Total Church

After reading a review over on Mark Moore’s blog a couple of weeks ago, I knew I wanted to read Total Church.  I’m only through the first section so far, so for a wider and deeper scoop read Mark’s review — but let me tell you that I haven’t read a “church looks like this” book with such excitement in a long time. I haven’t seen a full model of church being done that way Tim and Steve describe it, but the model resonates with me as fully Biblical and (hence, of course) eminently desirable. After I read more, I’ll say more about it. But for now, just to whet your appetite, here are some bullet points from page 34 in the section, “Why Gospel?”

We ask, “Where does God fit into the story of my life?”, when the real question is “Where does my life fit into this great story of God’s mission?”

We want to be driven by a purpose that has been tailored just right for our own individual lives, when we should be seeing the purpose of all life, including our own, wrapped up in the great mission of God for the whole of creation.

We talk about “applying the Bible to our lives.” What would it mean to apply our lives to the Bible instead, assuming the Bible to be the reality — the real story — to which we are called to conform ourselves?

We wrestle with “making the gospel relevant to the world.” But in this story, God is about the business of transforming the world to fit the shape of the gospel.

We argue about what can legitimately be included in the mission that God expects from the church, when we should ask what kind of church God wants for the whole range of his mission.

I may wonder what kind of mission God has for me, when I should be asking what kind of me God wants for his mission.

Isn’t that good stuff?

I’ll write more after I read more. And someday soon I want to talk more about that phrase “make the gospel relevant to the world.” I think that’s already done, and not by us. But I’m intrigued by the way Chester and Timmis put it, that God is transforming the world to fit the shape of the gospel. That’s worth thinking about.

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7 Comments on “Total Church”

  1. JP Says:

    What is the Gospel, the Good News, the Glad Tidings? Think about it. I find very few Christians that have any real idea.

    JP
    http://abbagod.wordpress.com/

  2. promiseskept Says:

    Hi JP, thanks for the comment.

    The gospel is the news of what Jesus has done for our redemption; in its most distilled essence, it is his death, burial, and resurrection (1 Cor. 15:1-4).

    We respond to what God has done in Jesus Christ.

    I think you knew this already, but in case it wasn’t just rhetorical…

    🙂

  3. JP Says:

    Actually wasn’t rhetorical. and you give a nice pastoral answer (that’s not a good thing 😉 ).
    Jesus preached the good news to the poor before his death burial and resurrection. Are you saying he was telling them about his death burial and resurrection before it happened and that they considered it good news?

  4. promiseskept Says:

    JP, I visited your blog, and you’ve got assured views on what the gospel is. So I’m wary of being baited into an argument — not that you’ve been unkind or ungracious, you haven’t. But arguing isn’t where I’m interested in going.

    I don’t see any problem between the “essence” I offered, and the facts you refer to. Keep in mind that there are two sides to the same gospel coin: the “ordor salutis” of God, man, sin, Christ, faith, justification; and the “historia salutis” of Creation, fall, redemption, and restoration. You can’t choose a side and then say that those that chose the other side “just don’t get it.” At the heart of it all, the whole thing, is Jesus, and at the heart of his work and of the revelation about him is death/resurrection.

    For more, check out Luke 24 and Tim Keller’s sermon at the Gospel Coalition, http://www.thegospelcoalition.org/plenary.php

    Thanks!

  5. JP Says:

    LOL. Yes I probably have assured views like most everyone else. But my quest is honest. I believe that the answer to the illusive definition of “Gospel” it that Jesus told and showed people that God, the Father, loved and cared about them personally. I don’t believe he gave any theological treatise or Christian rhetoric. He simply loved them, brought the kingdom to them and let them know it was from the Father. Simple, no big words and absolutely hated by the religious PhD’s of the time.

    Thanks for the interaction.
    JP

  6. promiseskept Says:

    Thanks to you, too, JP.


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