Don’t Be More Gospel-Centered Than Jesus

J. D. Greear opens this conversation with Trevin Wax and Greg Gilbert with a provocative question: If we look back 20 years from now on the growing gospel-centered movement, what might we notice that we neglected?

Watch to see how these three pastors and authors respond. Then join us with comments about the potential blind spots you’ve observed.

Greear notes one especially worth pondering. The point of being gospel-centered is loving the God of the gospel. His Word lays out how we can follow him and grow into Christ-likeness. As Greear explains, “You don’t want to be more gospel-centered than Jesus.”

  • Pingback: Don't Be More Gospel-Centered Than Jesus – The Gospel Coalition … | Gospel Feeds()

  • Pingback: The point of gospel-centredness is loving Jesus « Already Not Yet()

  • TC

    Didn’t really hear how one can be more gospel-centered than Jesus.

    Seems to me if you’re more gospel-centered than Jesus, you’re not gospel-centered.

  • Lev

    JD Greear says in this video (toward the end of the 10th minute) that he has no problem with helping the poor and those sorts of “good works”, he has a problem with why people do them. In other words, he thinks people should do good works only because they love God and not out of any sort of desire to be saved. And that, friends, is why history, whether 20 years from now or on into eternity, will eventually recognize that this movement fell short of the Truth. It only taught half of gospel.

    Evangelical preachers like JD Greear and others preach salvation “through faith alone.” Well, Paul did teach about initial salvation through faith apart from works. See the past tense in passages like Ephesians 2, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith… not by works…” However, Paul also taught about present and future salvation through works. Paul wrote, “Let us not grow weary in doing good, for in due season we shall reap eternal life, if we do not faint, (Gal: 6:8-9), and, “God will repay every man according to his works. To those who seek after glory, honor, and immortality by patiently continuing to do good, [he will repay] eternal life.” (Rom. 2:6-7) Jesus himself said the difference between the sheep (who will have eternal life) and the goats (who will not) was what the *did*. (Matthew 25)

    By ignoring salvation through works, Martin Luther wiped away half of the doctrine of salvation. He taught that James contradicted “true” Scripture by teaching that we are justified by what we do and not by faith alone (James 2:24). Martin Luther, for all the good he did by rejecting Catholic abuse, has also done incredible damage to Christianity and to the gospel, This recent movement is just one of many that have followed in his footsteps.

    • Rob B.

      So our righteous deeds are not filthy rags after all?

      • Lev


        I assume you’re referring to Isaiah 64. Here is the passage with a little more of its context.

        “You come to the help of those who gladly do right… But when we continued to sin against them, you were angry… All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags… like the wind our sins sweep us away. No one calls on your name or strives to lay hold of you…”

        Notice that Isaiah is referring to Israel corporately, and he says they “continued to sin” against God. That alone is the context in which righteous works are filthy rags. See Hebrews 10, “If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left…”

        Many in the evangelical movement strip the “filthy rags” verse out of its context and use it to teach that all righteous works are “filthy” and that faith alone saves. That simply is not true. As I noted above Christ, Paul, and James all taught that righteous works do lead to eternal life when done consistently.

        • Lev

          …. in other words, if I wake up in the morning, lust after my neighbor’s wife, steal his newspaper, cut 5 people off on the way to school, yell insults at the parking attendant for not raising lot’s gate fast enough, give a nickle to a homeless guy on my way to class, cheat on my test, and then lie to my mother about my day when I get home…. that “righteous act” of giving to the homeless was really just a filthy rag in God’s eyes.

          On the other hand, if I had avoided intentional sin throughout the day, that righteous act would be the sort that Paul said leads to eternal life if I continue to grow in love and good works (Gal 6:8-9).

      • Deborah

        Rob B – Lev has left out a very important distinction between the righteousness being spoken of in Isa. and the righteous works of faith spoken about in James. Please read it in context. It is speaking of the Abraham type works of faith. Faith without works is dead. EX: A man is praying for his marriage to be restored. He says to God,”I believe you are going to restore my marriage, thank you Lord, I know you are always faithful.” Then he packs his things just in case God doesn’t come through. His faith in this situation is dead.

        • Deborah

          Rob B – Now lets take a look at sin and righteousness again looking to the man that God called His friend in another situation where he felt his life was in danger. Abraham lied and even asked Sarah to lie, too. “Tell them you’re my sister because they might kill me to have you.” para. Where was his faith then that God would protect him? His works of faith were not in operation. God protected him anyway in His grace and mercy. Abraham still did the same thing again later in life. Where were his works of faith. But God was faithful. We aren’t told if Abraham repented of this sin or if God rebuked him in anyway. Rev. says that no liars will enter heaven and yet we know Abraham was saved. But if we only knew or believed the scripture in Rev. we would have to conclude that Abe didn’t make it. All scripture must be read in context prayerfully asking the Holy Spirit to teach us. Let the Holy Spirit do the job He was sent to do. We only love God because He first loved in us. We have been given the gift of righteousness, Christ’s righteousness, in us. It is only because of this that we can do the good works of God for all our righteousness is as filthy rags. Thankfully, we are saved by faith alone in Christ’s work at the cross. If we have faith in His finished work He is faithful to bring us to the place where we truly remember to walk in the spirit not in the flesh. We come to a place of repentence, we change our minds and come into agreement with God. Our spirit has been made perfect, righteous in Christ with His righteousness. We are left with no excuses, His love, power, all the fruit of the spirit resides in our spirit which is one with His. He doesn’t need our righteous works to save us or forgive us. His work in us was completed at the cross and to think otherwise is a lack of faith in the redemptive power and forgiveness of the cross.

  • Pingback: What I Read Online – 10/12/2011 (a.m.) | Emeth Aletheia()

  • Dan S

    Mentioned only briefly in the beginning of the video, but when I think of “blind spots” for TGC, pride is a big one that comes to mind. I’ll admit, I feel it in myself.

    It’s ironic to me how the conversation starts with blind spots and TGC’s need to move beyond preaching the gospel in a circle to each other. But then that’s exactly how the conversation ends. The conversation moved off talking “blind spots” and oh-so-subtly back to our “sweet spot” of preaching correct theology back and forth to the in-crowd

    • Aaron Darlington

      There is nothing prideful about brothers ending a conversation by glorying in the Christ-exalting truths of Scripture. Another aspect of pride is the unwillingness to show grace.

  • Pingback: Don’t Be More Gospel-Centered Than Jesus | Blogging Theologically | Jesus, Books, Culture, & Theology()

  • Pingback: What Will We Say About the Gospel-Centered Movement in 20 Years? : Kingdom People()

  • Pingback: Don’t Be More Gospel-Centered Than Jesus | Blogging()