October 5, 2012
Greetings Canaan EM’ers and friends,
I like donut holes – sometimes! They are convenient and easy to eat. But they don’t provide the full flavor of and offer fewer varieties than a whole donut. Plus, they get hard and crusty when left out too long!
Almost the same can be said about a “donut hole” gospel that so many of us consume. Today’s Christians are infected by a gospel message that is easy to swallow and designed not to challenge how we think and live. If I had not gone to seminary, I may have lost my faith because I was fed up with junk food Christianity.
It was at Eastern Baptist Seminary (near Philadelphia) where I became fully committed to ministry because I learned that the gospel went much deeper intellectually and addressed many more social concerns that I had previously imagined. Even though the name of the seminary has changed to Palmer Theological Seminary, its motto remains the same: “Whole Gospel – Whole World – Whole People.”
Through Professors Ron Sider of Evangelicals for Social Action and Tony Campolo, I learned that my donut hole gospel was not biblical enough, not theologically orthodox enough, not mission-minded enough for a world that desperately needed the Good News of Jesus Christ. Specifically I learned that the core message of the gospel, namely what Jesus Christ did for us on the cross, is incomplete without:
- serving the “least of these” such as strangers, widows and orphans (Matthew 25:31-46, James 1:27)
- loving the neighbor as much as loving God – what Scot McKnight calls “The Jesus Creed” (Mark 12:28-34)
- welcoming the Gentiles into the family of God (Acts 10:1-11:18; Ephesians 2:11-3:6)
So, when I apply the gospel to all of life (including politics, work, education, and family) it is the “whole gospel” that I want to bring to the “whole world” in order to build “whole people.” This is what I hope you hear in my sermons, teaching, and ministry.
“Whole Gospel – Whole World – Whole People.” Are we at Canaan’s English Ministry ready to embrace this approach to living out our faith? In my opinion, we have no choice in the 21st century. The world no longer listens to a “donut hole” gospel message because they know that it is “full of holes.” The world hungers for “whole food” and a genuinely “holy community.” So let us serve the “whole gospel,” my brothers and sisters! Let me know what you think!
Stuff to encourage engagement.
- Scot McKnight teaches New Testament at Northern Baptist Seminary. You can read his reflections on the “Jesus Creed” blog here: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/jesuscreed/
- Palmer Theological Seminary’s website is: http://www.palmerseminary.edu
- Ron Sider and Evangelicals for Social Action website is: http://www.evangelicalsforsocialaction.org
- Tony Campolo’s website: http://www.tonycampolo.org
Sign up to provide refreshments for pre-worship snack time
We especially would like to invite our youth and young adults to provide refreshments. Youth can ask their parents to help them buy their favorite snack items! You (or your parents) will be reimbursed or receive a donation receipt. Sign up at http://bit.ly/emworship12 Contact Deacon James Chang [EMAIL JAMES] for more details.
- On October 21, Ed Chen will lead a second class on “Your Life, Your Choices,” which will discuss decision making. Contact Ed Chen [EMAIL ED] for more information.
- In November, please prepare for the following:
- Our missions committee will be facilitating Operation Christmas Child again. Please prepare to help us collect items to help needy children around the world.
- Our missions committee is planning a Thanksgiving Day outreach lunch. Speak to William Effendy [EMAIL WILLIAM] for more information.
- English Ministry adults are scheduled to serve Sunday lunch. Contact Deacon James Chang [EMAIL JAMES] for more details.
- Pray for me because I’ll be the speaker for Chinese in Christ Church (Milpitas)’s Annual Thanksgiving Church retreat (Nov. 22-24).
See you Sunday!
Tim Tseng 曾 祥 雨 :: PhD
Pastor of English Ministries
Walk Like Disciples!