For those who may be wondering why N.T. Wright is speaking at the church of one of the founders of the Gospel Coalition â€“ as in justification by faith alone coalition â€“ Justin Taylor may have a clue. Here is a quotation from a piece in Christianity Today from 2008 on Keller and the gospel:
Tim Keller and his Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City fall somewhere between Wright and Dever. Writing for Leadership [JT: , Keller answered this yearâ€™s question for the Christian Vision Project, â€œIs our gospel too small?â€ (The article is not yet available online.) In so doing he took a stab at defining the gospel. â€œThrough the person and work of Jesus Christ, God fully accomplishes salvation for us, rescuing us from the judgment for sin into fellowship with him, and then restores the creation in which we can enjoy our new life together with him forever.â€
Itâ€™s the last clause of this sentence that makes the difference. Is Godâ€™s plan to renew creation part of the gospel message? If so, is it the center of the gospel or a peripheral component of the Good News? Again, how you answer these questions affects how you will live, and how you will expect fellow church members to act.
â€œWhen the third, â€˜eschatologicalâ€™ element is left out, Christians get the impression that nothing much about this world matters,â€ Keller wrote. â€œTheoretically, grasping the full outline should make Christians interested in both evangelistic conversions as well as service to our neighbor and working for peace and justice in the world.â€
So, saving faith yields, trembles, and embraces. It yields obedience, it trembles at threats, and it embraces promises. But its principal acts are accepting, receiving, and resting upon Christ alone for justification. These are indeed its principal acts, but saving faith does other things. It hunts down the red law passages and yields obedience to them. It comes across passages which threaten divine displeasure, and saving faith trembles at these red law passages also. But what is saving faith doing responding to the law passages at all? Don’t the law passages just beat you up? No — in the broader context they are part of God’s saving intention for us. They are gospel. They are totus lex, part of the covenant of grace.
Then what do you do with Paulâ€™s assertion that â€œthe law is not of faithâ€? Or what do you do with the Protestant protest against Rome that we are saved not by works but by faith?
Apparently Craig Higgins, who pastors one of the congregations in the Redeemer New York network of Redeemer-like churches in the New York vicinity, is still a Presbyterian. Will N. T. Wright tempt him to become an English Christian?
If abortion is an abomination, why isnâ€™t this blasphemy?