Our spiritual lives originate in the gospel. Our EFCA movement exists because of and for the gospel of Jesus Christ. Our Statement of Faith is framed around God’s gospel.
The gospel is being talked about today. That is always a good thing. It is the central message of Jesus: “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe the gospel” (Mk. 1:15).
But, challenges also arise with the numerous references to the gospel in our speech and writing: there is an understanding of a small gospel – it equals being born again; there is an understanding of a large gospel – it equals everything in the Christian life.
The call is to affirm and reaffirm the doctrinal and functional centrality of the biblical gospel – doctrinal centrality in belief and proclamation, and functional centrality in life and ministry, implications of the gospel.
This was the theme of a couple of our plenary sessions at our EFCA One Conference last summer which were moderated by Ed Stetzer. During the course of the past couple of months Stetzer has made these messages a series on The Exchange. Here is Ed’s brief statement about this series.
Last summer, I was at the Evangelical Free Church national meeting, doing some speaking and leading a couple of panel discussions. One of those panels involved multicultural ministry. After the panel, I asked the participants if they’d join me on a blog series, one per person, following up on their topics. Ruth Arnold, Ryan Kwon, Greg Strand, Philip Abode, Arloa Sutter, Bill Taylor, David Park, Noel Castellanos all spoke at the EFCA national meeting will feature guest blogs here over the next few weeks.
Below is the complete series in the order in which Stetzer posted them. I encourage you to read them all, as each affirms the doctrinal centrality of the gospel and works out the functional centrality of the gospel in each of the respective ministries.
As you read them, here is my assignment: think, ponder and then discuss these questions among other leaders:
- How do you affirm the doctrinal centrality of the gospel? Do your leaders and God’s people in the local church know that and can they affirm it?
- In each of these various ministries, do you live out the functional centrality of the gospel and how would or should you?
Ruth Arnold: “Gospel Diversity”
David Park: “Why We Need to Do Our Own Math”
Arloa Sutter: “What Your Church Can Do to Care for the Poor”
Bill Taylor: “Mission and Ministry after Losing the Culture Wars”
Greg Strand: “The Centrality of the Gospel in Ministry”
Ryan Kwon: “How the Gospel Abolishes the Fear of Church Planting”
Philip Abode: “The Gospel and Pastoral Ministry”
Noel Castellanos: “The Passion of Christ and the Plight of our Undocumented Neighbors”