Note from CM: Thanks to Scott Lencke for today’s post. Scott blogs at The Prodigal Thought.
The Problem with Being “Gospel-Centered”
Decade - Churches - America - Culture - Buzzwords
Over the past decade or so, many churches in America have been espousing that they are “gospel-centered.” Just as in culture, there are many buzzwords within the church: missional, organic, intentional, etc. And another one happens to be gospel-centered.
But what’s the problem with being gospel-centered? That’s a good thing, right?
Front - Problem - Hand - Jesus-centered - Becomes
Let me go ahead and say up front that being gospel-centered is not necessarily a problem. One the one hand, being gospel-centered is important, just as being kingdom-centered, Jesus-centered, even church-centered is important. However, identifying as gospel-centered becomes problematic when it stringently runs the gospel through one particular (and narrow) set of theological lenses.
You see, particular groups have, in one way or another, hijacked the word gospel and strictly applied it to their own theological view. I find this typically happens within a new reformed, Calvinist setting. The problem is not so much reformed theology – by this I mean the problem is not with a more historic, robust reformed theology. Rather it’s with the particular new Calvinism that has arisen in the past couple of decades.
Word - Gospel - Groups
How has the word gospel been hijacked by certain groups?
I see it as having happened primarily in two ways.
Doctrines - View
1) The adding of many peripheral doctrines into this “gospel-centered” view.
In my engagement with many groups championing a gospel-centered faith, they also tie in other secondary issues to the gospel. Perhaps not outright, but there is a kind of sleight of hand to make secondary issues more central to the gospel than they should be. One of the great “add-ons” is that of complementarianism – the belief that men and men alone are to be the leaders in the home and church. Here’s an example of how this...
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