Ironically in a day when I blogged about the 5 marks of mission. Mark Dever released a blog from his “9 Marks” site, which included the following, under the heading
What are some messages that people falsely claim are the gospel?
Jesus came to transform society. Some people believe that Jesus’ mission was to transform society and bring justice to the oppressed through a political revolution. But the Bible teaches that this world will only be made right when Jesus comes again and ushers in a new heaven and new earth (2 Thess. 2:9-10,Rev. 21:1-5). The gospel is fundamentally a message about salvation from the wrath of God through faith in Christ, not the transformation of society in this present age.
This relates to The distinction that Don Carson was trying to make between the gospel and it’s entailments and also to Dever’s opposition to social transformation as part of the church’s mission. I have got so many problems with this idea. It looks like Dever is saying that the gospel is only about individuals fleeing the judgement of God and not about what Christ calls his disciples to do. Carson wants to argue that (maybe) an entailment of the gospel but not the gospel itself. At least Carson argued the entailments were not optional extras. Dever wants to draw a big line between conversion and discipleship – emphasising what we are saved from – but not saying what we were saved to. There instead seems to be a dualistic desire to see personal conversion and individual escape from Hell as the sole extent the church’s mission. Dever’s church is ironically on Capitol hill in Washington DC. It puts Martin Luther King, William Wilberforce, Lord Shaftesbury (not to mention the Lausanne Covenant) the wrong side of orthodoxy. It also puts Jesus’ manifesto in Luke 4, his command to his church to be salt and light and the early church’s insistence that Jesus was the true King / Caesar the wrong side of the gospel too.
I find this disappointing as Dever is a man who loves the scriptures, has a passion to preach the whole of the Bible and is a thoughtful a godly and kind man as far as I have had interaction with him. But in his post he puts belief in the church’s role in bringing social transformation alongside the prosperity gospel as a heresy.
What do you think motivates Dever’s opposition to social transformation?