Friday, May 02, 2008

Is Our Gospel Too Small or Too Big?

Collin Hansen's latest Theology in the News article looks at N.T. Wright's claims about the gospel and social justice, while also looking at the perspectives of Mark Dever, Douglas Wilson, and Tim Keller.

Here's the section on Keller (referring to an article not yet online):
Tim Keller and his Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City fall somewhere between Wright and Dever. Writing for Leadership [JT: , Keller answered this year's question for the Christian Vision Project, "Is our gospel too small?" (The article is not yet available online.) In so doing he took a stab at defining the gospel. "Through the person and work of Jesus Christ, God fully accomplishes salvation for us, rescuing us from the judgment for sin into fellowship with him, and then restores the creation in which we can enjoy our new life together with him forever."

It's the last clause of this sentence that makes the difference. Is God's plan to renew creation part of the gospel message? If so, is it the center of the gospel or a peripheral component of the Good News? Again, how you answer these questions affects how you will live, and how you will expect fellow church members to act.

"When the third, 'eschatological' element is left out, Christians get the impression that nothing much about this world matters," Keller wrote. "Theoretically, grasping the full outline should make Christians interested in both evangelistic conversions as well as service to our neighbor and working for peace and justice in the world."

Greg Gilbert and Jonathan Leeman have been talking about related gospel and kingdom issues at the 9Marks blog.

Update: Tullian weighs in.