Last week I received a question that read in part:
In the Reformed/Gospel-centered movement, the focus seems to be on how sinful and wicked and powerless we all are and how comforted and relieved we should be when we look to the cross. It seems like the answer to most problems is to look to the cross more. I don’t even know exactly what that means. For me, it encouraged a miserable cycle of wallowing in how awful I am and basing the Christian life on the feelings I get when I think of Jesus dying for me.
Here is my reply:
Thank you for this—you’ve put into words something that has concerned me for years. I’ve written about various aspects of it, but your letter pulls several of those concepts together.
I’m going to break your paragraph down so that parts of it have become the headings for this blog post. I’m also linking to other blog posts that enlarge on what I’m saying here, which I hope you’ll read, because they’re part of my answer to your concerns on this extremely important topic.
The Gospel-centered movement
I came into the “Reformed/Gospel-centered movement” in 2007, unaware of anything regarding any sort of movement. I remember listening to my first CJ Mahaney sermon that same year, from a CD a friend lent me, in which Mahaney said that [whatever it was he was talking about] was because of the gospel.
I appreciated this, because I loved thinking about all of life being for the sake of the gospel, which of course had a non-elusive definition to me, as being the good news of the life, death, resurrection, ascension, and seating of our Lord Jesus Christ, for the salvation of souls and the transformation of lives. It didn’t cross my mind that others who taught using the term might be using it differently.
As time went on and I heard “the gospel” used more and more with what seemed to me like less and less clarity, I began to wonder what people meant when they talked about it. I wrote this post in 2010, observing how for some reason “the gospel” in many cases seemed to be replacing Jesus Christ Himself.
Go here to download your free Guide, How to Enjoy the Bible Again (when you’re ready) After Spiritual Abuse (without feeling guilty or getting triggered out of your mind). You’ll receive access to both print and audio versions of the Guide (audio read by me). I’m praying it will be helpful.