>Critically important, thanks to KEVIN DEYOUNG
“[I]t is certainly empirically true in history,” writes Richard Lovelace in “Dynamics of Christian Life”:
“that a failure to assert the Trinity and the sacrificial death of Christ has involved a waning of spiritual life in the church, and eventually its extinction” (97). Lovelace goes on to elaborate:
The substitutionary atonement is the heart of the gospel, and it is so because it gives the answer to the problem of guilt, bondage and alienation from God. The earlier this answer can be spelled out in the process of evangelism and nurture, the better. Persons come to Christ initially for a variety of reasons, some of which are eccentric to their principal need for redemption: loneliness, a sense of meaninglessness in the godless life, suffering, fear and so on. Only those are lastingly converted, however, whose eventual motivation is to turn from their sin to God and receive the answer to sin in the work of Jesus Christ: “For everyone who does evil hates the light, and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does what is true comes to the light, that it may be clearly seen that his deeds have been wrought in God.” (Jn. 3:20-21).
Spiritual life results from fellowship with God. But walking in light is essential to fellowship with the Father and the Son. Believers who are truly established in Christ have experienced the shattering of their spheres of of ignorance and darkness by a growing understanding of the nature of God, their sin and God’s provision of grace in Jesus Christ. This darkness can only be destroyed by the presentation of the preconditions of renewal and by the proclamation of the heart of the gospel in depth. (97-98)
Any denominational or ecclesiastical renewal that is not centered on the gospel of Christ’s sacrificial death for sin is bound to be shallow, short-lived, and, in the end, http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=jacksjots-20&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=0802458408&fc1=000000&IS2=1<1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifrcounterproductive.