I have been approached by a person of a mostly universalist belief system who asked me this question, and I am having trouble answering it, to my shame. Here is the question: "What was the gospel Jesus Christ and John the Baptist preached?" Can you help me answer this? I don't believe Jesus' preaching was centered on His death and atonement- He did allude to His death, but I don't know that He "preached" His own death. I don't know that "the gospel" was the fact that He was the Messiah, in any case, He was yet unrevealed when John the Baptist was baptizing people and preaching the gospel. The Gospels clearly state that people believed the gospel, before He was revealed or acknowledged as anything other than a teacher, and before even His disciples knew He was to die. So how can I answer this? I don't understand why this is so hard for me to answer. I have asked this in several settings- person to person, on other Christian forums, and other websites, and all I seem to hear are accusations about how I don't understand justification by faith, or atonement, or (once) how I don't believe the gospel and must not be converted. So not being able to explain something= I am unconverted or at least under suspiscion? I thought that was called needing instruction. That's not it though. I am not in doubt, I am not apostasizing, I just feel like a fool for not being able to coherently answer this question, and am often made to feel foolish for asking it. I just am having trouble with this question, to my great embarassment. Can anyone help?