Friday, February 6, 2009

Gospel-Centered and Missional: Either/Or, Neither, or Both/And?

This is entirely anecdotal, although I could throw some research data and "expert" assessments at you that I think bear this thinking out:

There are lots of churches that would say they are gospel-centered and "missional." The truth is very few are both.

Many churches that are "doing missional," do not demonstrate that the gospel is of first importance to them. At best, the gospel is latent.
And there are some (many?) churches that claim to be missional that aren't. (That whole "we reach out to the community to invite them to come see what we're doing" thing.)

Many churches that talk up and down about the gospel aren't doing jack, missionally speaking. And I would argue that if all you do is talk about the gospel, you don't really get it anyway. Clanging cymbal churches.
So lots of these churches (or just some?) that claim to love the gospel actually don't. (Or they figure an invitation at the end of their "be a better Christian" message qualifies as gospel-centered.)

And of course there are plenty of churches that aren't attempting either gospel-centeredness or missionalization. These are probably the "grocery stores" Keller talked about.

Just thinking aloud here.


Oasis said...

We as Christians make the Gospel and missions a complicated, separate and hard thing. In actuality they are all wrapped up in living the Christian Life. Living for Jesus is an all inclusive thing. It embodies every facet of our lives. It is the true lifestyle; living a Bible, Jesus centered life.
This reminds me of the saying "What would Jesus do?" If we have to ask ourselves that question then we are not living a Christ centered life.
The Gospel and missionary work are just extensions of Christianity. The result of being Christian, not the defining characteristics of being Christian.

Jared said...

The gospel is an extension of Christianity? Not sure I follow.
Neither do I understand your final sentence.

And your first:
I don't think we make them "hard things." They are hard things. We have made them easy. The gospel is my admission ticket to heaven and missions is something somebody else does that I might give some money toward.

I agree with you that sharing/living the gospel is inextricably connected to the Christian life -- or, rather, it should be.


DJ | AMDG said...

I would say your post is a clanging cymbal. At what point are you going to stop feeding this false argument of missional v attractional v gospel-centered whatever? Why can't you be content with the calling God has given you, lead there, and simply tell us about it? I'm tired of the constant ramblings at your blog and so many others about who is doing church better.

Frankly, the argument isn't even closely related to the gospel, and you and others who participate in it are dragging believers down. The debate is hurting the body.

Get on with your ministry and stop being critical of your brothers and sisters in Christ.



Jared said...

There's no argument in this post. Just observations, admittedly anecdotal.

You obviously do not think criticism is always wrong, or you wouldn't have left a critical comment. Right?

I appreciate the concern. I also believe I am doing what God has called me to do: lead where I am and send out reformational calls to the evangelical church to, as the prophet Haggai says, "consider your ways."

I am sorry if this bothers you. Maybe stop reading?

I can't in good conscience not write what God has put on my heart for the Church, which I love dearly.

If it drags believers down out of nominal Christianity, I will be happy. That's a good kind of division, the "Jesus brings a sword, not peace" kind of division.

My hope is to make the gospel the dividing line.