This is part 2 of my notes and comments on Tim Keller’s talk on The Sufficiency of the Gospel in a Postmodern World.
Part 1 is here.
Six point approach to communicating the gospel in a post-modern society.
The first 3: 1. Gospel theologizing 2. Gospel realizing 3. Gospel urbanizing.
1. Gospel Theologizing
Jonah 1:1 The word of the Lord came to Jonah saying, “Go to Nineveh and preach.” Keller used to think that the gospel was the basics, and theology was the advanced stuff. Now he sees that all theology has to be an exposition of the gospel.
Mark Thompson has a book called Clear and Present Word about the clarity of the Word in a postmodern setting. He comes up with a view of human language that is gospel-based. It is based on the trinity. The goal of God speaking is divine saving action. Human language is an imperfectly utilized gift from God. The whole purpose of language is gospel.
Every part of our theology has to be an exposition of the gospel.
We also have to bring theology to bear on the gospel. Keller has not seen a gospel presentation that really addresses postmodern people.
The older ones (four spiritual laws) were: God, sin, Christ, faith. They got across grace not works, but there was no story arc. Systematic theology but no biblical theology. As a result, they were individualistic and almost consumeristic. The idea of the Kingdom of God was not there. The lordship of Christ over all of life is not part of them. It does not follow on from them.
When you go to the emerging church, the post-liberal church, it is all about the kingdom. The redemption story is there. We had a world that we wanted, lost it, Christ has created a people, brought the kingdom. Now you need to be part of God’s kingdom program which is going to heal the world of injustice. Emphasis on corporate, not individual, but you lose the emphasis on grace v. works and substitutionary atonement. In the end it is kind of a liberal legalism.
We need to develop user-friendly gospel presentations that merge both so that people can grasp it rather quickly and easily. But there has to be a process.
Comments to follow.