August 23rd, 2010
Gilbert, Greg. What is the Gospel? Wheaton: Crossway Books, 2010. 128 pp. $12.99. Purchase at Westminster books.
Greg Gilbert serves as an assistant pastor Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, DC. He has written this book as part of the IX Marks ministry line of books.
The message of the gospel would seemingly be something that all who call upon the name of Christ would agree. Unfortunately, that is not the case as Greg Gilbert points out in his book What is the Gospel?
Gilbert takes a long hard look at what the biblical gospel is and what it is not. In this short, about 100 pages of text, little book, we are introduced (or re-introduced) to the necessary points in the gospel. First, God is the creator of the universe and therefore the only righteous judge. Second, we (man) are sinners and will be held accountable for our sins. Third, Jesus Christ came to this earth to live the sinless life and to then die so that we may have life. Fourth, We are called to respond in faith and repentance.
Chapter six takes a look at a by-product of the repentance; i.e., eternal life in heaven with Christ. Chapter seven, arguably the most useful chapter, looks at some misrepresentations of the gospel that are en vogue today: “Jesus is Lord,” ” Creation-Fall-Redemption-Consummation,” and “Cultural Transformation.”
The final chapter looks at the power of the gospel. After reading about the biblical gospel and what the gospel is not, Gilbert exhorts the reader to share the gospel because of its power to save and change the human heart.
I really do not like the fact that this book had to be written in the first place. Nonetheless, history is replete with examples of Christians and non-Christians just plain getting the simplest of doctrines wrong. Today is no different. Greg Gilbert does an excellent job of righting the ship so to speak. His treatment of the gospel is much needed today and is so saturated in Scripture that one really cannot find fault with what he writes. That is, unless you do not believe the Bible to be the word of God.
Pastor, read this book. Buy a copy for everyone on your staff. Study this book and the Scriptural proof presented therein. Your congregation will be the better for it. I would highly recommend this book as a gift to your Sunday School teacher or children/youth workers. If you are a new believer, this book is definitely worth picking up as you will certainly have questions. Allow Greg Gilbert to answer them.