"Worship is man's full reason for existence. Worship is why we are born and why we are born again." A.W. Tozer

Thursday, May 24, 2012

The Explicit Gospel by Matt Chandler

The gospel is central to what we believe as Christians and recently there have been a lot of books published related to this topic of the gospel or gospel-centered __________. You wouldn't think that these books would be necessary, but I believe they are because at least for me after reading The Explicit Gospel by Matt Chandler, I realize that I still have a long way to go to really understanding what the gospel is and how to communicate it. Before I get to far into this, if you're like me, I had to look up the word explicit as I wanted to get an accurate definition of that word; 1) fully and clearly expressed or demonstrated; leaving nothing merely implied, 2) clearly developed or formulated, 3) described or shown in realistic detail. It's amazing to me how adding one specifically selected adjective can completely enhance the understanding of the word it's describing. Chandler writes this about the book,
"Even if you go to church, it doesn't mean that you are being 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."
That was, and is, me. I grew up in the church all my life, but I know I had this idea that I had to do all these things to earn God's love. It's so easy to get caught up in the dos and don'ts, that we so easily forget that the cross says, "Done!" As Chandler expresses in this book, the gospel is more than the message of Christ dying for our sins and being raised from the dead so that we can be saved and set free from sin and death, but that it's also God's message of the restoration of all things from creation till He comes back again. Chandler uses two metaphors for this throughout the book, 1) the gospel on the ground, which focuses on the power of grace in our personal lives, and 2) the gospel in the air, which is a "tour de force story of creation, fall, reconciliation, consummation―a grand display display of God's glory in his overarching purposes of subjecting all things to the supremacy of Christ." Chandler stresses that we need a balance of both of these views to completely understand the gospel. He finishes the book by giving us warnings and things to watch out for should we focus on one or the other of these positions too much, dealing with moralism (the idea that we are able to earn favor with God and justify ourselves before God by virtue of our behavior), and the message of the cross. This is one of those books that will not stay of the shelf, but one that will be read again and again as I continue to learn and grow in the gospel. I would encourage everyone to read this book. I end with this that Chandler wrote,
"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!"

Special thanks to Crossway for providing this complimentary book to read and review. You can purchase the book here on

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