Around the Horn :: 3.08.12

March 8, 2012

The King Jesus Gospel: The Original Good News Revisited
Michael Horton reviews Scott McKnight’s new book: There are many things to admire about The King Jesus Gospel. While affirming evangelicalism’s zeal in moving people from members to deciders, “the gospel” has been reduced to “personal salvation” and the result is that all of our strategies are bent on getting “decisions” (26). Reformed folks share the same concern. Christ is both Savior and Lord: you can’t embrace one without the other. And we don’t make him Savior and Lord; he is Savior and Lord whether we embrace him or not. The goal of evangelism in our churches is to make disciples, not just converts. That’s why we don’t focus on a striking conversion experience, but on Christ, and emphasize the Christian life as a constant living out of our baptism, in the communion of saints. Lifelong discipleship is not an individualistic affair, but a team sport.

“After-Birth Abortions”
From Albert Mohler: An even more chilling development comes in the form of an article just published in theJournal of Medical Ethics. Professors Alberto Giubilini of the University of Milan and Francesca Minerva of the University of Melbourne and Oxford University, now argue for the morality and legalization of “after-birth abortion.”  These authors do not hide their agenda. They are calling for the legal killing of newborn children.

8 Myths About China Today
In order to understand China today, it’s helpful to understand this simple rule: nothing is as it seems. In fact, I would say this rule applies when observing and analyzing nearly all segments of life in China: politics, economy, social relationships, and even religion. To put it another way, whatever China seems to be at any given moment, it is in fact the opposite. This can be difficult for Westerners, because we tend to be dichotomist in our thinking, wanting something to be either this or that. We don’t do well with this and that.

5 Marks of a Gospel-Centered Church
Evangelistic effectiveness and doctrinal depth; fervent, faith-filled prayer; a sense of the presence of God; empowered members and extravagant generosity are 5 things that the gospel produced in the early church. How present are they in your church? If one of these characteristics are missing, is it possible that we don’t understand the gospel as much as we claim to? These are the indelible marks of a gospel movement.

Pew-Hoppers: How to Shepherd Church Shoppers
Perhaps you have heard (or maybe said) before, “Scripture never says that I need to be committed to only one local church.” The “attend everywhere, but committed nowhere” is a common trend among Christians when it comes to local-church commitment. But it is also one that is damaging to all parties. Church-shopping is OK to a point, but the point of shopping is to eventually end the process. Too often though, shopping becomes the norm. And not all who believe in multiple-church-attending are to blame. It’s a prominent trend all over that is sometimes even encouraged by church leadership.

How Do You Keep From Getting Distracted?  Don’t Answer the Ringing Phone
A few weeks ago I was tempted to put off a high-priority job because somebody needed something from me and said it was urgent. The truth is what they needed from me wasurgent, it just wasn’t urgent for me. What they needed was going to help them get their job done.   I call these kinds of distractions a “ringing phone.” It’s amazing how much a ringing phone takes priority over everything else, and often the stuff that is more important given your various responsibilities. When a phone rings we rarely know what the person who is calling wants, but we drop whatever we are doing to answer.  Metaphorically, a ringing phone is something that feels urgent but isn’t.

2 responses to Around the Horn :: 3.08.12

  1. Michael Horton’s book review of the King Jesus Gospel looks thoughtful and balanced. Having read the review, I wonder (I’m not sure without reading the actual book) if the author is minimizing the power of the gospel. I could read books by NT Wright all day, for instance, and as educated as I would become, I’m sure I wouldn’t have the sense of urgency or clarity that the gospels of the Bible present, or The Gospel presented in 1 Corinthians 15 does. I’d learn a lot of deep and useful context, but at the end of the day not be saved, and people’s salvation does not seem to be a casual concern anywhere within the New Testament.

    I understand not emphasizing a decision in specific ways that may be man-centered, manipulative, coercive and ineffective, but I wonder if he truly comprehends the primacy and POWER of the gospel, for nobody can be a disciple if they have not been saved. Contrast that review with this author’s reverence for the gospel message:

  2. Steve, excellent post throughout. I’m going to read the King Jesus Gospel and hopefully recommend it to my Bible study. Without having read it, it seems to embrace the command of Christ in St Matthew’s account of the Great Commission: to make disciples (the Greek word Matthew uses actually means something like “apprentice”; to baptize; and to teach. So two out of the three elements of evangelism have to do with a master-pupil relationship.

    Thanks for helping shine the light on the after-birth abortion (just a euphemism for infanticide, really) and also China.