Imagine a buffet. See the towering stacks of freshly-washed plates, the orange heat lamps along the expansive stainless steel troughs, the steam rising from the mountains of macaroni and cheese. It’s no stretch to say the most attractive thing about a place like this is the freedom to pick and choose however much (or however little) you want…

For many, the buffet is an institution touting value above all. Where else can you pay one price in exchange for serving-after-handcrafted-serving of whatever flavor your heart desires? It’s easy. It’s deceptively fulfilling, and it requires very little accountability. Station by station, we graze. Selecting entrees and sides and breads and desserts. Maybe you want steak with a side of pizza. Or ten servings of ice cream. Go ahead. No one will stop you.

Now imagine the state of modern Christianity. Instead of apple cobbler and bourbon chicken, your choice is between the many perceived in-roads to salvation. Maybe it’s an hour of worship. Maybe it’s stating your belief in Jesus. Maybe it’s weekly church attendance. Baptism. Communion. Missions. Tithing. Bible study. Outreach. Evangelism. Serving. Teaching. Leading. Curating the perfect Instagram feed to maximize the effectiveness of your testimony. We pick one or a combo based on culture, theology and denomination. We get into this incredible contradiction of loving God and hating our neighbor, claiming to know God and living in sin, preaching to the world and losing our soul.

Do these individual pieces make up the gospel? Absolutely! Can we choose to pick a few and leave the rest? Absolutely not! It’s not a buffet at which we pay one price for self-serve salvation. We don’t simply trade one hour a week for 167 more wherein we despise others, fail our families and communities, think only of ourselves and live utterly detached from God…

In Romans 1-8, Paul lays out a sequence in which we are transformed into new creations. It’s a single, cohesive gospel package. It describes a journey that begins the moment we choose to put our faith in Jesus. We are born again, which leads to a thirst for knowing God. We seek him in his word and then begin to love him more. We spend time with him, which leads to a Spirit- to-spirit communion with him. Our mind is then transformed into the mind of Christ, meaning we think differently about sin, altogether. We crave a life that desires to be like Jesus. Love, compassion, and the Holy Spirit enable us to put our old destructive self to death. Only then do we begin to love our enemies, consider others greater than ourselves and glorify Jesus at home and in the world.

It’s long passed time we knew this gospel truth again. For many decades, the church has ignored its charge to teach and live this integrated and transformative lifestyle. It has segmented the gospel into palatable scoops and bites and servings, instead of approaching it as what it is: all-or-nothing. This is the single greatest challenge facing the Christian church today, and our dream is to address it, head-on. Systematically exposing the deception and reinstating key truths.

In the coming weeks and months, we will provide case-by-case examples of how we deceive ourselves by buying into these segments, in order to self-assess our own weaknesses and learn the truth behind the error. Afterward, we will journey through a critical gospel sequence in order to provide a step-by-step understanding of how the gospel actually works. And finally, we will look deeper into what repentance, salvation, faith and discipleship look like, practically, through the lens of a fully integrated understanding and practice of that gospel.

We do hope you will join us…