Call me weird, but I have been thinking a lot about church visions recently, and the question of a biblical model for building Christian communities. There are so many aspects to cover: worship, teaching, leadership, evangelism, fellowship, ministries etc. etc. But putting all those complex issues aside for now, I’m still stuck on the basic question:
What has the gospel got to do with all of this?
Most of us would agree that unbelievers need to hear and believe the gospel (whatever that is – hold on until my next post for that!), but then what has the gospel got to do with believers and their lives? There isn’t a unanimous answer from the church on this. On the one hand, for some the gospel is only relevant to the world; it is merely the gateway to salvation, the content for evangelism, the creed we affirm to become church members. For them, the gospel is about how we GET saved. Once you are ‘in’, you move on from ‘the gospel basics’. On the other end of the spectrum, there are those who make the gospel the all-encompassing theme of believers; it is the narrow road of salvation, the only content for teaching, the culture we instil in church members. For them, the gospel IS Christianity. Once you are ‘in’, you begin reconfiguring every detail of your life with a new dogmatic ‘gospel-centred’ approach. And still in-between these two extremes there is a confusing continuum of approaches to the gospel and its place in the Christian life, depending on their view of what the gospel message actually is.
So what has your experience been? What has the gospel got to do with Christianity?