As if I needed any more books ...

So Adrian Warnock is trolling for readers again, this time by giving away 5 copies of John Piper’s latest book, God is the Gospel. You can read about this contest here.

The gist of the thing is that he is trying to generate some cross-talk (heh – that’s funny) about the T4G affirmations and denials, which I think is a good thing and a kind of lazy thing, too. It’s good in the fact that this semi-creed deserves to have something happen to it other than everyone knee-jerkedly linking to it. You know: like you should read it and think about it because it is both instructive and descriptive of the work the hosts of the conference want to be about.

But it’s lazy, if you ask me. (No offense, Adrian) I have listened to all the major talks (the panel discussions aren’t available on MP3, which I think is criminal) at least twice, and one of the clear challenges I took away from these talks is, “stop thinking about preaching the Gospel and start preaching the Gospel.” I think it was Al Mohler who made the statement that just “wanting to” be in ministry like this isn’t enough: Sunday is coming, and it’s your first opportunity to be in ministry like this.

In that, just tawkin’ about the T4G statement is lazy because it’s not really about the Gospel – it’s about “standing together”. The irony is that I affirm the statement whole-heartedly, but I don’t think talking about it is the point of the statement: the point of the statement is to say, “look: the Gospel isn’t some kind of ploy or marketing tool, and God isn’t conducting a seminar to reach a consensus.”

So in that, I linked to Adrian’s blog and I have a coupla things to say, as you might expect.
Article I
We affirm that the sole authority for the Church is the Bible, verbally inspired, inerrant, infallible, and totally sufficient and trustworthy.

We deny that the Bible is a mere witness to the divine revelation, or that any portion of Scripture is marked by error or the effects of human sinfulness.
Oh, the fireworks this will set off! Good Heavens – “sole authority”?! You mean these fellows are “solo scripturists”?

See: this is why discussing this document is going to go over like a glass lamp on an end table next to a 2-year-old. Even though this is foundational to the rest of the affirmations, and even though it is categorically foundational to being able to preach the word, in season and out of season, it immediately derails the actual preaching of the Gospel because now we have to spend 500 words exposing what exactly we mean by “sole authority”.

I’m sure this entry isn’t going to win me any books from Adrian, but the point of the conference was not the affirmations and denials: the point of the conference was to point men of God back to the Gospel by identifying the Gospel and by affirming the Gospel.

The Gospel! Listen: I’m the guy who has been blogging about 18 months and who keeps coming back – more and less, because we’re going into a “baptism” schtick here – to the matter of orthodoxy, and the Gospel, and what we mean when we say such things. I like the creeds; I like the confessions. I’m in favor of them. But they are internal and provisional documents in the best possible way and in the best possible case. So there is no doubt, I would affirm Article I of T4G. But so what? I affirm them all.

When do I start preaching the Gospel? The point of T4G is to preach the Gospel. Preach it from the pulpit; preach it from your life; preach it from the whole Bible; preach it to the culture; preach it explicitly from the narrative of God’s word; preach it focused on the main thing.

Go ahead and read the XVIII affirmations, and affirm them. That’s before lunch today, readers. The next thing is to get after it and preach the Gospel. To lost people. To confused people. To people who hate it. And to our brothers and sisters who are inside the Gospel, standing upon the Gospel, so that they may also know and live the power and work of Jesus Christ.