Tim Keller is the Senior Pastor of Redeemer Prebyterian Church in New York City. He has become a leading light among reformed evangelicals, and a personal hero of mine. His theology is impecable, his character is admirable, his leadership is effective, his demeanor is humble, and he is filled with the Spirit of God. He was one of the main presenters at the Gospel Coalition Conference last week, and I think I'll just dump my raw notes on you! They will not do him justice, but they will give you the gist of his message from 1 Peter 1-2.
By the way, in mid-June you should be able to download all of the presentations from this conference for free at www.thegospelcoalition.org. This is thanks to Mark Driscoll and his tech team from Mars Hill Church in Seattle, Washington, who donated both the equipment and the labor to make this possible. Thanks, Mark!
According to Tim Keller, the gospel is...
Historical: there is a difference between advice and news. Advice is counsel, the latter is objective reality. The gospel is news. Every other religion is sending advice, Christianity is sending good news. This implies that declarative preaching is irreplaceably central to the gospel. See C. S. Lewis, Studies in Words.
Doxological: the design of the gospel is to bring people into a life of worship! Since all sin is anti-worship, right-worship is the proper corrective for sin. This implies that the ultimate purpose of preaching is not just to make truth clear but to make it real. It must be clear, but it must also be vivid. The purpose of preaching is to make truth live!
Christocentric: The basic subject of every sermon ought to be Jesus. Only in Christ can we do what the Bible is calling us to do. Preach not just the gospel, but the Christ who is the gospel.
Personal and Individual: You cannot make yourself a Christian, you have to be born into Christianity.
Cultural: the gospel creates a new culture called the church. 1 Pet 2:12. The radical gospel turns us into a counter-culture for the common good. We know we’re there when some glorify God because of our good works, and others persecute us for the very same things.
Massively Transforming: the gospel radically effects all of life.
Wonderful: 1 Pet 1.12. Angels long to look into these things. Even though they are super-intelligent, eternal, spiritual beings, they never tire of the gospel!