Over the past 2 days I’ve read a lot and been part of different conversations regarding the tension of gospel proclamation and gospel demonstration. If those are different ends of a spectrum I’d contend that much of church history is a vacillation between both. The only time we’re truly in balance is when the pendulum is swinging from one extreme to the other. But should it be so?
I was recently in conversation with an associate pastor of a megachurch. When it came to this conversation of proclamation and demonstration he admitted that his church leaned heavily upon proclamation. Not only that, but the church is a self-purported “gospel-centered” church. The tension is … if a church is not living out or demonstrating the gospel is it truly gospel-centered? Can we use that term if we uphold a thin gospel rather a robust gospel? Therein lies the tension.
That also brings up the point of what is good theology? If our theology doesn’t lead to gospel demonstration is it really good theology? Again, tension abounds. I can already hear the pushback and feel the tension. It can and should be warranted. Why? Because we all want to live a life of faithfulness to the One who called us. Part of that journey is growth and maturity along the way as we live into our new reality as sons and daughters of the King. So what does this have to do with Intrepid, startups, and church planting?
Easy … our whole focus and approach is right at the intersection of gospel proclamation and demonstration. A good phrases then is “gospel proclamaction.” It’s living in the center of that tension between proclamation and demonstration or action. That’s why it is essential for us to talk about startups, community and economic development, and social action in the midst of church planting. These are not add-ons to the church planting process but part of the process. Also, they are inseparable. Meaning, they are two parts of the same whole.
Maybe that is the struggle … for many of us in the West / North … we assume that we have a choice. That we can separate and compartmentalize. We don’t have to do both but can can in fact do one and not the other. However, should it really be a choice? While there may be facets of our worldview that allows us to put up these partitions … what if the partitions are actually a fictitious construct?