Friday, December 14, 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 churches in their state). Whatever you think of that, I encourage you to read this great piece by Joel Lindsey, a Journey campus pastor:

What is a Gospel-Centered Missional Church and Why Do We Need One?

Here's an excerpt to get your weekend started off right (but read the whole thing) . . .
Being a Gospel-centered missional church is not a strategy for growth or a self-help philosophy aimed at being a "better Christian." It is in large part an awareness that the only hope we have for transforming the world is Jesus and the Gospel that bears his name. The fundamental need of every person, Christians and non-Christians, is to hear and know the Gospel at each moment in their life. As Pastor Tim Keller has written, "All our problems come from a failure to apply the Gospel." Therefore, the primary calling of our church is to equip Christians and inform and encourage non-Christians through the teaching of the Gospel in our worship services, sermons, community groups, classes, so that they will live out the Gospel of grace in all of their relationships and contexts (family, friends, career, leisure, etc). Our desire is to uphold the essentiality of the Gospel both as the means to salvation and the pathway to sanctification.

Would that more and more pastors and their churches embrace this spirit.

Pray for, volunteer toward, and otherwise support greater gospel-centrism in our churches.



Marc Backes said...


Thank you for bringing attention to this issue.

You can read more about it here or here.

Anonymous said...

As a Missouri Baptist, I am not proud of this decision. I feel that this slouches toward legalism.