Fundamentalists, Liberals, and Gospel-Centered Christianity

If you think about it, Fundamentalist and Liberal Christians have more on common with one another than either does with Gospel-centered Christianity.  While Fundamentalists and Liberals would seem to be very different from the other, almost even polar opposites, I am convinced this is true.  For both of those traditions tend to view the purpose of Christianity to be to make one a good person, or to validate a persons goodness.  Fundamentalist assume what makes one a “good” person is to keep the rules.  Liberal Christians, on the other hand, maintain that “good” people are never judgmental (except, perhaps, about judgmental people).  So both are in essence legalists.  At the center of their faith is the Law. The only thing to distinguishes them from one another is how they view and relate to the Law.  Both are driven by personal performance.

Gospel-centered Christianity, on the other hand, in line with the message of the Prophets and Apostles, and even Jesus himself, is not centered on the law nor driven by personal performance.  Gospel-centered Christianity is centered on the person of Jesus.  Unlike the other two traditions, Gospel-centered Christianity agrees with Jesus’ words: There are no good people – not when the standard is God’s holiness. (Mark 10.18)  Gospel-centered Christianity understands that Jesus, and what he has done on our behalf, is our only hope.  And Gospel-centered Christians take comfort, even delight, in that, because Jesus is the only hope and comfort we need.

2 thoughts on “Fundamentalists, Liberals, and Gospel-Centered Christianity

  1. In the every day life we live however, I would say we are just as needy of a person or persons who love and support us and that we can be accountable to and open with.

    It’s surly thelogically correct in every way to say all we need is Jesus. Not sure thats real in the life we live out day to day.

    Jesus certanily is our hope, our life and our salvation. But we look to Jesus through spiritual eyes via the Holy Spirit. We sure do need the physical arms around us, the shoulder to lean on, support in time of need, the others in our lives as well.

    Sometimes I think, (I know this will sound a bit in left field) that we tend to give “Sunday School” answers and Platitudes, kind like saying Jesus is the answer….He is that. But knowing that doesn’t make all things well all the time. We struggle because of sin and well because we are people who are broken. We need each other ! The Christian life is meant to be lived in support of each other, we can not do it alone….

    But certanily we have the Holy Spirit within us and Jesus who is our very life. If we tend towards being a bit fundamental, legalistic or liberal, it’s something we all do at times. Some of the most legalistic people I know come from very sound theological perspectives. It is possible to be very legalistic in whatever perspective you feel comfortable with. Weather liberal or fundamental. It’s tough to understand and be aware of God’s Grace and Love in the every day of life.

    Is Jesus the answer…absoluely, guess thats what you said..! This probably doesn’t make any sense….

    • David, I think your post makes sense. I would offer the following to bring more clarity to my original post:

      To say that Jesus is “all we need” is playing off of what Paul says in Ephesians 1.22-23: “And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.”

      I think you are right, that in a culture nurtured and nourished on cotton candy-like Sunday School answers this phrase can easily be misunderstood, and empty.

      To elaborate I would say that in one sense Jesus does not come alone. There is much in Him and he brings much with him. To be in Christ includes everything God has determined is necessary for our lives. Not the least of these things is that when we respond in faith to Christ we are immediately included as part of a community that is designed to spur and nurture our spiritual vitality and maturity. That is among the necessities, but it is one that should be understood to be implicit when we say we are “in Christ”.

      However, you are correct. While this “should” be understood, it is not widely enough understood. So thanks for the corrective.

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