Sharing a Common Theology...
I have loved my journey. God has been so kind and gracious, unfolding a unique story for which I am eternally grateful.
However, from time to time we have to look back, debrief and be biblically honest to see where weaknesses have crept in. During the sabbatical, I had that opportunity. It is easy to justify, defend and repeat yesterday's story but what good is that?
When I first started hearing Tim Keller's teaching on 'gospel centeredness' I was so stirred. [That was around 2007]. I had been saved for some 30 years and yet something gripped me afresh. A blog cannot possibly do justice to explain how deep this simple message drove into my heart. As profound as that was, I also had to ask why and where had I drifted from this beauty?
The sober honesty was, I had been captivated by our apostolic journey to that point. Such was the sense of gratitude and amazement, that I began to preach the 'brand', 'model', 'manual'. I wanted others to be as excited at what I had discovered, that I preached with great gusto. Those were intoxicating years!
But the scripture teaches us: "For what we proclaim is not ourselves but Jesus Christ as Lord..." 2 Cor 4:5. I blame no-one for my drift. I had begun to 'preach ourselves'.
So we have loved rediscovering the beauty, wonder, mystery and joyous liberty of Christ - his eternal promise to liberate us, his incarnation, the simplicity of his life, the humility of his death, the majesty of his resurrection and the spectacular anticipation of his return. This is a more exquisite message to preach - liberating and life transforming. The discovery of theology has been captivating. The emergence of Ephesians 4 teachers as a result, is a matter of much delight.
From the penal substitutionary atonement, through the path of justification, redemption, restoration, reconciliation, sanctification, the gospel pebble splashes the pond through the matter of kingdom advancement to the great 'missio dei' where God's promises that he will 'renew all things', with the church his primary partner in this great project.
I love biblical apostolic architecture but I can no longer preach 'the model'. Jesus is just too intoxicating and too expansive.