I wrote yesterday of some of the reasons that I’m grateful for The Gospel Coalition. Today I want to write about some of the challenges I think they face. By “they” I don’t mean the organization or council. I’m referring to people like me who hold to the convictions of TGC.
Here are some of the challenges:
- Our blind spots are deadly. This is true of everyone, but the young, restless, Reformed crowd face a unique set of blind spots. You could also call them idols. Love theology? We can elevate a system over God and his revelation. Love truth? We can soon despise those who don’t hold some of the finer points of truth. If you read some of the criticism against the Neo-Reformed, you’ll see that we’re accused of being prickly, defensive, militant nit-pickers. It doesn’t mean we are, but it probably means we need to ask if they see something in us that we don’t.
- We can be too taken with celebrities. I love and admire guys like Tim Keller, John Piper, D.A. Carson, and so on. But admiration can soon cross the line and become hero-worship. We face the danger of becoming Reformed celebrity groupies. (But I am looking for John Frame’s autograph if you know where to get it.)
- We can become proud. We shouldn’t become proud; as D.A. Carson says, “proud Christian” is an oxymoron. We have little reason to become proud. But it’s a very real danger. Nobody wears pride well, but it especially looks bad on those who claim to be centered on the gospel.
- We may give the impression that we don’t value women. I was grateful to see the series by Thabiti Anyabwile “I’m a Complementarian, But…” It addresses the danger of taking a complementarian view too far and erecting barriers for women that shouldn’t exist. This can leave women feeling devalued. True complementarianism has nothing to do with chauvinism.
- We may become exclusive. We need to remember that we are only part of the Body, and that we are fellow-workers with many who embrace the gospel but don’t share all of our convictions.
There are many other challenges. I enjoy reading people like David Fitch who keep me attuned to some of them. Because we believe in depravity, we shouldn’t be surprised at some of the directions we can take if we’re not careful.
Therein lies our hope. Our theology, at its best, corrects us. When we really understand the gospel and our need of it, it will protect us from putting secondary things first, from idolizing people or ideas, or of devaluing others. We’ll allow Scripture to critique us, and we’ll be open to rebuke and correction – if we believe what we say we do.
I’m praying that we’ll be attuned to our blind spots; that we’ll put our hope in God and his gospel more than in men; that we’ll pursue humility and unity with other believers; that we’ll encourage women; and that we’ll continue to be transformed by the gospel and engaged in mission.
That’s my prayer for us Gospel Coalition types.