“The test of a gospel-centered church is its doctrine on paper plus its culture in practice.” 1
The good news that sinners can experience God’s grace through Jesus comes first as a message (Rom. 10:17). It’s a message that must be heralded, heard, and received. For those who believe, it is the power of God that brings salvation (Rom. 1:17). And so at Immanuel, we must be people with one message. A church that proclaims, sings, rehearses, and remembers ‘Christ crucified’ (1 Cor. 1:23).
But I love the statement from pastor and author, Ray Ortlund. It reminds us that for the power and beauty of Christ to be on full display, the Gospel must be proclaimed and displayed. It must be a church’s doctrine and culture. He goes on to say…
The gospel does not hang in midair as an abstraction. By the power of God, the gospel creates something new in the world today. It creates not just a new community, but a new kind of community. Gospel-centered churches are living proof that the good news is true, that Jesus is not a theory but is real, as he gives back to us our humanness. In its doctrine and culture, words and deeds, such a church makes visible the restored humanity only Christ can give.2
So, Pioneer Team Member, what kind of new community should we expect the Gospel to create? What kind of new community should we pursue in light of the Gospel?