Kevin DeYoung, pastor of University Reformed Church and author of Just Do Something, and Why We’re Not Emergent & Why We Love the Church (with coauthor Ted Kluck), was the second speaker at The Exchange. His message addressed the Truth and the Lie in the Contemporary Church.
In his message, DeYoung asserts that there are four lies we’re told about the gospel, the Church, divine revelation and discipleship.
The lie: The gospel is not about doctrine, it is simply an invitation into a way of life.
The truth: The gospel is a message of historical fact plus theological interpretation.
DeYoung cites one popular author who says, “The gospel is an event to be proclaimed, not a doctrine.” Another says that orthodoxy is about how you live; that it’s a vision for a new way of living.
“You may have heard this quote from St. Francis of Assisi, ‘Preach the gospel, use words if necessary,’” says DeYoung. “This has a number of problems—first, there’s no record that he said it, second, there’s no indication that he lived by it, and third it’s a confusion of categories.”
“We want to adorn the gospel with good deed, but without the proclamation we have not shared the gospel.”
In other words, lifestyle evangelism should not be code for “I don’t evangelize.”
“I really don’t think my neighbors are going to come to me and say, ‘Kevin, you don’t swear, can you tell me about Jesus?’ or ‘You have a fair trade coffee; tell me how to go to heaven?’”
People want to emphasize the gospel as a way of life because of a veneer of cultural Christianity. It’s more than getting a doctrinal formulation correct, but it’s no excuse for turning the good news into “good advice.”
“Without doctrine, ‘It’s about Jesus,’ becomes a meaningless mantra,” says DeYoung. As Paul wrote in 1 Cor. 15:1-11: [Read more…]