Here’ s the link to the two-page article by Collin Hansen at Christianity Today.

Its no surprise to my readers where I fall down on this one, I think both Tim Keller and NT Wright capture more acurately just what the gospel is and what that means for the church as to how it relates to the public square.

The gospel is not only about the death of Jesus covering personal sins and the forgiveness and reconciliation that death means for individuals in their relationship to God, BUT IS ALSO about the eschatological renewal of all things in the Son. This renewal has begun already in his resurrection but is not yet finished because he has not returned in his glory to fulfill his Kingdom labors

Hansen is dead on when he asks these questions “Is God’s plan to renew creation part of the gospel message? If so, is it the center of the gospel or a peripheral component of the Good News? “and then says, “Again, how you answer these questions affects how you will live, and how you will expect fellow church members to act.” We as Jesus disciples enter his mission only as we come to grips with the gospel’s meaning for ourselves, our neighbors, and creation itself. As Keller noted in the article when the eschatological element of the gospel is left out people start getting the impression that this world doesn’t matter.

Here’s the notable qoutes from Hansen’s article that lay out the three ways these men suggest the gospel should work in the public square through the churches mission;

NT WRIGHT: the mission of the church is nothing more or less than the outworking, in the power of the Spirit, of Jesus’ bodily resurrection. It is the anticipation of the time when God will fill the earth with his glory, transform the old heavens and earth into the new, and raise his children from the dead to populate and rule over the redeemed world he has made.”

MARK DEVER:According to Dever, Christians must never confuse implications of the gospel with the gospel itself. “The gospel that has been committed to us is the Christian message that Jesus has died in the place of sinners in order to reconcile them to God,” Dever said. “That gospel has been uniquely entrusted to the church, and thus it must remain the center of our message and our mission.”

TIM KELLER: Through the person and work of Jesus Christ, God fully accomplishes salvation for us, rescuing us from the judgment for sin into fellowship with him, and then restores the creation in which we can enjoy our new life together with him forever.”

I really appreciated the way Hansen closed his piece, instead of saying oh no here’s comes the end of unity even on things like the gospel between say Reformed Baptists like Mark Dever and Presbyterians like Tim Keller, Hansen says;

Since at least the late 19th century, evangelicals have struggled to strike this balance. Fundamentalists blamed modernists for shrouding the gospel in social garb. Carl Henry led an evangelical movement by calling for renewed application of the gospel to the world’s social ills. Billy Graham and John Stott disagreed over the proper balance. We may not solve these questions in our day, either. But to ask them is to engage in a defining evangelical practice.

 (Photographric art by KaZiSch, piece entitled “A Higher Love“) HT: Justin Taylor

UPDATE: Here’s Tim Keller’s thoughts over in a blog chain at NewCityPres

Tim Keller Says:
May 3rd, 2008 at 9:14 am

Bryce and Tullian–I would add that at the end of Psalm 96 you see the trees of the wood (and all the material creation) singing and clapping (renewed) because the Lord has returned to judge the earth (v.13.) So judgment can’t be thought of only as negative (punishing) but as positive (renewing) too. There’s a tendency for the liberal evangelicals to only talk of the last day in positive terms and conservative evangelicals to only talk about it in negative terms. It’s both/and.