Thursday, August 23, 2007

Do we need another Gospel Coalition?

Last week I listened to a few of the messages from the one day conference held by "The Gospel Coaltion" on May 23, 2007 at Trinity Divinity School in Chicago. The group was initiated by scholar D. A. Carson and Pastor Tim Keller of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City. It includes a forty plus member council including a wide number of well known evangelical pastors.

The Coalition has issued a statement titled "The Gospel for All of Life" in which the Preamble reads:

We are a fellowship of evangelical churches deeply committed to renewing our faith in the gospel of Christ and to reforming our ministry practices to conform fully to the Scriptures. We have become deeply concerned about some movements within traditional evangelicalism that seem to be diminishing the church’s life and leading us away from our historic beliefs and practices. On the one hand, we are troubled by the idolatry of personal consumerism and the politicization of faith; on the other hand, we are distressed by the unchallenged acceptance of theological and moral relativism. These movements have led to the easy abandonment of both biblical truth and the transformed living mandated by our historic faith. We not only hear of these influences, we see their effects. We have committed ourselves to invigorating churches with new hope and compelling joy based on the promises received by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone.

D. A. Carson provided an explanation of the group’s beginnings and a rationale for its existence at the group’s conference (listen here). He noted that the group is tentatively planning to host a national conference in April of 2009.
The group's website also has an interesting collection of online articles to which it plans to add.

Analysis: It is interesting to note the growing emphasis on the recovery of the gospel as the center of the evangelical Christian witness. One wonders, however, at the wisdom of the multiplication and overlap of such organizations. The Gospel Coalition sounds much like the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals and Together for the Gospel and includes many of the same leaders. One also wonders about such supra-denominational groups. In the zeal to promote proper soteriology, do we run the risk of minimizing other doctrines (such as ecclesiology, pneumatology, baptism, etc.)?

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