To Bound or Not To Bound?


Earlier in the week, I posted some excerpts from The Gospel Coalition’s Confessional Statement and Theological Vision for Ministry. Today, I pulled one more piece from the site that I thought was very insightful. Here at VI, we take theology very seriously. To be clear, we believe that your theology does not save you, only God through our risen savior Jesus Christ saves. However, we do believe the Bible is truth and that there are absolute truths to God. The study and belief set of these truths is called theology.

But just how important is theology? How much time and effort should we put into clarifying what we, personally or as a church (VI/Grace), precisely believe?

The Gospel Coalition takes the approach to clarify (in their Confessional Statement and Theological Statement for Ministry) exactly what they (and their members) believe. Here is their reasoning for doing so…

…The Gospel Coalition is what mathematicians would call “a center-bounded set.” In other words, we are not a “boundary set.” If we were a “boundary set” we would nail down the outer limits of who is “in” and who is “out,” who is “with us” and who is “against us” or at least apart from us. The tendency of boundary sets is to enlarge the tent to make it as big as possible, while diluting the content to the thinnest gruel so that as few as possible are excluded. The downside is that pretty soon there are scores of things no one is allowed to talk about because those within the boundaries have agreed that the only requirement for being “in” is this lowest-common-denominator set of beliefs or principles. By contrast, as a center-bounded set the Coalition has adopted Foundation Documents that are theologically robust and a vision of things we hold to be both faithful to the Bible and pastorally important in our day. At that point, our leaders will be tough-minded and frankly and joyfully confessional, even while we acknowledge that many people will interact with us at various levels of agreement and disagreement, using some of our material, not using other parts of it, not having to decide exactly who is “in” and “out.” …

So, what do you guys think? How important is it to clarify your theology? Should we as a church be a “boundary set” or a “center-bounded set”?




Filed under Uncategorized

2 responses to “To Bound or Not To Bound?

  1. christophergonzalez

    Center-bounded, but notice how they make really clear what the center is: “Documents that are theologically robust and a vision of things we hold to be both faithful to the Bible and pastorally important in our day.”

  2. viministry

    Ya, agreed. I think the hardest question to answer is… what do we include in the center and what do we not. In other words, what beliefs do we protect with a tightly closed fist and what beliefs to we take a more open handed approach to.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s