We need to beware over-correction

I have been working as a full-time minister of the gospel for about 10 years. Over these 10 years, certain welcome ‘corrections’ to Australian evangelical culture have been on the rise.

But on some of these things it now sounds odd to me for people to be talking about ‘we need to correct against…’. It depends on who the ‘we’ is. If it is the ‘old guard’ or the ‘right wing’ then perhaps. But my concern is that among my peers (ministers in their 30s) we need to also beware of tumbling over to an opposite over-correction. In the 2010s ‘we’ need to beware of an opposite set of dangers.

This is most noticeable outside of Sydney. I think a lot of discussion in Sydney is still directed towards the central powers where the dialogue partner is always someone on the ‘right wing’. But among the younger generations in Sydney and much more elsewhere in the country, ‘we’ need to hear the older corrections again!

The solution is, I think, not to simple re-correct back. Nor is the solution to seek some perfect ‘balance’. Nor is it helpful at all to conflate the two extremes with statements like ‘doing good deeds IS part of preaching the gospel’ and ‘part of teaching the truth faithfully IS conveying its emotional content’. Rather to need is to do some hard thinking and find a synthesis between the insights, that can handle a scale of relative importance.

Here’s a quick list of things we might need to re-emphasise rather than correct against:

  1. Worship is all of life.

  2. The fulfillment of each Old Testament passage is the gospel.

  3. We need to preach the gospel, not simply the implications of the gospel.

  4. We need to recruit Christians to leave their career and serve the gospel full-time.

  5. The word has a priority over good deeds.

  6. In these last days we need to sacrifice current pleasure, happiness, convenient and well-being for the cause of Christ.

  7. There are significant theological and ministry philosophy differences between reformed evangelicals and charismatics.

  8. Christianity is about faith in Christ, not emotional experience.

  9. The fundamental thing about Christian ministry is teaching the Word, not being persuasive, passionate or cultural engaged.

  10. Unity in the gospel trumps denominational partnership.

  11. Others?

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