The past few years have seen an influx of books from writers thinking through what the Gospel is and what it demands. Some of these books significantly advance the conversation on the Gospel, while others do not. The Explicit Gospel by Pastor Matt Chandler with Pastor Jared Wilson significantly advances and re-orients the current Gospel conversation by focusing on the Gospel in the air and on the ground.
Pastor Chandler ministers in an area of the country where many people understand Christianity as a cultural identity but do not know the Gospel explicitly. He writes that in ministering to twentysomethings and thirtysomethings, “the gospel had been merely assumed, not taught or proclaimed as central, and hadn’t been explicit” (13). The gospel on the ground, helps one see “clearly the work of the cross in our lives and the lives of those around us, capturing and resurrecting of dead hearts; we see the gospel extended in this way when Jesus and his prophets call individuals to repent and believe” (16). The gospel on the ground is at the micro level while the gospel in the air is the story. In the gospel in the air we “find a tour de force story of creation, fall, reconciliation, consummation—a grand display in his overarching purpose of subjecting all things to the supremacy of Christ” (16).
Chandler like any good Pastor in The Explicit Gospel warns his readers of becoming to individualistic and syncretic by calling Christians to know the Gospel explicitly and to unite the church on the amazing grounds of the good news of Jesus Christ. This book is one of the finest and fullest treatments on the Gospel that I’ve ever read. While dozens of books make the New York Times best-sellers list every year, I sincerely pray that this book will make that list, because it will shock and offend people with the Truth, but always lead them back to the fount of all blessing in Jesus Christ by revealing to its readers the glory of God and the beauty of Jesus.
The Explicit Gospel is a well-written, biblically faithful and robust explanation on not only what the Gospel is but how the Gospel should inform and transform Christian’s lives. In a style that pulls no punches, Pastor Chandler accomplishes his goal in this book in making much of “our great God and King Jesus” (222). The Explicit Gospel is a great book for those who have no idea what the Gospel is and should be required reading for every Christian. Pastors or ministry leaders ministering in contexts that are plagued by moralism should read this book to learn how to combat moral therapeutic deism. Regardless of whether you’re a new or mature Christian, you need to read The Explicit Gospel to be reminded afresh of the beauty and glory of all Christ has done on your behalf. I recommend The Explicit Gospel wholeheartedly and sincerely pray that many readers will discover afresh the beauty of Jesus as they read it.
Title: The Explicit Gospel
Authors: Matt Chandler with Jared Wilson
Publisher: Crossway (2012)
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the Crossway Books. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”