Some Critical and Personal Thoughts on the Theology Offered by The Gospel Coalition a essay written by The Evangelical Calvinist
Posted on April 1, 2019
What is it about The Gospel Coalition that I don’t like? For starters, I’m not a fan of coalitions that use the language of the Gospel to modify them; it makes it seem as if they have the corner on the Gospel, and anyone who might disagree with their presentation is probably not an orthodox Christian. I don’t like the notion of “coalition” because it starts to function like a monopolizing corporation wherein all other comers, if they want to be part of the movement, need to sign onto the mission and confession statement to be included. Indeed, this is the effect it is producing among the many evangelical churches out there. TGC, because of its breadth have church resources, and packages for various programs for local churches to easily implement into the body life of their respective churches. But what has come along with that is the attending theology that funds TGC. Now, this might not pose a problem for many pastors and ministries out there, but I think it has indeed had a homogenizing effect; such that many churches and pastors who weren’t necessarily Calvinistic previously, have now become so. In fact, I personally know of more than one pastor out there where this is the case. Indeed, I think this was the desired hope to begin with; i.e. to introduce Calvinist theology into churches wheretofore this sort of theology was not necessarily on tap at the various evangelical churches. It has had an amazing impact over at least the last decade; the growth has been exponential, and people who never would have been open to Calvinist theology previously (say like at churches like Calvary Chapels) are now full-fledged Calvinists (or they’re at least on the way).
Clearly, not all evangelical churches have given into the machine known as The Gospel Coalition; I mean there are a variety of self-conscious Arminian and other sorts of churches out there. But this is the problem, at least for me personally. Movements like TGC have largely co-opted the conservative evangelical movement. In other words, if you want to be intentionally doctrinally oriented in your church, and you’re looking for resources in that direction, the only place really going is TGC (and like conference oriented movements). On the other hand, we have many evangelical churches, clearly, which are still stuck in the 80s and 90s focusing on church growth, being relevant, meeting felt needs types of churches. But this is the dilemma for us evangelicals out here who don’t want either of these alternatives. This obviously is not TGC fault, per se, but their ‘coalition’ model has helped contribute to this sort of polarity in the evangelical world. Of course, they think they are offering a really good product to the churches; they believe they do indeed have a corner on what the orthodox and Protestant Gospel actually entails; they think the 16th and 17th centuries of the Protestant Post Reformation Reformed orthodox developments offer the best footing forward for the evangelical churches. But I don’t agree!( Read more...Collapse )