Yesterday I listened to an emergent podcast with Scott McNight of Jesus Creed. He was talking about how we've attacked the gospel with an extreme reductionism. We've reduced the gospel to "Jesus died for your sins so you can go to heaven when you die." Our American gospel has nothing to do with this life and is only for individuals.
Here's his quote, "We are preaching a gospel that is so highly individualistic that we're producing highly individualistic Christians who voluntarily happen to participate on Sunday morning in a highly individualistic church."
I'd add that the gospel isn't about getting into heaven when you die, it's about connecting with a community of Christ followers that are transforming their world; bringing heaven to this life, right now. Eternal life is the wonderful coninuation of a life of bringing God's kingdom to this life. We're bringing in God's kingdom by living out the five!
McNight added, "the gospel is more like a piece of music that is to be performed and listened to than a group of propositions that we are supposed to confess."
Couldn't have said it better myself. Which is probably why I'm not a bestselling author!