Monday, October 3, 2011

Book Review: GOSPEL by J.D. Greear

I cannot imagine writing a book and then being so bold to title with something such as Gospel, but that is exactly what J.D. Greear has done in his newest release along with a subtitle of Recovering the Power that Made Christianity Revolutionary. Greear is very clear from his introduction that his reason for writing the book is because he like many in the church have gotten to a place where they are finding Christianity to be wearisome with all of the "do's and don'ts" that categorize someone as a "good" Christian. Thoughts that are categorized in statements like once you become a Christian, "don't drink, don't dance, don't chew, and don't go with girls that do."

Greear admits however, that recently he has discovered something that has changed everything, the gospel. And in this rediscovering of the gospel it has given him a joy in God that he never experienced in all his years of fervent religion. I believe that this is what many, I may even be as bold to say what most Christians need to rediscover because when I look at the church, specifically in America, what I see is a bunch of wearisome Christians who have forgotten the power that made Christianity Revolutionary, the gospel.

I feel like it is necessary to give Greear's definition of the gospel from the book because I know many who are questioning what that even means in today's context. "The gospel is the announcement that God has reconciled us to Himself by sending His Son Jesus to die as a substitute for our sins, and that all who repent and believe have eternal life in Him. The gospel is that Christ has suffered the full wrath of God for my sin." And in this rediscovering of the gospel, Greear wants to through this book help people simply abide in Jesus because abiding in Jesus will change everything by creating a re-defined life.

A re-defined life is where the turning point comes for Greear and will come for you. He goes on to say, "The Gospel has done in my heart what religion never could." This statement hits at the core of what most all of us have experienced in trying to "do good" in order to be accepted only to learn the reality of the gospel that we are only accepted because of what Jesus has already done. Greear points to this in 2 Corinthians 5:21 that says that He (Christ) actually became our sin so that we could literally become His righteousness.

This should be liberating to us, especially those of us that grew up in a tradition where it in essence was all about us and our performance that made us acceptable to Christ. This verse takes that whole idea and concept and flips it upside down, which may sound strange, but in reality it is freeing when you understand and realize that it is all about Christ and what he has done.

I believe what Greear has done in this book is to break down into three parts what many Christians have been longing to understand deeper for years. Part one answering how the gospel does what religion cannot. Part two is broken down by what Greear refers to as the gospel prayer. Part three helps point people toward a gospel-centered understanding of life.

In part two Greear has opened up his personal life by providing a tool for the church that he has been using for years, which allows one to saturate themselves in the gospel daily. This is referred to throughout the book as "The Gospel Prayer." 

Here are the four parts of "The Gospel Prayer":
1. "In Christ, there is nothing I can do that would make You love me more, and nothing I have done that makes You love me less."
2. "Your presence and approval are all I need for everlasting joy."
3. "As You have been to me so I will be to others."
4. "As I pray, I'll measure Your compassion by the cross and Your power by the resurrection."

I believe that most people in the church will find this book to be a refreshing and encouraging one, but also one that may convict and challenge people in many ways. Greear is clear and faithful in his presentation, but also humble as you sense that he really desires to see all people fall back in love with this power of Christianity in the gospel. 

After reading this book, I highly endorse and recommend it as Greear leaves me with a hope for evangelicalism and the church as a whole that there will be a recovery of the gospel as the center of Christianity. Gospel is a game changer and a book that you will want to spend some time in no matter where you are in your faith as it will help you in achieving a daily gospel-saturated life that will produce a consuming passion for God and love for others.

No comments:

Post a Comment