Gospel Declaration

The gospel changes everything! In fact, it becomes the very lens through which we look at all of life and its challenges. The Holy Spirit empowers the spread and impact of Christ's good news in individual lives, communities and culture.

A. The gospel impacts culture

From the moment of birth, each of us learns the special shared knowledge of our community called culture. Culture guides how we share meaning through language and symbols, how we classify appropriate and inappropriate behaviors and how we develop the skills necessary to survive and interact.

While it is not humanly possible to be completely free of cultural biases, an awareness of our worldview and an appreciation of other biblically grounded expressions of the gospel can facilitate the spread of the gospel and fellowship across cultures.Multicultural synergy enables Christ's church to worship and witness with greater beauty and fullness.

The gospel transcends all cultures. The essential truths of the gospel can be expressed in any language or clothed in any culture. At the same time, every culture is marred by the sinfulness of people. The realization that we will always be, to some extent, culture-bound should lead to humility and interdependence in the global body of Christ. Christ-followers need to be able to distinguish the essentials of the gospel from our cultural expression of the gospel. The Bible is the sole infallible source of the gospel in every setting and situation.

The gospel is countercultural. The gospel gives us a place to stand and exercise discernment over our culture, so that we live individually and corporately as radical, redeemed Christ-followers.We rely on the Bible and the guidance of the Holy Spirit in the lifelong task of learning and living out the gospel.

The gospel transforms culture. The gospel transforms our beliefs, values and behaviors and results in a new, shared culture that is an imperfect reflection of the coming kingdom of God. The gospel also compels us to impact lives and communities with the transforming power of Christ's love and truth (Matthew 5:1-16).

Cultural discernment is crucial for our ministries. We need to be clear on the core essentials of the gospel. This understanding has been passed down through the centuries by faithful followers of Christ, and it comes to each of us from our knowledge of the Word of God as guided by the Holy Spirit. At the same time we must acknowledge the influence of culture on our understanding of the gospel, in the historical development of our theology and in our comfort with varied expressions of the gospel. Such awareness helps us embrace the good and confront the evil in our lives and communities. Ultimately we must attempt to communicate and demonstrate the gospel in humble and culturally informed ways without sacrificing its essential truths.

B. The gospel changes individuals

Our goal as Christ-followers is the functional centrality of the gospel in our lives. Like the New Testament writers, the truth of the gospel shapes our thinking and conduct in a way that produces Christ-like love and holiness - putting his kingdom values into practice in the power of the Holy Spirit. Humility, boldness, dependency and the assurance of his presence replace self-reliance, pride, selfishness and many other sins that must be confessed in order to see God's glory revealed and for transformation to take place.

C. The gospel brings individuals together into true community

In order to see spiritual transformation occur within ourselves, we must become deeply involved in authentic and life-changing relationships with others. God's design is for human beings to be involved in community" not alone or isolated. Jesus prayed that we would experience unity, a concept foundational to spiritual transformation.

This oneness in Christ is to be expressed in local churches where the Lord is worshiped, hisWord studied, his people loved, his generosity expressed, his delight in prayer honored, his gospel spread and his ordinances observed under the authority and discipline of godly leaders.

D. The gospel transforms communities through serving others

Being missional begins with a profound conviction that we are invited to join in the mission of God and that the church does not exist for itself, but rather to glorify God and to reach out to the world around us. This goes beyond converting people, to learning and practicing a powerful togetherness, seeking to be faithful to God's promises while serving and welcoming families, singles, the poor, single- parents, the handicapped, the elderly, disillusioned people, immigrants and strangers. They are not simply a "project,” but human beings who bear the image of God and are intended objects of Christ's love.

If Jesus pitched his tent among us, we too must pitch our tents among the people.We are to live as missional people and not as self-centered consumers of spiritual goods -- to be incarnational, reflecting the presence of Jesus wherever there is need that can be met in his name.

E. The gospel is to be proclaimed joyously to all peoples

The gospel is not just for us and those around us. God also wants us - commands us! - to share it with people across cultural and geographical boundaries. God stated that through Abraham all nations and peoples of the earth would receive blessing, which was a command to him and his descendants to be a blessing on others. And Jesus made it even clearer: "Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you" (Matthew 28:19-20).

F. The gospel shapes our ministry priorities and practices

We incarnate the gospel

  • We move out of our safe places to incarnate the gospel in our own neighborhoods (locally), while cultivating a growing participation in what God is doing in other cultures (globally).
  • We look for ways God is already working around us and then join him and join others for the sake of his glory.
  • We love people as people rather than as projects.
  • We avoid dividing life into sacred and secular categories that keep us from bringing good news into every setting we enter.

We display the gospel

  • We demonstrate the truth of the gospel through our actions as well as our words, sharing Jesus' concern for justice, compassion and mercy.
  • We see all of life as worship, stewardship, discipleship and faith.
  • We view all of creation as belonging to God and our efforts to care for it as pointing ahead to the day of complete restoration of all things under Christ.

We proclaim the gospel

  • We joyfully bring others into our churches, even as we become the church beyond the walls of our buildings.
  • We seek to communicate the gospel in images and language that fit our contexts of influence without sacrificing its essential truths.
  • We join Christ in multiplying disciples, leaders and churches so that people everywhere might know his good news.

Our response

It all begins with God and our response as Christ-followers: leadership teams, pastors, elders, church planters, deacons, teachers, professors and all who love Christ and his kingdom. As individuals and circles of Christ-followers, will we increasingly experience and express the gospel as a way of life? "Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ" (Philippians 1:27, ESV).

    Point - September 2018

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