"Where's the kaboom? There was supposed to be an earth-shattering kaboom?" –Marvin Martian

Dever on “the gospel”

I’m on a little bit of thin ice by posting this without having watched the video myself, but I’m going to go strictly on the merits of the summary. Over on Out of Ur, there’s a video and summary posted of Ed Stetzer interviewing Mark Dever about the renewed interest among evangelicals in the “larger gospel” – i.e. the McKnight/NTW view.

Dever, of course, thinks that this is very dangerous because it risks deemphasizing personal evangelism. But Dever is surprisingly forthright here. Per the summary:

1. He admits that the word gospel is used in Scripture to mean more than “God-man-Christ-response.” He recognizes that it refers to the “restoration of all things.” In this regard he is in agreement with scholars like Scot McKnight who have challenged the narrow definition of gospel in the evangelical tradition.

2. But Dever worries that focusing on this biblical definition of gospel will diminish our focus on individual salvation and evangelism. So,

3. He wants us to rely on a “systematic” idea of what gospel means based on a “long tradition of reflection” that emphasizes the individual redemption of people rather than the cosmic restoration of all things.

Now maybe I’ll update my thoughts when I’ve actually watched the video, but from the summary I’m rather surprised that Dever would so bluntly say that he knows that the Bible means something more broad by “the gospel”, but that he doesn’t think we should emphasize that because it might not result in his desired ends.

Anybody else have thoughts on this? Is Dever now telling us that we should put (his) theological tradition ahead of Scripture?