These days, denominations and churches are dividing over whether or not groups are denying the Gospel or ignoring the Cross, or refusing to acknowledge God’s grace. Some church groups (the Evangelical Presbyterian Church, the North American Lutheran Church and my own fellowship, the Anglican Church of North America) have formed as their previous affiliations have made moves that are understood to be denials of Christian orthodoxy, particularly the good news about Jesus. The response, primarily from the reformed world (The Gospel Coalition and Together for the Gospel being some examples of this), has been particularly militant.
I take denying the Gospel very seriously. I was confirmed in the Anglican Church of North America. Their commitment to the good news was one of the big draws. They’re on a mission to plant 1000 churches over five years period. It’s a stand that I fully support. It’s a mission that I’m committed to. But in our determination to stand for the Gospel, I fear we’ve made the Gospel or the Cross the Third Person of the Trinity instead of the Holy Spirit.
Our preaching has been to emphasize the love of God the Father, to send the Son, Jesus, and we are drawn in by the Gospel, we’re comforted by the Cross and reminded of everything Jesus taught us by God’s grace. We’ve allowed the work and attributes of God and the good news about Jesus to displace the Holy Sprit in the way we preach and teach. Friends, we cannot do this. The Gospel is good news because the work of the Holy Spirit brings it to us, assures us of what Jesus has done, and comforts us with the love of the Father. Stand for the Gospel. Be passionate about the good news about Jesus. Never forget or compromise this message that comes from the very heart of God, but never forget that it is the work of God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – that makes the Gospel good news.