When I was in Bible College I often heard an old preacher tell the students, “The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.” Of course he wasn’t the first to say it, but I loved it. I still do.
Recently someone I respect asked me, “is it possible that within the ‘gospel-centered movement’ some people are making the main thing the only thing?”
It is a great question, and I think it does point to a problem of unhealthy reductionism among some well-meaning brothers and sisters. I believe this brother was essentially saying, “Look, our people need to know what their hope is before God. This is of first importance. But, they also need to know how to pray, fast, love, give, fight, and serve.” Of course, I agree with this sentiment.
There is more in God’s word than the gospel. God has given us his law to show us the way, uncover our corruption and condemnation, and point us to our need of redemption. There are commands to be obeyed, there is wisdom to learn and practice, and affections to feel and be moved by. But, the law itself is unable to create within us new hearts, or empower us to obey its demands. So let me say it this way: The gospel is the main thing, it is not the only thing. However, it is the only thing that brings life, power, and transformation. The gospel isn’t everything, but it does connect to everything, and preachers and teachers in the church must be able to show that connection lest we allow the church to drift (or even be lead) into various kinds of hopeless, powerless legalism.
More at the link.