When did the Good News become just good advice?

That is the subtitle of Michael Horton’s most recent book The Gospel-Driven Life.  In this book, Horton attempts to “reorient our faith and practice as Christians and churches toward the gospel”.

This book is fantastic and it covers so much ground.  Christ and culture, word and sacrament, law and gospel, niche demographic ministry, common misconceptions of the gospel, narcissism, discipleship “programs”, spiritual disciplines…etc.  This is a follow up to a previous book called Christless Christianity. In that first book he makes the case that the evangelical landscape today, from liberal to conservative, is looking more and more like a Christianity with no Jesus.  It’s filled with agendas (political, social, moral…etc.) but often void of any good NEWS about what God has done.  He says that even though many would agree on the fundamentals of the Christian faith when asked, it’s just not seen as that important.  The gospel is assumed.  Or the gospel is just something we need to get “in”.

Here is a short 4 minute video about that first book.  I would strongly recommend both of these books.  If it were possible for me to tie you down in a chair and force you to read them, I would.  🙂  Especially for those on the mission field.  In my opinion the problems addressed in Christless Christianity are even more pronounced on the mission field where the focus is so often all on doing, and so the remedy prescribed in The Gospel-Driven Life is so very helpful.

http://www.whitehorseinn.org/index.php?option=com_hwdvideoshare&task=viewvideo&Itemid=48&video_id=10

The Christless Christianity website below allows you to read the first chapter of the book for free online.

http://christlesschristianity.org/

If you’re interested to hear more about the book Gospel-Driven Life before you decide to buy it.  Or if you don’t want to buy it but just want to hear a summary.  This is a link to a short and very to the point interview with the author that gives a good summary of it’s contents.

Interview on Gospel Driven Life

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5 Solas of the Reformation (Sola Fide)

Sola Fide: The Erosion of The Chief Article

Justification is by grace alone through faith alone because of Christ alone. This is the article by which the church stands or falls. Today this article is often ignored, distorted or sometimes even denied by leaders, scholars and pastors who claim to be evangelical. Although fallen human nature has always recoiled from recognizing its need for Christ’s imputed righteousness, modernity greatly fuels the fires of this discontent with the biblical Gospel. We have allowed this discontent to dictate the nature of our ministry and what it is we are preaching.

Many in the church growth movement believe that sociological understanding of those in the pew is as important to the success of the gospel as is the biblical truth which is proclaimed. As a result, theological convictions are frequently divorced from the work of the ministry. The marketing orientation in many churches takes this even further, erasing the distinction between the biblical Word and the world, robbing Christ’s cross of its offense, and reducing Christian faith to the principles and methods which bring success to secular corporations.

While the theology of the cross may be believed, these movements are actually emptying it of its meaning. There is no gospel except that of Christ’s substitution in our place whereby God imputed to him our sin and imputed to us his righteousness. Because he bore our judgment, we now walk in his grace as those who are forever pardoned, accepted and adopted as God’s children. There is no basis for our acceptance before God except in Christ’s saving work, not in our patriotism, churchly devotion or moral decency. The gospel declares what God has done for us in Christ. It is not about what we can do to reach him.

Thesis Four: Sola Fide
We reaffirm that justification is by grace alone through faith alone because of Christ alone. In justification Christ’s righteousness is imputed to us as the only possible satisfaction of God’s perfect justice.
We deny that justification rests on any merit to be found in us, or upon the grounds of an infusion of Christ’s righteousness in us, or that an institution claiming to be a church that denies or condemns sola fide can be recognized as a legitimate church.

From The Cambridge Declaration of the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals.