Theological Vision Part 2
Strong and courageous
October 18, 2018
In last week’s post, we developed the concepts of doctrinal foundations, theological vision and ministry expression being played out in a sequential order. That each one is important in the overarching health of a local church.
Today we will look further into theological vision and the role that it plays in how we do ministry at the River Center. I will be expanding on concepts from the book titled Center Church by Dr. Tim Keller. He describes theological vision as being composed of three things.
Gospel: It is vital for the local church to never lose its grasp on what the gospel is. In essence, it is a story of good news of redemption to be told. It can also include how our lifestyle as a Christian is played out, but most importantly, it is a message to be communicated with actual words. Keller states that “It is critical, therefore, in every new generation and setting to finds ways to communicate the gospel clearly and strikingly, distinguishing it from its opposites and counterfeits. The gospel must primarily be understood as good news, and the news is not as much about what we must do, rather about what has been done for us by Christ's atonement.” This requires bringing the whole council of God into play. If we only develop that God is love, there will be an element that underemphasizes our need to be transformed in our thoughts and deeds. If we only develop the wrath of God, the result can lead to judgmental works based heresy that denies God’s grace at work.
Community: This deals with our cultural context. How does our local church relate to and influence our local village? Keller states “All churches must understand, love, and identify with their local community and social setting, and at the same time be able to critique and challenge it in a winsome way.” This has become an acute challenge as our culture is drifting more and more towards being post-Christian. However hostile this environment has become, they are still watching. We are being salt and light and our theological vision needs to reflect this understanding that we have.
Movement: This last portion deals with how our local church looks and relates to other churches in our community. Movements do not occur in the context of one individual church. Our theological vision should be inclusive in collaborating together with the big picture of affecting our community together rather than being in competition with one another. We may have doctrinal differences that distinguish, however the overarching understanding that they will know that we are Christians by the love that we have for one another is important in this process. Our local church is actively involved in “Transform Lebanon” ministerial group with the intent of accomplishing this very purpose.