Released in February 2012, The Gospel as Center edited by Keller and Carson is the compilation of all the Gospel Coalition Pamphlets. This book is an excellent resource for sound doctrine and theology. The content is especially valuable to Church's who are now updating and reviewing their own doctrinal statements. You see, as culture develops/devolves it becomes necessary for the Christian community to respond to the changes in culture and articulate that response through the Church's dogma.
For instance, many churches do not have an articulated view on marriage, manhood, womanhood, sexuality because until very recent times their has been an understood and accepted perspective and practice pertaining to these issues. However, the culture we live in has redefined the social and moral norms for many of these prior mentioned lifestyles. Thus, church's need a resource like the Gospel As Center as a litmus test for their own doctrinal statement. Church's will be able to look at their own doctrinal statement and measure to see if it covers all the essentials that the Gospel As Center covers. Likewise, it could be that a Church has held some non-essentials as essentials. It is helpful to compare ones doctrinal statement to such a carefully articulated statement like the one assembled in this book, the Gospel As center, so that a Church body might determine if they have too narrowed the doctrinal expectations that define their biblical community.
Clearly, I highly recommend this resource as a valued doctrinal source for biblical community.
The Gospel As Center contains papers on the following individual topics:
1. Gospel Centered Ministry; D. A. Carson and Timothy Keller
2. Can We Know the Truth; Richard D. Phillips
3. The Gospel as Scripture: How to Read the Bible; Mike Bullmore
4. Creation; Andrew M. Davis
5. Sin and Fall; Reddit Andrews III
6. The Plan; Colin S. Smith
7. What is the Gospel; Bryan Chapell
8. Christ's Redemption; Sandy Wilson
9. Justification; Philip Graham Ryken
10. The Holy Spirit; Kevin DeYoung
11. The Kingdom of God; Stephen Um
12. The Church: God's New People; Tim Savage
13. Baptism and the Lord's Supper; Thabiti Anyabwile and J. Ligon Duncan
14. The Restoration of All Things; Sam Storms
One of the beauties of the Gospel As Center is that the individual writers add their individual flavor of writing style and emphasis as they cover their doctrinal topic. Anecdotes are blended in with the heavy doctrinal points giving the mind some break from the deep concepts expounded.
It would prove tedious for me to discuss in detail each of the chapters of this wonderful work. However, I will give a brief sampling of quotes that I gleaned from this resource. These quotes point not only to the distinct style of writting but the unique continuity in purpose of making the gospel central to Christian dogma.
In Richard Phillips chapter on Can We Know the Truth, he comments, "God created the world to display his glory, and he created humans to know him and reflect his glory."
Colin Smith writes on his chapter, The Plan, "Redeeming sinners from all nations through Jesus Christ was God's plan from the beginning."
Bryan Chapell says, "God the Father anointed Jesus to be his special envoy to provide his holiness for humanity."
Sandy Willson states, "The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the crowning event of all God's mighty works of redemption" and later says, "He ascended to the right hand of God, forever safe, forever secure, forever happy, forever King."
These four quotes selected from four separate chapters emphasize the unique theological continuity within this work. This work directly points to God's glory in Christ's suffering and resurrection for the rescuing of humanity.
I cannot recommend this book more to you. Finally, I would like to thank Band of Bloggers for providing the e-book version of this resource to attendees for free during this year's Band of Bloggers panel and luncheon at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
View more book reviews by Joey Cochran at jtcochran.com.The Gospel as Center: Renewing Our Faith and Reforming Our Ministry Practices (The Gospel Coalition)