Thursday, October 26, 2006

Signposts of the Gospel

You may have already noticed I have added a What I'm Reading list to the right sidebar menu. It precedes my list of general recommendations and consists of the books I'm currently reading.
At the top of the list is The Radical Reformission, subtitled "Reaching Out Without Selling Out," by Mark Driscoll, founding pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seattle, Washington.* This is the first book of his two books, although I read the second one first, and wow, is it good. Very good. Driscoll's often blunt plainspeak may not communicate well to all readers, but I think anybody interested in growing a church that reaches the lost while still maintaining consistent fidelity to the Word and the Gospel ought to read the book, particularly those in the leadership of such a church effort.

I'm about halfway through Radical Reformission, and there's a lot of things I'd love to share from it, but the portion that stands out the most is from the fourth chapter, in a section where he elaborates on Seven Signposts of the Gospel. These are things Driscoll thinks are important in reconciling people to Jesus Christ. Below I am excerpting the last three points, as I think them most relevant to our ongoing efforts at BCC:
signpost 5: the gospel builds a spiritual family

One of the prominent metaphors of the church in the New Testament is a household -- or an extended family -- held together by the blood of Christ. No wonder the New Testament tells Christians to treat one another as brothers and sisters. In our day of devastated families and generational fracturing, churches that operate like loving spiritual families, caring for and correcting one another in love, can be the most convincing proof of the power and benefits of the gospel.

signpost 6: the gospel is about participation with God

While it is true that we are saved not by our good works but by the good works of Jesus (Eph. 2:8-9), it is also true that we are saved to good works (Eph. 2:10). The gospel is not simply about getting my sins forgiven and then sitting around until I get to heaven or until Jesus returns. The gospel compels us to participate with God in the culture we live in. Any gospel that does not compel us into mission overlooks both the duties and delights of being a Christian.

signpost 7: the gospel is about Jesus as the means and end of our salvation

Simply, Jesus is not a means to things such as wealth, health, heaven, happiness, wisdom, and success in marriage, church, ministry, theology, or politics. Anytime that Jesus is used as a means to an end, a false gospel has been introduced and the thing improperly focused on becomes a false god. To remain on task with reformission, we must continually be about Jesus as the means and end of God's will, and we must both proclaim his truth and live his lifestyle . . .

* Having since finished the book, it is no longer on the What I'm Reading list. I have added it to the list of Recommendations, however.


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