On Saturday I finished reading Total Church- by Tim Chester and Steve Timmis which I enjoyed immensely. They have a radical view of how to do church and are committed to being a gospel centred community rather than doing church three hours a week. The book appeals to me because the authors are reformed and yet responding to the challenges of reaching out in the C21st. At times I think they make too much of their new approach but as they close the book they acknowledge that 'This book has suggested changes that could, and should, be made to the life and mission of the church. But the future of the the church does not lie in changing its structures. Far more important than any ecclesiastical or missiological innovations is a passion for God.' p.199 This really comes out in the book, they are total church because they are totally committed to God.
One of their closing comments, 'There is a lot of talk today of 'gospel ministers', 'gospel work', 'gospel churches' and so on. There are some good reasons for this use of the word 'gospel,' since other definitions of identity are proving inadequate. But we must be careful not to depersonalize our faith. In believing in the gospel we believe in Jesus Christ. To be gospel -centered is to be Jesus-centred. A gospel worker is a servant of Jesus Christ. We must not reduce Christianity to intellectual arguments or principles of ministry, however gospel-hyphenated they are. Our focus must be on the Father, the Son and the Spirit.
I love being married, but I love being married because it unites me with my wife. In the same way I love the gospel, but I love the gospel because it unites me with my Saviour. We are not saved by principles or strategies, but by a person. Propostional truth is important, the suspicions of postmodernism notwithstanding. But propositional truth is important because it points me to the person who is the Truth with whom I have a relationship by grace.' p.202
I heartily recommend this book!