Monday, April 26, 2010

"What is the Gospel?": A Book Review

I received this short volume (127 pages including appendix) as one of the many books freely distributed at this year's "Together for the Gospel" conference and read it during three brief sessions. The book is a very easy read, however, it is filled with solid, Biblical truth.

The author of this brief treatise, Greg Gilbert, serves with Mark Dever at Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, D. C. He opens his work by noting various answers to the title's question given by several Christians, some of them evangelical. Quickly readers realize this is a more difficult question to answer than we initially thought. The simple truth is many professing followers of Christ do not have a clear grasp of the basics of the Gospel message. Gilbert wisely observes, "an emaciated gospel leads to emaciated worship."

With that, Gilbert is off and running in his effort to answer the question, "What is the Gospel?" Utilizing the Scripture, the author moves from chapter to chapter coving such topics as "God the Righteous Creator", "Man the Sinner", "Jesus Christ the Savior", and "Response--Faith and Repentance". Step by step, he addresses the key elements which comprise the Gospel message. This book is both profound and simple.

If I must find something in these pages to which I may object, perhaps it would be a brief sentence on page 82. Gilbert writes,

"When a person genuinely repents and believes in Christ, the Bible says that he is given new spiritual life."

Unless I am reading that sentence incorrectly, he and I disagree in the ordo salutis (order of salvation). The sentence implies Gilbert believes repentance and faith precede regeneration while I believe Scripture teaches the opposite. On the other hand, perhaps the author intends to say the exercising of repentance and faith indicates the person has been given new spiritual life.

Despite this ambiguity (or disagreement), Greg Gilbert has penned an outstanding theological work which doesn't read like the typical theological work. "What is the Gospel?" is a brilliant yet brief work which I recommend to all Christians who truly desire the answer to the question, "What is the Gospel?"

1 comment:

Brent Hobbs said...

I don't think Greg meant that repentance precedes regeneration. That sentence might or might not refer to sequence. It could just be saying the two events are inseparable. Knowing Greg's theological convictions, I'm pretty sure he meant the latter.

I've got this one sitting on my desk to read when I can find a free moment. Thanks for the review and recommendation.