVP, 2002], 207).
Part of the reason I am interesting in doing further study in the doctrine of God is because I don’t think we can be consistently and healthily gospel-centered without a robust doctrine of God. If we say, “the gospel is the good news that Jesus saves sinners,” we must define the key terms here, like “saves” and “sinners.” In our post-Christian culture, words like “sin” and “salvation” don’t mean anything to many people. If you use them you get blank stares. It seems to me that in order to be missional in our setting we really need to start like Paul started with the Athenians in Acts 17: the doctrines of God, creation, and sin. It is only in light of these realities that the gospel becomes intelligible. You can’t understand the cross without understanding sin. You can’t understand sin without understanding creation. And you can’t understanding creation without understanding Creator.