I want to be a gospel-centered parent. I mean, being gospel centered is good. Essential. Biblical. Colossians 1:18 says And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.
If you grew up without the foundation of the gospel, without understanding that the gospel influences every part of our life (not merely our salvation), then you might feel a special kinship with those who make the connection repeatedly, and often. In recent years, gospel-centered teaching has grown in popularity and prominence. I have appreciated the emphasis, and the reminders. At our church in San Antonio, we have communion every Sunday evening, and I have enjoyed the frequency of meditating on the gospel in this way. It has also been good for me to consider the relationship between the gospel and parenting.
Yet, I feel uneasy with the apparent assumption that all biblical teaching must make the connection between the gospel and biblical truth. I’ve not been able to articulate why I feel uneasy with the emphasis on all things gospel centered, and it seems spiritually stupid to object to the popular gospel-centered vocabulary. Nevertheless, I see some common hasty assumptions that are problematic, and it seems equally spiritually stupid to ignore them.
If a book or speaker or lesson does not refer to the gospel in a particular discussion, we should not conclude on this basis alone that the book, speaker, or lesson is not gospel-centered. (It might indeed be man centered, but not necessarily.) Not everyone uses the same vocabulary. In fact, I can be gospel centered without ever using the term. We also must keep in mind that the gospel is a foundational truth that may not always be visible in a discussion (even though a biblical conversation will always be undergirded with the gospel). I think it’s because we all operate on certain presuppositions. I believe that God exists. It is a part of the very fabric of my own life. Likewise, I grew up with a gospel-centered home and gospel-centered parents. So when I sit down to consider the gospel in my life, I can see the connection throughout, but I also see that the gospel is so much a part of me that I don’t always articulate the connection.
Today I was encouraged to read Paul talk about leaving the discussion of the gospel to discuss something else. In doing so, he was not denigrating the gospel. Of course the gospel is the foundation of more theology, and ultimately the practical, but it is cumbersome to keep reminding my audience that everything relates back to the gospel. Suffice it to say, the gospel permeates everything. Enjoy making those connections. Meditate on it. Talk about it. But don’t be afraid of moving on to the next lesson. And don’t be critical when you don’t hear the familiar vocabulary that makes you feel at ease.
Therefore let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, Hebrews 6:1