Monday, June 7, 2010

Why is the Gospel Controversial?

Just finished Greg Gilbert's little book, What Is the Gospel? (9marks). This short book lays out the gospel in all its glory. His premise is significant. We need this book because most Christians are confused, or substantially ill informed about the Gospel.

What Is the Gospel? (9marks)D.A. Carson, professor of theology at Trinity Evangelical Divinity school, notes in the introduction, that the subject most apt to provoke argumentation and disagreement between his students is the gospel. We are talking about conservative graduates students studying theology. How could this be? The gospel is the most basic fact about Christianity. Supposedly, it is the non-negotiable bottom line, the one fact upon which all Christians agree.

The author notes a similar phenomenon at the Nine Marks website. The subject most apt to provoke spirited debate is not the timing of baptism, church government, the meaning of the sacraments, or the millennium. It is the gospel! And again, this is between mostly conservative, evangelical readers. This concern prompted this book...

Gilbert writes well. With winsome anecdotes and straightforward prose he demonstrates why the gospel stumbles believers and unbelievers. Before one can understand the Good News he must be prepped with the Bad News. God created us. We owe him an accounting. Sin is cosmic treason. A Day of Judgment approaches. We cannot work our way out of this problem. We are all in trouble, and human ingenuity or cleverness will not solve the problem.  For these reasons and more that gospel is inherently offensive. It cuts directly across the grain of our proud, fallen culture. There is a glorious solution. It is explicit faith in Jesus Christ, God's one and only Mediator.

This is a great book to read and ponder. Don't assume you understand the gospel. It is the most profound truth. It is a well with no bottom. Meditate on it. Think about it. This book is a great aid. You can read it in two hours. It will motivate you to evangelize.

Second, it is a great book to give to an unbeliever, or someone who has shown some interest in the gospel. You don't want to be that sad oxymoron, a professing Christian who lacks clarity on the gospel.

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