Episode 9: The Four-Chapter Gospel – Interview with Geoff Hsu

How we think about the Gospel affects everything else. It affects the way we think about God.  It affects the way we relate to others.  It affects our leadership.

What does the Gospel we believe tell us about God?  About ourselves?  What does the Gospel tell us about the world? What role does guilt and shame play in our understanding of the Gospel?  How do forgiveness and grace fit into the Gospel we believe in?  What does the Gospel say is my responsibility in regard to my relationship with God?  Is the Gospel about God saving us out of the world for our sake?  Or is it about being saved into the world for its sake?

In this episode of Spiritual Life and Leadership, Geoff Hsu, Executive Director of Flourish San Diego, helps us explore what the Gospel is and what it means for the way we live.


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  • Geoff describes the mission of Flourish San Diego. Flourish likes to say, “Our name is our aim,” namely, the flourishing of San Diego.
  • The gospel is good news not only because we are saved out of the world for our sake, but much more because we are saved into the world for its sake.
  • Christianity is not a set of principles to live up to, but a story to inhabit.
  • The story of God starts in a garden and ends in a garden city.
  • The physical world matters because it was created good. Because of this, all of life matters. Everything we do matters.
  • A Four-Chapter Gospel allows us to be able to understand how our entire lives matter and how we can participate in God’s redemptive work.
  • The four chapters of the Four-Chapter Gospel are: 1) Creation, 2) Fall, 3) Redemption, and 4) Restoration.
  • The Two-Chapter Gospel only focuses on Fall and Redemption. It gives us a reason to be saved out of the world for our sake, but it doesn’t give us a reason to be saved into the world for its sake.
  • The church has been complicit with the world in saying that spirituality belongs to about an hour and a half on Sunday mornings, but not in the rest of your life.
  • Flourish San Diego wants to discover ways to engage culture in ways that are redemptive. Not reacting by fortifying ourselves against the culture, or trying to dominate the culture, or even by blending in and accommodating it.
  • The church needs to learn to be an embodied presence in the world.
  • The church needs to think missiologically, translating the unchanging message of the Gospel for an ever-changing world.
  • Geoff has observed that church leaders who are 55 and older often need to deconstruct the way they think about ministry when confronted with the Four-Chapter Gospel.
  • Geoff has also observed that younger church leaders really resonate with the Four-Chapter Gospel.
  • Geoff shares about his own transformation from thinking of the Gospel as two chapters to recognizing the Gospel as four chapters.
  • Geoff noticed that he was helping people to act Christianly, but he was not actually helping them to become like Christ.
  • The way Geoff knew he was learning to better understand the Gospel was in the way he was learning how to repent. In the past, when he sinned he would feel terribly guilty about it, as though he needed to beat himself up until he was worthy enough to come back into the Lord’s presence. But then he learned that he was already forgiven and it wasn’t up to him to decide when he was worthy enough to come back into God’s presence.
  • Flourish San Diego commissioned a set of fine art photographs that capture the four chapters of the Gospel.  Those photographs can be viewed and purchased HERE.



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