The Gospel of Jesus Christ is powerful. It can miraculously humble hostile and defiant hearts. It can turn enemies of God into loyal citizens of God’s government. The message of the arrival of God’s Kingdom among men and the demand of unconditional surrender or repentance is as transformational today as it was when Jesus first announced it.
The Gospel includes the forgiveness of God. Jesus turned his rejection and murder into the means of satisfying the judgement we all face. He literally took our place, died our death, bore our guilt, and paid for our pardon. He opened a way for a human race that rejects God’s leadership to return and accept Him both as rescuer and King.
If the reign of God is permitted in an individual heart, He transforms that person. If the reign of God is welcomed in a family, He creates wholeness and relational health. If the reign of God is invited to a city or a nation, all which is dark and painful becomes bright and hopeful. The Gospel can and will revolutionize a rebellion-cursed society. It will radically renovate a culture. The Gospel civilizes. It humanizes. It harmonizes. It heals. But, it must be the Gospel of Jesus:unaltered, unedited, and uncensored!
The evangelical culture of western Christianity has made a terrible mistake. The Gospel has been modified to remove its confrontational offense. Instead of being presented as God’s return to power, it is presented as man’s return to paradise. A
benefits-based salvation and a need -meeting savior are attractive but powerless.
The verdict is in. All the polls and studies and statistical surveys are telling us what we already know. Today’s Gospel simply does not transform. The popular evangelical Gospel avoids the fact that the redeeming Lamb of God is sitting at the right hand of God on the throne of God. It removes bowing from believing and robs faith of repentance.
What you are about to read is a case study of a church that has broken stride with the trends and fads of the day in which we live. Northshore Baptist Church in Bothell, Washington is living proof that the Kingdom Gospel of Jesus still has amazing transformational power. This community of Christ followers is a work in progress. As the number who are choosing a process of surrender to Jesus continues to grow, the effect on the entire group is breathtaking. A glory of authentic Christ-likeness is released. An irresistible influence is generated.
Transformed people transform their communities. They modify culture even as they multiply themselves. A missional church such as Northshore surges out into its immediate life circle and beyond. It is purposeful. It is productive.
Next comes a multiplication movement. Transformed people living in community reproduce. They engage the culture and serve the cities in which they live. This multiplication is a God ordained, God dependent, God directed phenomenon.
ou will read about the direct connection between the retooling of a church with the original gospel and the resulting explosion of transformation and multiplication. There is nothing new or profound about this idea. It is what has always happened when the reign of God is connected directly to the love of God, when the supremacy of Christ is the strongest ingredient of God’s saving grace.
This living model is no mere theological theory. It is vital truth incarnated in imperfect humanity. This church under the magnifying glass is not fiction. These people live out their transformation in one of the world’s great cities. If the way Jesus designed and delivered His Gospel is honored, if it is trusted and left intact, then the driving New Testament values of transformation and multiplication will reappear in the churches where they are now only cherished memories.