Many people want to bring more balance to the narrow focus on the individualistic aspects of salvation so prominent in yesterday’s evangelicalism. In some emerging circles there is so much focus on the community and the big story of the Bible that one wonders if individuals are still part of the picture at all. Yes God is shaping a community that will bless those outside it, and yes God is renewing the cosmos, but we also have to confess that Jesus is Lord and believe that God raised him from the dead (Rom 10:9).
Some confessional evangelical pastors, such as Tim Keller and Mark Driscoll, strike a healthy balance between the big story of salvation and renewal and the individual soteriological truths that must be maintained. In his book, The Kingdom of Christ, Dr. Russell D. Moore provides a thoroughgoing foundation for this balance between public and private aspects of the Gospel. Moore writes,
“The Kingdom theology proposed by some in the postwar evangelical movement called for a broader, Kingdom-oriented understanding of soteriology, one that is able to tie personal regeneration to the broader cosmic purposes of God” (The Kingdom of Christ, 81).
Ironically, some who want to emphasize the Kingdom aspects of the cosmic purposes of God assume that in calling for such balance they are denouncing the likes of Moore. We should all take this reality as a call to understand those we would critique before we weigh in against an impression we have of someone that is based firmly in our own imagination.
Another impression that is sometimes bandied about is that when very theological people weigh in on social and political issues they illegitimately politicize the Gospel. It is clear that Moore, however, understands the relationship between Gospel and culture to be mediated through the church. He writes:
“If the Kingdom is to be understood as having a present reality, and that reality is essentially soteriological, then the Kingdom agenda of evangelical theology must focus on the biblical fulcrum of these eschatological, salvific blessings: the church” (The Kingdom of Christ, 129).
I see Moore’s work as foundational for the argument that the best way to engage the culture is to pour oneself into local church health. As born again people walk in holiness in solemn covenant with the Lord and one another, the broader society sees and is served by a display of God’s glory. Much more could be said, but anyone interested in pursuing these issues should avail themselves of Moore’s book, The Kingdom of Christ.