Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Greg Gilbert’


The second section of The Explicit Gospel by Matt Chandler with Jared Wilsom addresses the “gospel in the air”. If the gospel on the ground is the still photo of justification, the gospel on the ground is the movie that provides the context for the gospel. It addresses the meta-narrative of the Bible. What this meta-narrative does is help us see our personal salvation in a larger context of God’s glory and plan for the universe.

This is not a new idea. He quotes Martyn Lloyd-Jones as stressing the need for both the personal and cosmic sides of the gospel. We are to live in the tension instead of focusing exclusively on one. Fundamentalists live in the personal while liberals tend to live in the cosmic. Both are true. Both are in Scripture. So we must hold one in each hand. Chandler does a great job of balancing the two instead of affirming one at the expense of the other. This is something Greg Gilbert struggled to do in What is the Gospel?.

As a result, they display a good theological method. The chapters run thru Creation-Fall- Reconciliation- Consummation. They spend a lot of time in Romans 8 and Revelation 21-22.

“The bottom line is that science is in a constant state of subjectivity and do-overs.”

In the chapter on Creation, Chandler lays some cards on the table. He’s a scientific agnostic. I like the phrase and found this section interesting as he criticizes those who want to place science above Scripture and embrace theistic evolution. He is critical of BioLogos. He looks at some articles about the scientific process as well as how the 1st and 2nd laws of thermodynamics are incompatible with (macro) evolutionary theory.

(more…)

Read Full Post »


9Marks ministries has a number of short books out that address important issues in ministry. There is no greater issue in ministry than the gospel. Even those calling themselves Evangelicals, can’t seem to agree on what the gospel is. So, Greg Gilbert was tasked with writing the book on this subject called What is the Gospel? (here are some sample pages).

This is no simple task. Greg tries to do this in 8 relatively short chapters. This makes the book easy to read. The downside is that he really can’t explore important threads. Sometimes clarity loses in the quest for brevity.

This is a good book, but not a great book. He starts with illustrations that help him make the point of each chapter. He uses some solid methodology in communicating the gospel.

(more…)

Read Full Post »


The book What is the Mission of the Church?: Making Sense of Social Justice, Shalom and the Great Commission by DeYoung and Gilbert has been on my list of books to read since it came out. The recent “controversy” regarding the book moved it up the list faster. It is really difficult to talk about this book without referencing at least some of what has gone on.

In the book, they noted that some people received early copies of the manuscript to elicit feedback. They were thankful for that, and included some people who would “push back”. In other words, they didn’t send it to people who would love all over it. This book is a contribution to a larger discussion on the topic of the mission of the church. So they read a number of books on the subject, drew upon their own experiences as pastors and studied the Scriptures (not necessarily in that order). They tried to do their homework. But no book is met with unanimous affirmation.

Ed Stetzer’s review, in particular, has received a great deal of attention. He affirms them in many ways, but also criticizes their views for being too narrow. As I read his review, I get the impression he wasn’t really listening.

“The mission of the church always must include making disciples, but the life of disciples will always produce work unique to its time and place, relating to the various needs and corruptions in the world around us. And such work is not only the fruit of discipleship, but is also, through modeling, part of the process of making disciples.” Ed Stetzer

I didn’t get the impression they would disagree with what he said. But he misses the point. That is the life of disciples, which they distinguish from the mission of the church. As disciples, we act justly and defend the rights of others. But he’s saying this to criticize their view of the mission of the church. The book is about what the Church is to invest it’s limited resources doing. And that, in their view, is to make disciples. Those disciples will do many things that they institutional church does not, and should not do. Let’s put it this way: John Newton was right to encourage Wilberforce to remain in politics and work for the abolition of slavery. And John Newton, who aided that cause with his personal testimony and records, was right not to establish a program of the church designed to work for the abolition of slavery. At least this is how I understand both the Scriptural testimony and the Westminster Confession of the topic of Civil Magistrate.

(more…)

Read Full Post »


I just finished Proclaiming a Cross-Centered Theology after laboring over it far too long.  I just haven’t had as much time to read as I like (this may shock some of you who think I read too much).  It is a collection of messages from one the Together for the Gospel conferences (sample pages).

I found it to be a very uneven book.  There was a great disparity in the length of the chapters, as though some speakers were given far more time than others.  Some of the shortest chapters were from those I most wanted to hear.  Yet, some of those (while good) sounded an awful lot like other messages they’ve done.  Since I don’t preach on the conference circuit, I am probably expecting too much for them to come up with a new message to fit the occasion.  When I was ‘only’ doing pulpit supply during my transition, I would preach the same text a few times, tweaking it depending on the congregation.  But no one travels hundreds, or thousands, of miles to hear me speak.  This was a tad disappointing.

The book kicks off with a rather long chapter on Sound Theology by Ligon Duncan.  He defends systematic theology as necessary for the life of the church.  It is popular today (and most days) to decry systems, but we should be able to summarize doctrine to promote understanding of the whole.  Preaching and teaching should be both expositional and theological, and Duncan notes.   This is, in part, because our theology must be biblical.  Yet, you don’t build a doctrine on only one text.  That is a HOV line to heresy.

“Systematic theology is tied to exegesis.”  John Murray

Duncan notes some problematic views that have popped up.  His charity is on display in that he doesn’t name names.  His goal is not to stigmatize anyone, but point out flaws in certain positions which tend to be anti-theological.

(more…)

Read Full Post »


There is a media company that sends me books to review.  I choose from titles they make available.  Recently they made Costly Grace: A Contemporary View of Bonhoeffer’s The Cost of Discipleship by Jon Walker available.  I’ve read The Cost of Discipleship a few times, and I was curious to see what he had done with it.  I have not yet completed the book (I have less than 100 pages to go), but the deadline looms.  I don’t think anything in the rest of the book will fundamentally change the review.

First an observation.  With the downturn in the economy, editors must have been on the low priority list.  The text was laden with errors leading me to believe it hadn’t been proofed.  This is a trend I’ve noticed lately.  This goes beyond the misuse of apostrophes.  Wrong words are used or words are repeated.  Note to publishers- the computer won’t help you find and correct many errors.  Hire someone who can read!

Okay, back to our regularly scheduled programming.  The whiny man on the grammatical soapbox has been sacked.

Walker follows the pattern of Bohnoeffer’s classic book.  He starts off with a quote from Bonhoeffer’s chapter, the passage of Scripture used and then interacts with Bonhoeffer.  He’s not critical of Bonhoeffer, at least in any significant way.  He’s trying to make it more accessible, and in touch with contemporary concerns.

At the end of the chapter he has some helpful bullet points.  He has a summary statement followed by examples of “fallen thinking” & “kingdom thinking”.  It ends with the call to choose, a way to apply the truth covered in the chapter.

It is a readable (aside from textual errors) (the one responsible for sacking those responsible has also been sacked), updated treatment of Bonhoeffer’s book.  It doesn’t add anything significant.  It isn’t concerned with wrestling with the validity of Bonhoeffer’s conclusions or arguments.  In other words this is not a critical treatment of Bonhoeffer’s book (both positive or negative).

(more…)

Read Full Post »