Thursday, March 7, 2013

Defining the Term "Gospel Centered"

The term "Gospel Centered" is a very popular and frequently used "buzz word" now-a-days, at least in the books and on the web pages I've been reading. A danger that comes when a term gets quickly and widely used, when it becomes a "buzz word," is for the term to lose meaning, or to be defined differently by different users so that we are not really communicating. Another danger is that it simply becomes an identity marker, defining who is in and who is out of an "in crowd."

To define the term(s), I like Joe Thorn's definitions in an old post (Hat Tip Tim Challies) These are statements I can totally agree with!

"In the simplest of terms the gospel is the life, death and resurrection of Jesus that accomplishes redemption and restoration for all who believe and all of creation. In his life Jesus fulfilled the law and accomplished all righteousness on behalf of sinners who have broken God’s law at every point. In his death Jesus atones for our sins, satisfying the wrath of God and obtaining forgiveness for all who believe. In his resurrection Jesus’ victory over sin and death is the guarantee of our victory over the same in and through him. Jesus’ saving work not only redeems sinners, uniting them to God, but also assures the future restoration of all creation. This is the gospel, the “good news,” that God redeems a fallen world by his grace."
"Therefore, to be gospel-centered means that that the gospel – and Jesus himself – is our greatest hope and boast, our deepest longing and joy, and our most passionate song and message. It means that the gospel is what defines us as Christians, unites us as brothers and sisters, changes us as sinner/saints and sends us as God’s people on mission. When we are gospel-centered the gospel is exalted above every other good thing in our lives and triumphs over every bad thing set against it."
“[T]he gospel-centered life is a life where a Christian experiences a growing personal reliance on the gospel that protects him from depending on his own religious performance and being seduced and overwhelmed by idols.”
These are truths we can (and should) unite around, not divide over!