Seems like there’s been a hullabaloo over the gospel lately.
A man named Chalke, echoing a McLaren, echoing a Green and a Baker, echoing a number of feminists, used the words “divine child abuse” to talk about the cross. In response, two major British evangelical institutions refused to let Chalke speak, thereby cutting ties with a third institution that has Chalke on its board.
A book called Pierced For Our Transgressions responded to Chalke, which in turn provoked a heavy-weight named Wright to enter the ring, pound the book, and defend Chalke.
The conservative blogosphering bleacher-sitters then jumped to their feet and started quarrelling with one another over whether or not Wright is one of them. Another heavy-weight named Piper now promises to leap in soon with a book that answers that question “no,” saying that Wright is “harmful to the church and to the human soul.” Meanwhile, the U.S. counterpart to the British publisher that printed Pierced decided not to touch the book, telling the enquiring yours truly that the book “doesn’t add anything to the conversation.”
Those evangelicals. Always squabbling with one another instead of doing the work of the ministry. Isn’t that what this is?
Well, what does Jude mean when he says “to contend for the faith”? What does Peter mean when he says “be on your guard”? What does John mean when warns a church to not “even greet” false teachers? What does Paul mean when he says to let anyone with an alternative gospel—my goodness—“be eternally condemned”?
Until this world is ended, the gospel will be challenged from places high and low. It will be tweaked and twisted, denounced and denied. And most fundamentally, Christ calls local churches—not seminaries, not presbyteries, not synods, not theologians, not publishers, and not even eJournals—to defend the gospel. It’s the people in the pews and the pulpits whom these apostles address.
Insofar as God permits, this issue of the 9Marks eJournal aims to equip local churches and pastors to do just that—defend the gospel. The sweet news is, defending the gospel means meditating on it. Start with Powlison, and you’ll see exactly what I mean.