Getting the Gospel Straight

Below is the summary of one section of this document:

Being the Church in our Culture.

Summary: Paul knew that ‘getting the gospel straight’–not falling off into either legalism on the one hand or license on the other–is absolutely critical to the mission of the church. The secret of ministry power is getting the gospel clear. To be even slightly off to one side or another, loses tons of spiritual power. And people don’t get really converted. Legalistic churches reform people’s behavior through social coercion, but the people stay radically insecure and hyper-critical. They don’t achieve the new inner peace that the grace of God brings. The more relativistic churches give members some self-esteem and the veneer of peace but in the end that is superficial too. The result, Archibald Alexander said, is like trying to put a signet ring on the wax to seal a letter, but without any heat! Either the ring will affect the surface of the wax only or break it into pieces. You need heat to permanently change the wax into likeness of ring. So without the Holy Spirit working through the gospel, radically humbling and radically exalting us and changing them from the inside out, the religion either of the hard or soft variety will not avail.

Also, from this document:    Centrality of the Gospel

The summary is:

Summary
All problems, personal or social come from a failure to use the gospel in a radical way, to get “in line with the truth of the gospel” (Gal.2:14). All pathologies in the church nd all its ineffectiveness comes from a failure to use the gospel in a radical way. We believe that if the gospel is expounded and applied in its fullness in any church, that church will look very unique. People will find both moral conviction yet compassion and flexibility. For example, gays are used to being “bashed” and hated or completely accepted. They never see anything else. The cultural elites of either liberal or conservative sides are alike in their unwillingness to befriend or live with or respect or worship with the poor. They are alike in separating themselves increasingly from the rest of society.

Then in a comment on Steves BLOG Pastor Mark Anderson said the following:

I am no friend of the third use of the law. We know the law will not justify and that in spite of it’s absolute claims it can neither save or give life. At the same time eliminating the word “should” from preaching does not eliminate the myriad requirements placed upon the Christian in a world of sin and death. If we do not speak the legal word of obligation our people will hear it anyway from the culture and in the opposing, illusory language of personal rights, which is tantamount to handing the sinner a blank check. And it is precisely the obligations we are concerned with. For every relationship – including the relationship with God – comes with obligations. The gospel has not eliminated these.
In fact, it is when the sinner is brought to the point of recognizing how he\she has failed in these obligations that the gospel breaks in with all it’s force and freeing power. We should preach the non-negotiable obligations which come with creaturely life but these will never create what they demand. Christ is our last word.

Well said.

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6 thoughts on “Getting the Gospel Straight

  1. theoldadam

    I think all problems come from our fallen nature.

    Our inability to want to live as God desires we live. Our self-focused, self-obsessed, me project.

    The gospel is an answer to that reality, that we might not be lost…eternally.

  2. centralityofthegospel Post author

    I hear what your saying Steve. For me, at least, the Gospel has an application side to it that says that both in worldly and religious sin God provides and we receive. Using the Gospel in a radical way means embracing Christ for our righteoussness. You may have a tough time with the word application, and I understand that, but the part of using and embracing the Gospel is just a part of me.

    Maybe for your wording Christ applies and ministers the Gospel to us.. but we need to somehow embrace the Gospel, the righteousness of God in Christ and I believe this has an application for the Christian life in how we relate to God and others.

  3. theoldadam

    Jon,

    I think I understand what you mean, Jon.

    I’m constantly on guard for ways in which we’ll internalize the gospel.

    I’m always trying to get folks to go ‘external’…and just trust what He has done.

    Everything else will follow.

  4. centralityofthegospel Post author

    You know its funny you and I use the word external differently. I use it to describe legalists who try to change people to be like them by imposing their ideas on me or someone else trying to change me ourside-in… their ideas being imposed on me. I call them externalists since they change me outside-in as opposed to pointing to the Cross.

    I use the verbage top down/inside out (God changes me top down, I impact the world because of a changed heart because of what he did for me (your definition of external). The world operates bottom up/outside in. Trying to control the world and behavior of others, legalistically by their own self-salvation project.

    Funny!

  5. theoldadam

    Funny haha…or funny pecular? (wiseguys)

    I think a better way (for me anyway) to describe ‘external’, is a more sacramental way. Christ’s gifts given for us, that come to us from outside of ourselves…such as the preached Word, or baptism and Holy Communion. These are Christ’s gifts that impart assurance to us totally without our having to do anything. Not on the basis of how we feel, or how we think about it, or what we say or do, but on the basis of His work on our behalf.

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