Here is a short video of Peter Kreeft’s argument against the absence of wisdom in abortion. Peter Kreeft is a professor of philosophy at Boston College, serious Roman Catholic and former Evangelical. My courses on philosophy, Bible and Christian Tradition are filled Kreeft materials. If I was ever to convert to Roman Catholicism, and there is no chance of which I am aware that I might do that, it would all be explained by Kreeft’s writings. He is a CS Lewis maniac. His book on heaven is one of the most extraordinary works in my incredibly now-shrinking library. I have to be careful not to over-quote both Lewis and Kreeft in sermons and lectures.
Scot McKnight rehearses the four paradigms in Michael Bird’s book, The Apostle Paul, used to explain what the Apostle Paul brings to the table. The four views of Paul are: the Reformed view by Tom Schreiner, the Catholic view by L.T. Johnson, the post New Perspective view by Douglas Campbell, and the Jewish view of Mark Nanos.
They want to think Jesus preached the Gospel. They realized it would be very embarrassing if he did not. But framing the Gospel as “justification by grace through faith alone” leaves Jesus out in the cold, and the TGC knows it. There is just no place in the Gospels where this is explicitly taught (except, perhaps, in Luke 18). How could it be that Jesus himself did not teach what the neoPuritans say is irreducible Gospel?
Therefore, their 2013 national conference will have as its central theme, “The Gospel According to Jesus,” and all other keynote addresses will work through Luke’s rich testimony to the teaching, person, and work of Jesus of Nazareth. Their job will be to center Luke someway and somehow in the cross. That can be done. But to focus the Gospel on kingdom come, Jesus as the completion of the Israel story, is not going to be comfortable for them. We’ll see how close they come to it.
In the Gospel as we now frame it the essential story line is to accept Jesus as your personal Savior, receive free remission of sin, and go to heaven when you die. The TGC will protect this story line. But that is a far cry from Jesus becoming King of this world after the treason in the Garden of Eden through our first parents in alliance with the ruler of this age, the Devil. The latter communicates such a change of administrations that repentance takes on a more objective and public dimension. Repentance is renouncing you citizenship in the old kingdom and changing to a life in keeping with the new King. It’s this Lordship dimension which the framing of the stereotypical Gospel message has a hard time capturing.
Scot McKnight in his book The King Jesus Gospel and NT Wright in his How God Became King push back at what McKnight calls the soterian gospel as reductionist and necessarily removed from the centrality of moral transformation. I cannot commend these books highly enough. I think that they in many ways outline some of the theological trajectory of developing Evangelicalism as it struggles with its past reductionist preaching and evangelizing.