Scot McKnight: The 8 Marks of a Robust Gospel

This one’s just a quick head’s up about a great article from Scot McKnight:

The 8 Marks of a Robust Gospel

Our problems are not small. The most cursory glance at the newspaper will remind us of global crises like AIDS, local catastrophes of senseless violence, family failures, ecological threats, and church skirmishes. These problems resist easy solutions. They are robust—powerful, pervasive, and systemic.

I sometimes worry we have settled for a little gospel, a miniaturized version that cannot address the robust problems of our world. But as close to us as the pages of a nearby Bible, we can find the Bible’s robust gospel, a gospel that is much bigger than many of us have dared to believe:

The gospel is the story of the work of the triune God (Father, Son, and Spirit) to completely restore broken image-bearers (Gen. 1:26–27) in the context of the community of faith (Israel, Kingdom, and Church) through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ and the gift of the Pentecostal Spirit, to union with God and communion with others for the good of the world.

The gospel may be bigger than this description, but it is certainly not smaller. And as we declare this robust gospel in the face of our real, robust problems, we will rediscover just how different it is from the small gospel we sometimes have believed and proclaimed.

(HT: Emergent Village)

Interview with Brian McLaren

Here’s a pretty good read if you’ve got the time; especially if you’re still not sure what you think about this Brian McLaren guy… it’s a pretty indepth snapshot of a lot of his thoughts/positions on things.  Very worth the read, in my opinion, so I thought I’d share it for those of you who are interested.

A battle cry for Christian reform – an interview with Brian McLaren

(HT: Emergent Village)

“…Modernity had its place, but it is over.”

“We look at church history and think it’s beautiful, and modernity had its place, but it is over. And it’s not like postmodernism is better, but it is more relevant. It’s just growth. Is a two year old more important than a fifty year old or vice versa? And it’s not that emergents are rebelling against the modern church; it’s that we are asking questions because we have to.”

-“Matt” – from ON APOLOGETICS, SALVATION, DECISIONS AND HELL: An Interview with a few Emerging types at a local Baptist church

(HT: Emergent Village)

Missions in Suburbia

I stumbled on a great list of resources (blogs, articles, books, etc) related to being missionally-minded while living in suburban America. There’s a few things on the list that I’ve seen and heard of before, a few I’ve written about here, and a bunch of new ones. Check it out, and see if there’s anything that might be of help as we learn how best to love God and love our neighbors in the 21st century wasteland that is suburban America: Mission to Suburbia (from the blog of Steve McCoy, called Reformissionary)

(HT: The Suburban Christian -> Joe Thorn)

The Big Story

“Here’s an attempt to explain the Christian faith… in three minutes.”

This short video is based on some themes from a new book coming out called “True Story: A Christianity Worth Believing In“. Here’s a short blurb from the book’s site:

In this engaging narrative, James Choung weaves a tale of a search for a Christianity worth believing in. Disillusioned believer Caleb and hostile skeptic Anna wrestle with the plausibility of the Christian story in a world of pain and suffering. They ask each other tough questions about what Jesus really came to do and what Christianity is supposed to be about. Along the way, they have some surprising realizations that real Christianity is far bigger than anything they ever heard in church. And the conversion that comes is not one that either of them expects.

What do you think about the way the video re-frames what most people have come to understand about God, Jesus and the Gospel (good news) message? My opinion (which if you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, you’ll know what I’m going to say) is that this is a MUCH needed change in the way we describe the message of the Bible and the point of following Jesus.

Sorry, but this blows the Four Spiritual Laws right out of the water…

(HT: The Suburban Christian)

It’s about participating in something…

Imagine what it would be like in our churches, if there were no such division (between personal justification and social justice). If we were not invited to go forward as individuals to receive a packaged salvation from God that gets us off hell, but instead came forward to become part of something, what God is doing in the world through Jesus Christ – the reconciliation of all men and women with Himself, each other, and all of creation (2 Cor 5:19), which BTW inextricably must still include my own personal reconciliation/relationship with God.

-David Fitch, from the Article “Me, Myself, and Jesus

I like this quote (and the whole article) a lot, since it doesn’t just point out an issue (which is really easy to do, and happens too much)… But it also points us in a new direction and gives us an alternative. Good stuff, thanks David.

Why I didn’t go to church this morning…

It’s not a good sign when one of the biggest and most well known churches out there (Willow Creek) does a study and finds that as people grow spiritually and their lives become more and more centered on following Jesus, that they become increasingly dissatisfied with church… But, to give credit where credit is due, they’re being very honest by admitting that they may have gotten it all wrong, church-wise…

Click here to see the chart: Chart 5

On the one hand, it makes me feel better that finally someone will admit that this is going on, thus validating how I’ve felt for a few years now… but on the other hand, it doesn’t really help me at all. All it does is point out something I already knew, but don’t know how to fix yet…

I haven’t give up on THE Church… not even CLOSE. I’m just losing hope in the typical interpretation of what it means to BE the church, that’s all… And it sounds like even a place as big as Willow Creek is starting to feel the same.

Read more about the study here.

(HT: Monday Morning Insight)

Technological innovation = amputation?

From the article Virtual Virtue and Real Presence – Brian McLaren at

“Every technological innovation, McLuhan would say, is an amputation. For example, with the invention of the wheel or lever or chain saw, we use our muscles less. With the invention of the calculator, our mental computational skills grow rusty. While microphones help us whisper to thousands, they also make it less necessary for us to learn enunciation and vocal projection. And spell-checkers … make it EZ for us never to lern the lie of the grammaratical land”

“I recently heard someone say that preaching is going the way of the Eucharist: we’re moving from “real presence” to “virtual presence.” The preacher seen via projection or download is “with us,” but only in an abstract sense.”

Projection is a fascinating word, especially when contrasted with incarnation. I imagine the first chapter of the fourth gospel reading, “the Word was projected into our world to be observed among us,” and I wonder what difference it would have made.”

“That loss of “real presence” is bad for the church, no doubt. But I can’t help but think it’s also bad for us as pastors and leaders too. Because if our ministry is only virtual, it may be that our virtue is virtual as well.

When we can’t get hurt, when we can’t sacrifice, when we can’t share the pain of people in their actual presence and in “real time,” something in us may be getting amputated. Paul spoke of “glorying” in his afflictions for the sake of those he served.

That’s good for us to remember if we start envying the “virtual pastors.”‘