Marc Cortez, who teaches theology at Western Seminary in Portland, has written a series thought provoking of articles on What’s Wrong with our Gospel.  We often divorce the Gospel from its context in the biblical story of redemption and focus almost exclusively on our individual experience with God.  Just listen to a typical baptism testimony and you will see what I mean.

Here are some of the other posts in this series:

What do you think about these articles?  How can we share the Gospel in proper biblical context?

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1 Comment

  1. Absolutely. The biblical narrative has been sadly neglected in favour of the individual experience as the centre of things. In revivalistic churches this leads to the primacy of The Decision for Christ; in some ‘hard-core’ confessional supralapsarian Calvinist churches, to the denial of God’s love for all mankind. In both cases, an emasculated sentimentalism infuses spirituality, which whether in the form of the Victorian middle-class family myth or in the form of ‘Jesus is my boyfriend’ can be compared to a drug.

    I suspect this is why salvation has become shorthand for justification, which in turn is mistakenly equated with the all-important moment of ‘conversion’. Sanctification then becomes detached from the whole work of grace, and we end up with either antinomian or legalistic ideas, if not both.

    Maybe the key is to stress the narrative of Christ and then explicitly to teach union with Christ by faith as the fountainhead of both justification and sanctification, the one to secure us in the heavenly Book of Life, the other to free us to live genuinely human lives and wisely build civilization on earth. Both, indeed, are indispensible parts of salvation, and I find this perhaps the only coherent way to hold them together.

    Accompanying this teaching, though, there needs to be a more fully fleshed-out Protestant political theology. As Marc Cortez says in his fourth post, ‘The Gospel is what makes the Christian life work the way it’s supposed to.’ With its major precedent in Richard Hooker’s Lawes of Ecclesiastical Politie, Protestant political theology’s developed in the worldview direction in Creation Regained and related on the popular level in such books as Maximum Life. The strength of the classical Protestant tradition here, I think, is that it affirms the worth and dignity of earthly life and doesn’t fall prey to Anabaptist (and Van Tillian) illusions of an absolute divide between the elect Church and the evil ‘culture’.

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