Whether or not my assessment of the dangers to the gospel is right or is way off I think we can all acknowledge that there will be threats to the gospel in the future and we need to think now how we, as Christian leaders, work at heading these threats off and killing them before they get out of hand.
Here is what I think we should do:
Be more lovingly confrontational – I see, in Sydney, a lack of eyeball to eyeball theological discussion where people say things like “I have heard you say that. Did I get that right?” or “I think you are wrong on this issue and you need to repent and teach correct doctrine!” Instead of this kind of frank discussion where things come out on the table we generally talk behind peoples backs or we talk at conferences about what these people are believing to be the next “silver bullet.” Now this begs the question have I been lovingly confrontational? To my defence, I think I have confronted the people that I think are guilty of the theological errors I have outlined in the previous three posts. I hope these brothers do come away with the fact that I am concerned about the gospel and not some macho point scoring exercise. Hell is too real, Jesus is too amazing and the truth too precious for stupid school boy games like that. We do need to work hard at being loving as we confront our brothers and sisters who we think have strayed theologically. This is something I have to continue to work on please pray for me in this area.
Be abreast of what is happening theologically outside of Sydney – that means we will have to read books and not just blogs and have to keep our ear to the theological ground. This takes hard work, discipline and time but as shepherds we need to do this crucial work.
Train the next generation of leaders – the trajectories that we are on will not come to flashpoints until ten or twenty years down the track. Therefore it is crucial that we work hard at training the next generation of leaders of the church. But not just train them in how to think about ministry, we need to work hard at training them in how they are to think theologically about theological issues of the day. I am surprised at how few internships in Australia have a significant reading component. As Christian leaders we need to be training up the next generation of Christian leaders. What are you doing to train the next generation of leaders?
I hope I am wrong about the threats to the gospel in Sydney. I hope that Neo-orthodoxy, the New Perspective and the denial of inerrancy don’t make inroads into our churches and therefore corrupt the confidence of our people in the gospel and the scriptures. But I am convinced that the next big threat to Sydney Evangelicalism is not outside of us but the enemy will be found within.