Wednesday, August 26, 2009

What Makes a Church Gospel-Centered?

Tullian Tchividjian -- pastor of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church, grandson of Billy Graham, and completely unfashionable dude -- has a great new post up, borrowing from The Gospel-Centered Life by Coram Deo pastor Bob Thune (who I got the chance to meet while at the Acts 29 Quarterly event last week).

Tchividjian by way of Thune answers the question What is a Gospel-Centered Church?
A truly gospel-centered church understands and embraces the fullness of the gospel as content, community, and cause.”

The Gospel is a message that is to be preached or proclaimed (Mark 1:14; Acts 14:21; Rom 1:15; 1 Peter 1:12). It is the story of God’s redemption of his fallen creation. It is the good news that God has acted in history to conquer evil and reconcile sinners to himself through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus (1 Cor 15:1-12). A gospel-centered church is one where the gospel is proclaimed clearly, consistently, and compellingly (1 Cor 9:16-23).

The gospel is not just a message to be believed, but a power to be experienced (Rom 1:16). The gospel shapes a new community as those who were formerly God’s enemies are reconciled to Him (Rom 5:10) and adopted into his family (Gal 4:4-7). The church is not a place, but a people – a community that is continually being reformed and renewed by the transforming power of the gospel (Col. 1:6).

The gospel is a call to action – a declaration that “the kingdom of God is at hand” (Mark 1:15). God is not just interested in the salvation of humans, but in the restoration of all of creation to its original “good” (Gen 1:31; Rom 8:19-22). A gospel-centered church will be active in the work of mercy, justice, and cultural renewal, praying and working against the effects of sin so that God’s will might be done “on earth as it is in heaven” (Matt 6:10).

Read the whole thing in tandem with Joe Thorn's excellent recent entry Gospel-Centered and be blessed.

(I hope to add to these great contributions to ecclesiological gospel-centricity sometime in the coming weeks in this space with a post of my own on some marks of a "gospel-driven" church.)

No comments: