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Total Church: a new book on gospel-centered community and mission

July 30, 2007

Tim Chester and Steve Timmis of Crowded House have written a much needed book. Total Church: a radical reshaping around gospel and community (IVP, UK) cuts through the conservative and progressive views on church and community without taking the wearisome Emergent/Emerging debate head on. Instead, Total Church charts a course for the church that is gospel-centered, mission-centered, and community centered (One wonders just how may centers we can have!).

Part One lays a rich and accessible biblical-theological foundation addressing the questions: “What is community” and “What is the gospel?” I will be posting on this book throughout the week. Here is a summary of their description of gospel-centered:

Being gospel-centered has two dimensions. First, it means being word-centered because the gospel is a word. The gospel is good news. It is a message. It is a message that can be summarized in simple gospel outlines or even the three-word confession that ‘Jesus is Lord’. Yet it is a message that fills the entire Bible. It is the story of salvation from creation to new creation. It is a word that has become incarnate in Jesus Christ. It is this word that brings new life to people and shapes the life of the church.

Second, being gospel-centered means being mission-centered, for the gospel is a missionary word. The gospel is good news. It is a word to be proclaimed. You cannot be committed to the gospel without being committed to proclaiming that gospel.

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9 Comments leave one →
  1. July 30, 2007 10:52 am

    sounds good-I may have to add that to my list.

  2. July 30, 2007 11:53 am

    Quick question-How did you get the book?

    It’s not out yet in the US.

    Thanks man.

  3. July 30, 2007 12:04 pm

    My sweet hook up with Acts 29 international director. He bought a case of them. Want me to ask if he has more?

  4. July 30, 2007 1:09 pm

    I just sent Mark an email :)

    I hope he has some left.

    Let’s do coffee soon.

  5. July 31, 2007 10:00 am

    This book sounds good, JD. Count me in if you can score me a copy.

  6. July 31, 2007 9:44 pm

    I like the quote and I think I agree with it. I think we have to be cautious in how we interpret ‘common life’ of the believer. I think being a covenant people harkens to Old Testament imagry of covenant, and common life for the covenant keepers (us) should on some level do the same. Not that I mean we should be cutting doves in half or anything, but I feel like today ‘common life’ of church goers is so wrapped up in spiritualism that depends on solidarity. We don’t think in terms of outward, community traditions like gatherinig together as the Church to hear the gospel preached in power, truth, etc. I think that a watered down version of ‘common life’ can take the power out of what the author is saying (i.e. giving a blanket to a homeless man is not the gospel, although it is kind).

    Thanks for posting on my blog. Things have been busy and hard. We are living in Waco now. I work for a Christian foster agency. We have one two year old and a second on the way, although we just found out there are complications.

    Hope you guys are doing well.

  7. August 1, 2007 10:18 am

    “You cannot be committed to the gospel without being committed to proclaiming that gospel.”

    This is so basic that it hurts. I rejoice that there is so much “Gospel” renewal right now, with roots digging deep into biblical theology rather than methodology. The phrase “gospel-centered” is code-word to my heart that causes me to rejoice in the faithfulness of God in his rescuing his creation through Jesus. But this springing up of worship must continue to overflow into proclamation in word to those who do not know or believe this good news.

    It seems this book will give a needed balance of the two hands of the gospel, verbal proclamation and physical demonstration. Which is what Daniel is advocating.

    Daniel, thanks for sharing about your children. I too will be praying for your child on the way and your wife. May God give you the strength to face the challenges with peace that goes beyond human understanding.

Trackbacks

  1. gospel-centered talk around the blogosphere-- eucatastrophe
  2. The Big Gap « Life Together

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