5 copy price £8.02
10 copy price £7.80
25 copy price £7.36
100 copy price £7.14
Just because you go to church doesn’t mean that you are exposed (or exposing others) to the gospel explicitly. Sure, most people talk about Jesus, and about being good and avoiding bad, but the gospel message simply isn’t there—at least not in its specificity and its fullness.
Inspired by the needs of both the overchurched and the unchurched, and bolstered by the common neglect of the explicit gospel within Christianity, popular pastor Matt Chandler writes this punchy treatise to remind us what is of first and utmost importance—the gospel.
Here is a call to true Christianity, to know the gospel explicitly, and to unite the church on the amazing grounds of the good news of Jesus!
Challenging book, that makes you think about how you view God. Well worth a read
The Explicit Gospel is two things: a call for the Gospel to be the conscious centre of our lives and the lives of our churches and an overview of what, exactly, that explicit gospel is. Chandler's approach is to look at the gospel from two perspectives - which he describes as "from the ground" (i.e. the gospel message to me as an individual in need of salvation) and "from the air" (i.e. the gospel story of how God is recreating the universe with Christ as Lord). He then outlines the dangers of overemphasising one or other of these dimensions of the gospel. I must admit that when I looked at the contents page and say the chapter headings (Part One: God, man, Christ, response and Part Two: Creation, Fall, Redemption, Consummation) my heart sank. "Oh no, another book that is only being published because a celebrity pastor is repeating stuff someone else has said before." might sum up my cynical response. But I was wrong. Although there is nothing strictly original in Chandler's presentation of the two perspectives the way he connects them together is the great achievement of the book. When you get to the end you are both grateful for the amazing work of Christ for you as a person and for the cosmic achievements of Christ for the whole of creation. It is the interconnectedness of the two perspectives which makes the book, if not unique, then at least fresh and original and very well worth buying and reading. Some details... Stuff I liked Chandler uses a wide range of quotations and stories which are almost universally well chosen. We engage with Calvin, Augustine, N. T. Wright, Lewis, Tolkein and many more. They are interesting without being overwhelming and intelligent without being academic. There is a lot of Bible in this book without either proof-texting or merely stringing together a chain of quotations. You come away feeling satisfied that the theology he outlines is thoroughly biblical and that he has argued the case well. The book is exceptionally readable - well constructed sentences, broken up with good stories, sensible lengths of chapters. Although it's not short (231pp) I read it in four hours straight and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. There are some lovely turns of phrase. I especially enjoyed "We carry an insidious prosperity gospel around in our dark, little, entitled hearts." It's really clear that there is a difference between blessings in this life (which are great) and eternity (which is infinitely more). This is perhaps made more poignant by the fact that Chandler has had a brain tumour and, statistically, doesn't have a very good prognosis. "It is better never to hold my children, never to run my fingers through my wife's hair, it is better not to be able to brush my own teeth... it is better to have stage III anaplastic oligodendroglioma than to find myself outside the kindgom of God." Chandler is particularly good on the sovereignty of God and the purpose of both my life and the universe to glorify him without ever losing the sense of God's real, heartfelt and passionate love for his creatures and his people. Stuff I didn't like Chandler is very clear that the blessings of God in this life are real and great blessings. And he is really clear that Christians should do all sorts of good in the world. But his approach to the church doing good in the world is a bit too much like De Young and Gilbert's in "What is the mission of the church" - a book that understands "church" rather too narrowly. At times the naivety of being a citizen of the world' dominant power seeps through. So we're told that "in order to rule the world at that time, one needed to wield a lot of fear." Something that many millions in the world would sty is still the case today but exercised by drones and smart bombs rather than crosses. The section on creation seems to me a little confused and not as well thought out theologically as the rest of the book. The argument that the concept of evolution violates the second law of thermodynamics is an unusual departure from the intelligent argument of the book as a whole. Even in this section though the conclusions are helpful and sound. Tim Keller has done us all a great service by drawing to wider attention the usefulness of idolatry as a biblical paradigm for sin that connects with our culture. Chandler (and others) however go further and see idolatry as perhaps the major way of describing sin. Although I wouldn't go as far as John Stevens in saying that rebellion against God is a more biblical understanding of sin (see his excellent blog post here) I think we need to appreciate all the Bible's range of ways of talking about sin as Don Carson points out in this excellent little Gospel Coalition video. All these are minor quibble however. This is a really good book that deserves a wide audience, Matt Chandler deserves our thanks for giving it to us and Christ our praise for giving Chandler to his church. More reviews at www.andysstudy.com
Total Price: £1.99