Here’s the latest from the Christian Vision Project. It’s a reflection on the conversion of the jailer by Paul and Silas in Acts 16 from a pastor named Mark Buchanan. This year’s question is: “Is our gospel too small?”
I think the plain and obvious answer is, “YES!” But parsing that out is a little tricky. Coming from the Wesleyan branch of the Christian Tradition, which in current manifestation straddles both the evangelical and liberal protestant current expressions of the faith, I tend to be particularly critical of the old conservative evangelical reduction of the gospel from kingdom-sized transformation to a God-loves-you-so-much-you-get-a-get-out-of-hell-free-card gospel.
Buchanan is refreshingly candid in both his critique of his Baptist faith experience and in his appreciation for its gift as well. Honesty and generosity at once–not something we do well in the current American public conversation, particularly on matters of religion (yes, and politics too!).
At the same time as I am proud of my Wesleyan tradition, I recognize that each and every one of us has a gospel that is too small. None (or VERY few) of us have a true sense of the expansiveness of God’s gospel mission. But sharing the sort of candid, honest, and generous testimony that Buchanan does and bringing the conversation back to Scripture to hear the Word anew, as he does, will help big time.
“Singing in the Chains” by Mark Buchanan