Monthly Archives: December 2007

Toward Greater Gospel-Centrism

It’s been a crazy, busy week on the homefront. Apologies for the slack in posting. I also realize I didn’t get an entry in the Formation series on Wednesday, and I may not get back to that until after the holidays. Not that anybody missed it.

Maybe you heard this week about the Missouri Baptist Convention’s decision to de-fund all of its church plants affiliated with the Acts 29 Network. You can read all the thoughts on this move elsewhere (like here or here, for instance), and I won’t blather about it, but I am one who tends to think this was a poor decision.

Evangelicalism needs churches like those in the Acts 29 planting network and in other likeminded evangelical associations, and we need to keep supporting them. Evangelical comes from evangel, after all, which is where we get the good-news word “gospel,” and churches that make Jesus the center of their message and make the gospel the center of their efforts is exactly what will reform the discipleship culture of the American church and push evangelicals back into the embrace of their namesake. Assuming you’re interested in that effort.

I found this great article on the website of one of the de-funded Acts 29 churches in Missouri, The Journey church in St. Louis (who received some criticism in past months for having a guys’ theology roundtable meeting in a bar, which may be connected to the eventual MBC decision to defund Acts 29 …

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The Gospel: d) All of the Above

Both/and. Yes, but.Right, nevertheless.And also.

And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.

See? The Gospel is the kingdom.

The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

See? The Gospel is Jesus.

But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.

See? The Gospel is God’s grace.

. . . to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles in the priestly service of the gospel of God, so that the offering of the Gentiles may be acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Spirit.

See? God is the Gospel. (Thanks, Piper!)

In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.

See? The Gospel is the glory of Christ. (Watch out, Witherington!)

And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation.

See? The Gospel is salvation from sins.

. . . and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace.

See? The Gospel is peace. (Wait – what?)

And if you’re not just using the word “gospel” the implications and …

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"You never outgrow your need to preach to yourself the Gospel."

Going out on a high note.

Have a great weekend. Gather with people not like you and praise the God who has thrown your sins into the depths of the sea, remembering them no more.

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A Shepherd Who is the Sacrificial Lamb

So Jesus again said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd.

– John 10:7-16

Jesus is so intent on shepherding us the way we need to be shepherded, that he is willing to put his own life on the line to protect us. He lays down his life for the sheep. That’s not just a good …

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