Archive for the ‘The Gospel’ Category

This is part 3 of my notes and comments on Tim Keller’s talk on The Sufficiency of the Gospel in a Postmodern World.

Part 1 is here.

2. Gospel Realizing.


In Jonah 2:9 he says “Salvation is of the Lord.”  Some say this is the whole message of the Bible.  Didn’t Jonah know that?  Yes, but he did not fully grasp it.  We really haven’t begun to understand the gospel.  It is a life-long process. 

Religion is – I obey, therefore I am accepted.  The Gospel – I am accepted, therefore I obey.

The Gospel is scary because we are not in control.  There is nothing God cannot ask of you.

The self-worth of many ministers is tied to attendance.  If your self worth is tied to anything but God, you do not understand the gospel. 

We are like Coke machines- the money has gone in but the pennies have not dropped.  God has to pound us to get the pennies to drop.


From studying revival, he learned that revival is when the pennies drop for a whole group of people.  It is when the wonder of the gospel is understood, and lives become radiant.


Read Full Post »

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.

Clear and Present WordMark 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.

Read Full Post »

Part 3 from The Voyage of the Dawntreader:

“Then the lion said — but I don’t know if it spoke — You will have to let me undress you. I was afraid of his claws, I can tell you, but I was pretty nearly desperate now. So I just lay flat down on my back to let him do it.

“The very first tear he made was so deep that I thought it had gone right into my heart. And when he began pulling the skin off, it hurt worse than anything I’ve ever felt. The only thing that made me able to bear it was jut the pleasure of feeling the stuff peel off.  You know — if you’ve ever picked the scab of a sore place.  It hurts like billy-oh but it is such fun to see it coming away.”

“I know exactly what you mean,” said Edmund.

“Well, he peeled the beastly stuff right off – just as I thought I’d done it myself the other three times, only they hadn’t hurt – and there it was lying on the grass, only ever so much thicker, and darker, and more knobbly-looking than the others had been. And there was I smooth and soft as a peeled switch and smaller than I had been. Then he caught hold of me – I didn’t like that much for I was very tender underneath now that I’d no skin on — and threw me into the water. It smarted like anything but only for a moment. After that it became perfectly delicious and as soon as I started swimming and splashing I found that all the pain had gone from my arm. And then I saw why. I’d turned into a boy again. . . .”



Previous posts are here and here.


Read Full Post »

Part 2 from The Voyage of the Dawntreader:

But the lion told me I must undress first. . . . 

I was just going to say that I couldn’t undress because I hadn’t any clothes on when I suddenly thought that dragons are snaky sort of things and snakes can cast their skins.  Oh, of course, thought I, that’s what the lion means.  So I started scratching myself and my scales began coming off all over the place. And then I scratched a little deeper and, instead of just scales coming off here and there, my whole skin started peeling off beautifully, like it does after an illness, or as if I was a banana. In a minute or two I just stepped out of it. I could see it lying there beside me, looking rather nasty. It was a most lovely feeling. So I started to go down into the well for my bathe.

But just as I was going to put my feet into the water I looked down and saw that they were all hard and rough and wrinkled and scaly just as they had been before. Oh, that’s all right, said I, it only means I had another smaller suit on underneath the first one, and I’ll have to get out of it too. So I scratched and tore again and this under skin peeled off beautifully and out I stepped and left it lying beside the other one and went down to the well for my bathe.

Well, exactly the same thing happened again. And I thought to myself, oh dear, how ever many skins have I got to take off? For I was longing to bathe my leg. So I scratched away for the third time and got off a third skin, just like the two others, and stepped out of it. But as soon as I looked at myself in the water I knew it had been no good. . . .

Read Full Post »

This is the first part of my notes and thoughts on Tim Keller’s message The Sufficiency of Christ and the Gospel in a Postmodern World.  Minute markers are in red. 

Tim Keller
The Sufficiency of Christ and the Gospel in a Postmodern World


Intro by John Piper


How do we do evangelism in a postmodern world?  The postmodern world presents a crisis to us.

Dr. Martin Lloyd-Jones talks about Mark 9.  Jesus sees the disciples who could not cast out a demon.  In vv 28-29 the disciples ask, “Why couldn’t we cast it out?”  Answer:  “This kind only comes out by prayer.”

The demon is in too deep.  You are business as usual.  Your ordinary way of doing things won’t work.

The Doctor is allegorizing here.  The disciples are like the church.  The boy is like the contemporary world.

6:00  In earlier days people were apathetic.  They needed to be roused from their slumber and apathy.  The spirit of this age is different.

The western world is now a mission field.  It is a post-Christian mission field.  It is has been inoculated to Christian message.

Lesslie Newbigin says the same thing.  Most Americans feel that they already know about Christianity, and they think it is bad. 

What won’t work anymore is a campaign, a program, a gospel presentation.

9:00  A great book, The Barbarian Conversion, by Richard Fletcher.  Looks at 500 to 1500 AD in Europe.  Most of the countryside was pagan.  It took a long time for people to get the full Christian worldview.  But after 1500, most Europeans had a Christian worldview, and programs and campaigns worked.

Now we are back to the point at which the Christian worldview is no longer accepted.  Ordinary evangelism will not work.

There are still sections of America where there are people who are what Flannery O’Conner would call “Christ-haunted” people.  They are traditional in their values.  They just need to be roused.

14:00  Michael Wolf –  There is a fundamental schism in American life.  Urban-oriented, morally relativist, etc.  and the small town traditional,  etc.  Two nations.  There are fewer people who are Christ-haunted.

Certain evangelistic magic bullets have died on the vine.  Billy Graham crusades- no one thinks that’s the future.  Evangelism Explosion worked well then, but not now. 

16:40  1990’s used the seeker services.  Too early to say that’s over, but 20-somethings are turning away from the traditional church services.

Alpha courses are the new best format.  They are right for our time.  But even this is not enough anymore.

18:00  There is going to have to be a complete transformation of everything by the gospel.  The gospel has to recapture us, or nothing will work.  The demon is in too deep.

Now in a postmodern setting, our traditional evangelism is even less effective, because you have 3 problems:
1.  The truth problem – all truth claims are perceived as constraints and power plays.
2.  The guilt problem – not everyone has the sense that they need to be good.
3.  The meaning problem – there is a doubt that text and words can get meaning across.  Meanings are unstable.



My Comments:

Interesting that Lloyd-Jones allegorizes from Mark 9 instead of using a text that directly supports the points.  eg 1 Pet 3:15, or becoming all things to all men.

Not everyone has a postmodern worldview.  Many people have a jumbled mess of a worldview.  This is hitting on good points, but the approach has to be crafted to the woldview of the specific individual.  Also, we have to listen to people and understand them to know what approach is appropriate.

Guilt problem- many have no guilt problem (they feel lots of guilt), or they feel the church is the guilt problem.  We need to break down stereotypes of the church.


Read Full Post »

From The Voyage of the Dawntreader:

I looked up and saw the very last thing I expected: a huge lion coming slowly toward me. . . . It came nearer and nearer. I was terribly afraid of it. You may think that, being a dragon, I could have knocked any lion out easily enough. But it wasn’t that kind of fear. I wasn’t afraid of it eating me, I was just afraid of it – if you can understand. Well, it came closer up to me and looked straight into my eyes. And I shut my eyes tight. But that wasn’t any good because it told me to follow it….

Read Full Post »