Sunday, August 15, 2010

Quick Review of What Is The Gospel by Greg Gilbert

http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B003DQK77E/ref=mp_s_a_4?qid=1281892241&sr=8-4

Please forgive any formatting errors. I am trying out Wordpress for iPhone. I'll fix formatting problems later.

I like to read. Occasionally, I'll go on Amazon to see what Kindle books are available for free. Then I download far more than I could hope to read in one lifetime.

Recently, I discovered a book for free in Kindle format for a limited time called "What Is the Gospel" by Greg Gilbert. I downloaded it, and got around to reading it. It's part of a 9 Marks series.

First, the positives. The book was well written. It was written very lovingly and should be of use to it's target market. I hope it is. I have no qualms about the book in that regard.

Now for my thoughts. Take a drive around your neighborhood. Notice all of the churches? There are a lot of churches around. Considering all of the churches around, isn't it a little embarrassing how many "What Is the Gospel" books have to be written? What is really embarrassing is the number of self-proclaimed Christians who apparently need these books.

At this point, I'm thinking of Paul's words in Philippians:
Philippians 2:12 (ESV)
[12] Therefore, my beloved, *as you have always *obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling,

What I'm thinking of is that we need to take some responsibility for our own growth. We're not supposed to wait to e spoon fed, or for God to miraculously change us. Yes, I believe that He can, but I'm not so sure that in most cases, He will.

I know many churches are full of well meaning people who simply don't grow. It can be very frustrating, especially in a smaller church, when a few people are burning out doing all the serving while many just show up to get their tickets punched. At one point in our last church, Christina taught the 2-3 year old class for four consecutive quarters because nobody else would step up to teach. She had more than 10 children in that class, so there were many other parents, but nobody was interested in teaching that class. She got a one quarter break after a solid year, then was right back to it. The church we're at now had to shut down some children's activities because of a lack of volunteers.

I must admit, it scares me how many people identify as Christians, compared to the need for books explaining to them the very basic points of what they claim to believe. This is what the writer of Hebrews called milk. Baby food.

A couple of years ago, I worked out a scale for Christian books. I rate them as beginner, intermediate, and advanced. Maybe I should change that to breast milk, mush, and hearty steak. I would rate "What Is the Gospel" as beginner/breast milk. I don't mean that as a slam against the author. The author is a pastor, and I'm glad he has a heart for God's flock. I am very thankful for good pastors. I wouldn't be whatever I am today without a few.

Verdict: read it if you have no idea what the Christian Gospel is, or have no idea how to explain it. Alternately, read it if you want to. Don't let my cynical opinions talk you out of buying a book. But really, if you're a Christian you should know this already. You should be looking to grow and get off the milk.
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