One of the books I have chosen to read this year is a book on how the gospel is lived out in everyday church life. One of our goals at Grand is to see the gospel not only shape our worship services but shape every ministry in the church and also create a gospel-DNA in the life of the relationships in our church.
One of the pastors who has greatly shaped my thinking on this is Ray Ortlund, Jr. Ray is retired now but still writes and speaks. He has co-authored a book with his longtime pastoral friend, Sam Allberry. Ortlund and Allberry argue that it is not enough to simply have gospel-doctrine, but you must also have gospel-culture. They say many churches are able to have gospel-doctrine but never achieve gospel-culture. Then there are other churches that have gospel-culture, but it is not built on gospel-doctrine, so the foundation is weak and fragile.
The key is to have both gospel-doctrine and gospel-culture working together. The goal is for gospel-doctrine to create gospel-culture. According to Ortlund and Allberry, this takes time and commitment to biblical fidelity over popular church fads and perseverance and strength as the church swims against the current of attractional models of church and ministry and the still ever-popular seek-sensitive models of worship and ministry.
Brothers and sisters, let’s hold to our gospel-doctrine because we are gradually seeing gospel-culture flourish in our church body. It takes time, years even and it can be all the more challenging if we compare ourselves to other churches that seem successful at the moment. Let’s see our gospel-doctrine create the DNA of gospel-culture in our church and not be swayed by popular ministry.
Ortlund and Allberry quote the Apostle Paul in the first chapter when Paul said to the Galatian church in Galatians 2:5, “To them we did not yield in submission even for a moment, so that the truth of the gospel might be preserved for you.” May we be brave and persevere in the application of the gospel not only in our personal lives and families but also in our church.
I hope you will take the time to read You’re Not Crazy by Ray Ortlund and Sam Allberry. Here’s where you can find this book in print:
Amazon – $17.99
Westminster Books – $13.99
Christianbooks.com – $13.49
You’re Not Crazy Podcast – Free on your favorite podcast platform