Tim Chester and Steve Timmis of Crowded House have written a much needed book. Total Church: a radical reshaping around gospel and community (IVP, UK) cuts through the conservative and progressive views on church and community without taking the wearisome Emergent/Emerging debate head on. Instead, Total Church charts a course for the church that is gospel-centered, mission-centered, and community centered (One wonders just how may centers we can have!).
Part One lays a rich and accessible biblical-theological foundation addressing the questions: “What is community” and “What is the gospel?” I will be posting on this book throughout the week. Here is a summary of their description of gospel-centered:
Being gospel-centered has two dimensions. First, it means being word-centered because the gospel is a word. The gospel is good news. It is a message. It is a message that can be summarized in simple gospel outlines or even the three-word confession that ‘Jesus is Lord’. Yet it is a message that fills the entire Bible. It is the story of salvation from creation to new creation. It is a word that has become incarnate in Jesus Christ. It is this word that brings new life to people and shapes the life of the church.
Second, being gospel-centered means being mission-centered, for the gospel is a missionary word. The gospel is good news. It is a word to be proclaimed. You cannot be committed to the gospel without being committed to proclaiming that gospel.