By Joy Allmond
Is it possible to grow up in an evangelical church and never hear—let alone understand—the gospel?
Matt Chandler says yes.
He’s met numerous people who have lived this scenario. Ironically, he became aware of these stories through the testimonies of those being baptized where he pastors in the heavily churched Dallas, Texas, area.
Chandler tells the story of how these discoveries reignited his passion for gospel centrality in “The Gospel at the Center,” a free webcast released today by The Gospel Project. The webcast explores more than 20 different aspects of a gospel-centered culture as it examines how the gospel shapes the culture of the whole church.
Chandler’s topic, “Holding Fast to the Gospel,” speaks to the ability of the gospel not only to save us from condemnation but also to keep us faithful and give us the desire to follow Christ and keep his commands—as a result of our salvation, not as a condition of it.
“I remember thinking, ‘How is it possible to grow up in church your whole life and then say, “ I never heard the gospel?” Surely these people are hearing, but not hearing.’”
After further conversations, Chandler discovered that some people literally had never heard the gospel: that the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus provide forgiveness of all sins—past, present, and future.
More shocking to Chandler was how many had heard moralism—packaged as the gospel.
“They heard, ‘You’d better not watch rated R-movies, and you’d better not listen to secular music,” he says. “It was this form of moralism that really robbed them of the energy and vitality of what we see in the Bible.”
Anchoring his message in 1 Corinthians 15, Chandler says, “In it, we see the gospel saves us; then it also sustains us and informs every aspect of where we are and what we’re currently in. And it holds us for the future.”
This chapter, Chandler says, is a “hinge point” where Paul has discussed sexual immorality, marriage, and how to worship together—but then tells us how the gospel has not only saved us but now informs how we live and approach issues like this.
“The gospel bids us to get back up and keep pursuing Jesus despite how many times we fall to the ground,” he says.
Other speakers in “The Gospel at the Center” webcast include Jen Wilkin, Trevin Wax, Nancy Guthrie, and Dhati Lewis.
- Why Church Members Need the Gospel Too
- Recovering Redemption: Q&A With Matt Chandler
- Crushing the Lie of Moralism
- 3 Questions to Help See Jesus in the Old Testament
JOY ALLMOND (@JoyAllmond) is managing editor of Facts & Trends.