Shaped by the Gospel: Doing Balanced, Gospel-Centered Ministry in Your City (Center Church)
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It is easy to assume that if we understand the gospel and preach it faithfully, our ministry will necessarily be shaped by it—but this is not true. Many churches claim to be gospel-centered but do not have a ministry that is shaped by, centered on, and empowered through the gospel. The implications of the gospel have not yet worked their way into the fabric of how that church does ministry.
Gospel-centered ministry is more theologically driven than program driven. To pursue it, we must spend time reflecting on the essence, the truths, and the very patterns of the gospel itself. The gospel is neither religion nor irreligion, but something else entirely—a third way of relating to God through grace. In Shaped by the Gospel, bestselling author and pastor Timothy Keller addresses several current discussion and conflicts about the nature of the gospel and shows how faithful preaching of the gospel leads to individual and corporate renewal.
This new edition contains the first section of Center Church in an easy-to-read format with new reflections and additional essays from Timothy Keller and several other contributors.
up his kingdom.11 The power of Christ’s kingly rule is now present among gathered Christians (Luke 17:20 – 21), liberating people from false masters and enslaving idols. Among the disciples, the kingdom is a new human order in which power, money, recognition, and success are properly reordered in light of the registry of the kingdom. It is not that these things no longer matter but that they become transposed by the unleashing of Christ’s new creation — by service, generosity, and humility (Luke
Keller when he relates his own experience: “I have often heard people preach this way: ‘The good news is that God is healing and will heal the world of all its hurts; therefore, the work of the gospel is to work for justice and peace in the world’ ” (p. 31). This mistakes effects for causes. As Keller reminds us, “It confuses what the gospel is with what the gospel does” (p. 31). That said, we should acknowledge that the gospel is not only about what God has accomplished for us in the past; it is
absolutely necessary. Saving faith is never less than intellectual assent, but it is always more than that. It combines rational knowledge with the conviction and trust of the heart. For an example of revival preaching in the Old Testament, consider Jeremiah’s call to the Israelites and his demand to “circumcise your hearts” (Jer 4:4; cf. 9:26; Acts 7:51). Jeremiah’s listeners had the outward sign of the covenant, yet Jeremiah informed them they did not have the inward reality of a new heart
minister in cities need encouragement and resources that fuel hope and effectiveness. That’s why I’m so glad that Tim Keller has written this book. His passion for the gospel, heart for the city, and vision of a movement of the Holy Spirit that will transform lives and bring hope and peace to our cities has compelled him to share his insights and thinking with us. What’s more, the church he serves speaks to the integrity of his heart and the possibility of the reality of this vision. Be prepared.
certain theses and arguments need to be made, which exist in books like Generous Justice: How God’s Grace Makes Us Just and Every Good Endeavor: Connecting Your Work to God’s Work. These essays help me see that these supplementary texts are more important than I thought for equipping people to do ministry today and must not be overlooked. The second lesson I am learning is that I am a practitioner first — a working preacher and pastor — not a theologian. That means my actual practice of ministry