Is Our Gospel Too Small?

Oh, Scot!

Scot McKnight has offered the latest of The Christian Vision Project's essays. And it hits the nail right smack on the head.

The Christian Vision Project has been a three year venture to "ask big questions about culture, mission, and the gospel, and highlighting Christian leaders who model faithfulness, creativity, and commitment at a crucial moment in the history of the church." The essays are published in Christianity Today, and are available on The Christian Vision Project website.
  • In 2006, the focus was on CULTURE. The question posed to the best Christian minds was, "How can followers of Christ be a counterculture for the common good?
  • In 2007, the focus was on MISSION. The question asked was, "What must we learn, and unlearn, to be agents of God's mission in the world?"
  • In 2008, the focus is on GOSPEL. The question that is being asked this year is this: "Is our gospel too small?"
I can think of a handful of great Christian thinkers that can help us grapple with that question. One of them is Scot McKnight, who says

"I sometimes worry we have settled for a little gospel, a miniaturized version that cannot address the robust problems of our world. But as close to us as the pages of a nearby Bible, we can find the Bible's robust gospel, a gospel that is much bigger than many of us have dared to believe:

The gospel is the story of the work of the triune God (Father, Son, and Spirit) to completely restore broken image-bearers (Gen. 1:26–27) in the context of the community of faith (Israel, Kingdom, and Church) through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ and the gift of the Pentecostal Spirit, to union with God and communion with others for the good of the world.

The gospel may be bigger than this description, but it is certainly not smaller. And as we declare this robust gospel in the face of our real, robust problems, we will rediscover just how different it is from the small gospel we sometimes have believed and proclaimed."

Scot then offers a nice taxonomy of what a "robust gospel" looks like:
  1. The robust gospel is a story.
  2. The robust gospel places transactions in the context of persons.
  3. The robust gospel deals with a robust problem.
  4. A robust gospel has a grand vision.
  5. A robust gospel includes the life of Jesus as well as his resurrection, and the gift of the Spirit alongside Good Friday.
  6. A robust gospel demands not only faith but everything.
  7. A robust gospel includes the robust Spirit of God.
  8. A robust gospel emerges from and leads others to the church.
Check out the entire essay in this month's Christianity Today, or read it online here.

The Christian Vision Project has been a tremendous blessing to the evangelical church. It was initiated and is edited by Andy Crouch, columnist for Christianity Today (his column is called "Always In Parables"), a member of the editorial board of Books & Culture, a senior fellow of the International Justice Mission's IJM Institute, and the advisor for the Fermi Project. Crouch was once the head of re:generation quarterly, and I have an affinity with him since he was once a college campus minister (with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship at Harvard University).

If you haven't been following The Christian Vision Project you can catch up on the articles by following the links above.

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1 comment:

Ted M. Gossard said...

Amen, Bob. Inspiring. We need to take it to heart and life.