McMark, historically, punting on baptism was a way to form the Evangelical Alliance and then the Federal Council of Churches. Then you begin to notice things like public morality is more relevant that mode of baptism. I believe TGC may already be there.
The integration of faith and work.
The good news of the Bible is not only individual forgiveness but the renewal of the whole creation. God put humanity in the garden to cultivate the material world for his own glory and for the flourishing of nature and the human community. The Spirit of God not only converts individuals (e.g., John 16:8) but also renews and cultivates the face of the earth (e.g., Gen 1:2; Psalm 104:30). Therefore Christians glorify God not only through the ministry of the Word, but also through their vocations of agriculture, art, business, government, scholarship—all for God’s glory and the furtherance of the public good. Too many Christians have learned to seal off their faith–beliefs from the way they work in their vocation. The gospel is seen as a means of finding individual peace and not as the foundation of a worldview—a comprehensive interpretation of reality affecting all that we do. But we have a vision for a church that equips its people to think out the implications of the gospel on how we do carpentry, plumbing, data–entry, nursing, art, business, government, journalism, entertainment, and scholarship. Such a church will not only support Christians’ engagement with culture, but will also help them work with distinctiveness, excellence, and accountability in their trades and professions. Developing humane yet creative and excellent business environments out of our understanding of the gospel is part of the work of bringing a measure of healing to God’s creation in the power of the Spirit. Bringing Christian joy, hope, and truth to embodiment in the arts is also part of this work. We do all of this because the gospel of God leads us to it, even while we recognize that the ultimate restoration of all things awaits the personal and bodily return of our Lord Jesus Christ (CS–).
The doing of justice and mercy.
God created both soul and body, and the resurrection of Jesus shows that he is going to redeem both the spiritual and the material. Therefore God is concerned not only for the salvation of souls but also for the relief of poverty, hunger, and injustice. The gospel opens our eyes to the fact that all our wealth (even wealth for which we worked hard) is ultimately an unmerited gift from God. Therefore the person who does not generously give away his or her wealth to others is not merely lacking in compassion, but is unjust. Christ wins our salvation through losing, achieves power through weakness and service, and comes to wealth through giving all away. Those who receive his salvation are not the strong and accomplished but those who admit they are weak and lost. We cannot look at the poor and the oppressed and callously call them to pull themselves out of their own difficulty. Jesus did not treat us that way. The gospel replaces superiority toward the poor with mercy and compassion. Christian churches must work for justice and peace in their neighborhoods through service even as they call individuals to conversion and the new birth. We must work for the eternal and common good and show our neighbors we love them sacrificially whether they believe as we do or not. Indifference to the poor and disadvantaged means there has not been a true grasp of our salvation by sheer grace.
Gospel Coalitioner – The integration of faith and work.
The good news of the Bible is not only individual forgiveness but the renewal of the whole creation. God put humanity in the garden to cultivate the material world for his own glory and for the flourishing of nature and the human community. The Spirit of God not only converts individuals (e.g., John 16:8) but also renews and cultivates the face of the earth (e.g., Gen 1:2; Psalm 104:30).
Erik – Boy, that’s some heavy-duty exegesis for such grand claims. Two verses?
And Gen. 1.2? We’re supposed to just overlook the fall?
And the second paragraph is perhaps an element of the law (“Gratitude” section of the Heidelberg), but is not the gospel (maybe the social gospel).
And these guys think they have invented something new? Have they heard of Walter Rauschenbusch?
I also noticed they seriously listed plumbing as one of the activities that the gospel has implications for.
Such grand communal schemes. How about just worshipping God faithfully each Sunday, being fed with word and sacrament, and going out and trying to be a humble, decent person in your daily life? With no great expectations of what may or may not come of it.
My son was playing with a neighborhood kid the other day who has had a tough life. He was given up for adoption by his single mom and his older brother hung himself a few years ago (probably accidentally). He has a good adoptive family now, but they have their hands full with several other adopted kids. I was going to take my son to hit baseballs so I asked him if he wanted to come along. He said he did. I asked him if he had played baseball before and he said he only had a few times. We went and my son (only 6) hit first and the other boy shagged balls. Then the other boy (who is 9 or 10) hit and did really well. He has a lot of potential as a baseball player and all-around athlete. He had fun, my son had fun, and I had fun. We’ll all do it again. The great thing was that it flowed naturally out of our daily lives. I needed no great pep talk or grand theological framework to do it. No pastor had to guide me. I didn’t have to join some team at church. It was no big deal, but it’s the kind of simple thing that we do as Christians.