The questions we're going to explore in this hour have to do with the issue of evangelical unity across denominational lines. Is the gospel alone really a sufficient foundation for Christian unity? Are all the essential truths of Christian doctrine summed up in the gospelâ€”or are there other essential doctrines besides the gospel that we need to come to full agreement on as well? Where do the authority and sufficiency of Scripture and the doctrine of the Godhead come into play? Does a correct understanding of the gospel automatically include or assume those other truths as well?
Furthermore (assuming for the moment that the gospel does give us sufficient common ground for true unity), who gets to determine how precise and how thorough we need to be in our definition of the gospel? I am convinced the principle of imputed righteousness is essential to a right understanding of the gospel. What if you don't? I believe (with a settled conviction) that the gospel entails the doctrine of penal substitutionary atonement. What if you think that's too narrow a view? Can we still forge any kind of meaningful unity based on whatever leftover scraps of gospel truth we might still agree on? Who gets to decide what constitutes the bare minimum?