1) Does Gospel centered mean reformed? Specifically, young reformed Calvinists looking for a label that doesn’t complicate relationships with the debates about predestination and infant baptism?One of the reasons I think it's important to do these little shellackings of the author of these questions is that he seems so reasonable, doesn't he?
"Gospel centered"? Isn't that for the immature trying to form a club?
Let's put it this way: what "Gospel-centered" means is that somehow what Jesus has done is more important than, for example, denomination and politics. Anyone who wants to tell people about Jesus in any of the ways you can find in Acts (to keep the conversation inside some kind of finite boundaries) can be "Gospel-centered".
2) Does Gospel centered imply that other Christians aren’t Gospel believing? Every group of Christians I’ve been around recently- from mainline liberals to emergers and Arminian leaning evangelicals- would passionately argue that they are Gospel centered? For example, are conservative evangelicals in the PCUSA Gospel centered? Is the Billy Graham Association Gospel centered? Is the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship Gospel centered?Not any more or less than adopting, for example, a "Jesus-shaped spirituality" implies that other Christians aren't "Jesus shaped".
It's more than a little ironic that someone who can snipe at fundies for raising Marylin Manson, tacitly call John Piper a dangerous man, and blame "evangelicalism" for having a faith which is too lame to answer atheism in real life will, at this point, accuse those who advocate for a "Gospel-centered" faith and life of being somehow divisive or unfairly judgmental.
The Gospel is what it is. Some people get that wrong, and then they chase after misinterpretation of the Gospel. Some of them are "reformed"; some of them are not.
Which brings us to ...
3) Who- specifically- isn’t Gospel centered? And I don’t just mean TEC. I mean, who in some proximity to those using this label, isn’t described by this label? What disqualifies?All non-Christians are not Gospel-centered.
Anyone who has replaced the Gospel with some other idol is not Gospel-centered. For example, anyone who would place a singular political reality (in government, in a church) ahead of what Christ has done is not Gospel centered.
If you want me to name names, I'd be glad to review any list you proffer.
4) What is “centered” as compared to believing, or motivated or preaching, etc.?The conceits we can have but not lend to others always make me itchy. I suggest that "centered" is not any more or less ambiguous than "shaped".
Since I am the one fleshing it out, here's what I think of: I think of all our efforts in some kind of motion in the universe, and Christ is in the Universe. Some things we do are in a high-speed trajectory away from Christ; these are obviously not Gospel centered. Some things are in a trajectory which looks like it is heading straight into or at Christ, and I suggest that none of these are Gospel-centered because they are seeking to replace Christ.
Some trajectories, however, are in motion around Christ, and adorn Christ, and make much of Christ. These are Gospel-centered. They do not seek to abandon him or supplant him: they exist for his sake.
5) Is this describing an existing group or is it a way of doing church? If so, what are we talking about? A certain emphasis on preaching? An intentional effort to put the cross in all sermons and all songs? Fewer church programs?Maybe a version of the Bible? Or how about a t-shirt we can wear?
Like #1 in this list, this question is a pretty unamgiguous swipe at its object.
And again, to expect more from a two-word phrase than one expects from one's own 3-word phrase is ungenerous at best. The Gospel Coalition web site has plenty of resources to describe the phrase. Feel free to inspect those and then reconsider your question.
6) Is Gospel centered the beginnings of a label to create a sub-denomination in the SBC? A kind of signal to those who might be considering leaving the SBC that a network of churches is forming with similar values to the Great Commission Resurgence? Is this a label to build a kind of evangelical ecumenism within and outside of the SBC?It's very subversive, I am sure. What if it's only a way to say, "you know what? I'd rather talk about Jesus than beer. Can we talk about Jesus rather than beer?"
7) Is Gospel centered the beginnings of a door out of the SBC to a “Together for the Gospel,” Acts 29 or “Gospel Coalition” shaped network or denomination?Maybe it's just a way to say, "I'd also rather talk about the ways in which we agree about Jesus than all the ways we can invent to hate each other for doing what we think is right."
Which is ironic, isn't it? You'd think that the John 3:16 conference came first and then T4G and TGC -- but oddly, no: the "Gospel-centered" crowd turned out to come first and reach out across some weird lines (baptism, cessationism, polity) to try to forge some kind of unity in essentials.
So I think the answer is "no".
8) What is most distinctive about a “Gospel centered” church that allows the term to cross denominational boundaries and still be descriptive?The orbits of all the things a church like this does circle around Jesus and not around, for example, style, fashion, or other things which rust and whither.
I know you have previously been completely vexed by the idea that a person or an activity can have an "orbit", but I am sure you can grasp this much: when a church revolves around money, or "growth", or "political action", it is not revolving around Jesus. When it is revolving around Jesus, Jesus looks great -- because all the things going on make much of him and treat him like the center of attention and the main doer, the prime mover.
This reaches across denominational boundaries by appealing to Christ rather than preferences.
9) Plenty of people will say I’m not Gospel centered even though that’s my passion. Who makes the call? Why can so many bloggers use the term and it be meaningful if there’s no specific content?Well, I think that I have listed some pretty specific content here. Anyone who calls you "not Gospel centered" should cite an example, and we can gage it from there. I could cite an example of such a thing, but oddly I wouldn't call you "not Gospel centered" -- so my examples of you being "not Gospel centered" would be for the benefit of trying to explain something else to you -- something which, after years, you simply cannot hear. And it's a shame, really.
Any other questions?