Endangered Gospel

John C. Nugent

This website it dedicated to promoting John C. Nugent's book Endangered Gospel: How Fixing the World is Killing the Church.

Preaching Before Elections

I visited several churches last weekend as part of a class trip with Great Lakes Christian College. I was impressed overall with how they handled the election. There was no party promotion, whether subtle or overt. There were no signs of panic—only trust in God and his coming kingdom. That said, I would remove one thing from what I heard and then add one thing.

I would remove the word “ultimate.” It is true that our ultimate trust is in God. But using that language leaves the door open for our penultimate trust to be in our rulers. Why not just say that we trust God and we don’t trust human rulers? Adding the world “ultimate” doesn’t strengthen that statement; it weakens it.

Missing from both presentations was the nowness of God’s kingdom. We shouldn’t get hung up on elections not only because the kingdom to come will replace them all, but because (a) God’s kingdom has already begun in Jesus, (b) we have already entered into that kingdom and currently enjoy the stability and abundance of God’s kingdom people, and (c) the old orders of this world have already begun to pass away.

The candidates in this election have certainly made a spectacle of themselves in ways that are painfully obvious to everyone. But, as Christians, we confess that 2000 years ago, Christ already disarmed the rulers and authorities and made a spectacle of them, triumphing over them in the cross (Col 2:15). And we embrace our God-given role to make known to the rulers and authorities God’s wisdom in its rich variety through the witness of the church’s life together (Eph 3:9-10).

Bonhoeffer Anticipates Endangered Gospel

"It is the great mistake of a false Protestant ethic to assume that loving Christ can be the same as loving one’s native country, or friendship or profession, that the better righteousness and civil justice are the same. Jesus does not talk that way. What is Christian depends on the ‘extraordinary.’ That is why Christians cannot conform to the world… What does the extraordinary consist of? It is the existence of those blessed in the Beatitudes, the life of the disciples. It is the shining light, the city on the hill. It is the way of self-denial, perfect love, perfect purity, perfect truthfulness, perfect nonviolence. Here is undivided love for one’s enemies, loving those who love no one and whom no one loves. . . . It is the love of Jesus Christ himself, who goes to the cross in suffering and obedience. It is the cross. What is unique in Christianity is the cross, which allows Christians to step beyond the world in order to receive victory over the world." (Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works in English 4: 144-5, with Latin phrases translated)

How We Witness

"Our life together should be a sign and a foretaste of God’s new creation. It is the place where God’s new world is most visible in the here and now. If we cannot order our own lives according to God’s kingdom, we have no business telling others how to reorder theirs." (Endangered Gospel, 13)

Publication Date

Lot's of people have been asking when Endangered Gospel will be available in print. The sure answer is that it will be in print by August. It has to be, since a couple of colleges will be using it as a textbook. However, the cover is now done and the text is mostly set. I think all that remains is an index. So it is possible the book will be released sooner. I will certainly keep you posted on this website!