[B]y all means, preach about the kingdom, talk about Jesus’ conquest of evil, write about his coming reign. But don’t pretend that all those things are glorious good news all by themselves. They’re not. The bare fact that Jesus is going to rule the world with perfect righteousness is not good news to me; it’s terrifying news, because I am not righteous! I’m one of the enemies he’s coming to crush! The coming kingdom becomes good news only when I’m told that the coming King is also a Savior who forgives sin and makes people righteous—and he does that through his death on the cross. [transcript via Justin Taylor]Item #2: I'm not sure Bobby Jamieson's historical survey of the redefinition of evangelism in the 20th century got a lot of play, but it's a provocative and insightful read. His conclusion:
Through John Stott's leadership, Lausanne certainly reasserted several foundational evangelical doctrines, but insofar as it adopted the ecumenical redefinition of mission, it inserted an alien, inconsistent element into evangelical theology. On the crucial question of the church's mission, the trajectories converged, and the echoes of that convergence continue to reverberate through evangelicalism:Item #3: "Imperatives – Indicatives = Impossibilities." This post is a bit old, but it's dead on:
"Incarnational ministry." "Holistic evangelism." "Proclaiming the whole gospel to the whole person." "Doing justice and preaching grace." "Bringing God's shalom to the earth."
The problem with the typical evangelical motivation toward radical or sacrificial living is that “imperatives divorced from indicatives become impossibilities” (to quote Tullian Tchividjian). Or another way that Tullian puts it: “gospel obligations must be based on gospel declarations.”Item #4: Meanwhile, this is really helpful [mp3]. Really, seriously. Listen to it. (More audio selections here.) And I hadn't intended to make this comment, but as I started posting these links I've been compiling, a thought struck me . . .
This “become what you are” way of speaking is strange for many us us. It seems precisely backward. But we must adjust our mental compass in order to walk this biblical path and recalibrate in order to speak this biblical language.
A certain slice of evangelicalism seems absorbed by addressing real threats to the gospel. (See above.) Fundamentalists, on the other hand, are absorbed with talking, not about the gospel, but about that slice of evangelicalism—why it's "ecumenical" and why it's seducing the young people with its music. And they seem very serious about it.