I’ve said this before, but I sense (I’m not a prophet) that the future of conservative evangelicalism in the USA can be charted in the leading voices found at Southern Seminary in Louisville, though I would not want to be thought of saying that it will all be Southern Baptist. On a day I posted about Emergent and doctrinal statements, the Together for the Gospel leaders have emerged with a “together for the gospel” statement. Anyone care to comment on whether you think this is a good summary of the gospel?
My observations: there are plenty of central and important themes; Scripture, Trinity, sinfulness, grace, justification, and it ends with two themes very important to the framers (complementarianism and racism); it has both affirmations and denials, which can sometimes make the points not always visible; and they have overt statements about postmodernism and the crisis of confidence.
But, these observations should also be observed: nothing on the Second Coming (maybe implicit at points), nothing serious about the Holy Spirit, and oddly enough for a concern for the gospel no definition of salvation (just what is it?) — though clearly an emphasis on grace and justification, but what about forgiveness and reconciliation? Now here’s the irony of this statement: the authors clearly say they deny pitting Jesus against Paul, but when it comes to defining the gospel there is not one mention of the word Jesus used — “kingdom of God.” I’m not stuck on words, but it looks to me that this is another instance of trumping Jesus’ language with Paul’s language. (They don’t want to pit Jesus against Paul, as too many have done, and I’m sure they don’t want to pit Paul against Jesus either, but by not using the very term our Lord was so fond of, they risk a misunderstanding here.)
But, let’s remind ourselves that no doctrinal statement ever completes the task.