A d F o n t e s

(Latin: "to the sources")

Gospel Coalition “Confessional Statement” and “Theological Vision for Ministry”

Recently a movement called the “Gospel Coalition” released a document including its “Confessional Statement” and “Theological Vision for Ministry.” To be honest, I think perhaps I heard of this group once–I think I have a memory of hearing about it stored in the dark recesses of my brain–but I haven’t followed it. So I know little about it. What I’ve surmised is it’s another evangelical-ish group intended to redefine its ecclesiological boundaries in different theological and ministerial terms with the intention of doing at least two things: (a) creating unity around what the organizers think are “essentials,” and (b) trying to address a selection of what the organizers perceive are prevalent problems facing Christianity and the world today.

I feel a little ambivalent about these sorts of movements–including one I signed my name to once (granted, this one didn’t inevitably do anything). On the one hand, I like the idea of Christian unity that crosses denominational boundaries and tries to understand and appreciate Christian history and diversity, even where there is difficult conflict. But I usually get uneasy when this kind of intention is implemented. The reason is that it often breaks down because people and their convictions don’t often fit neatly into the boxes we’d like to fit them in. For example, I and many people I know would consider ourselves basically evangelical and sympathetic to many of the concerns this document’s “vision of ministry” outlines, nevertheless we wouldn’t fit squarely within the scope of what the “confessional statement” means to include (though perhaps they mean to exclude me).

One question I have about this new “Gospel Coalition” is why it felt the need to go beyond the classical creeds–e.g. the Nicene, Apostolic, or even Constantinoplian. I would have thought that a group intending to be ecumenical and proactive–especially a group entitled the “Gospel” Coalition–would have tried to stick with the essentials. Perhaps there’s a good reason I don’t understand.

May 30, 2007 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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