As you read, bear in mind that the statement is not intended to be a detailed confession of faith that outlines an entire theological system. It does reflect and express the deep structures of Christian doctrine, and its order is significant. But we’re not trying to nail down every point. (You’ll notice nothing about baptism, for example, or church polity.) Nor are we simply trying to draw a circle around correct doctrine in order to identify the false alternatives, although it is important that the statement does that to an extent.
What we really want to do is propose a Bible-based agenda for evangelical thinking, character and ministry. We want to see these truths run and prosper because we think they are the central and most important ones. Evangelicals will inevitably disagree on many secondary things not contained in this statement, but can we agree not only on the content of these statements, but on their centrality? Can we spend the bulk of our time on these issues and their outworking, rather than other more peripheral concerns?
Gospel Convictions has six categories:
1. The truth and centrality of the gospel of Jesus, the crucified and risen Christ.
2. The necessity of the indwelling work of the Holy Spirit to initiate and enable repentance and faith.
3. The assurance of salvation that belongs to those who have been justified by the blood of Jesus and sealed by his Spirit.
4. The authority and sufficiency of the God-breathed Scriptures for gospel truth and life.
5. The tension of gospel living in the world today.
6. The urgency of gospel living in the world today.
And what’s the hope for such a statement of faith? Tony writes,
We hope that this Gospel Convictions statement will be a useful resource and rallying point for evangelicals—a statement of foundational convictions that we can agree on and that can form the basis for cooperation and teamwork in gospel ministry. Our prayer is that it will not only serve to unite evangelicals in common convictions, but also to galvanize them to common commitment and action for the gospel.
For more information, visit www.gospelconvictions.com, where you can read, examine, provide feedback on the draft and (in early 2010) sign the finalized statement.
In the meantime, if you’d like a free sample of The Briefing (one of my top periodicals) click here.