The Whole Gospel

As a brief interlude to prove I haven’t forgotten about you, first I want to point out a review of a Zondervan product I received under the condition that I actually review it (for good or ill), which is now up at Evangel. I point to it because it is ironically called The Whole Gospel, which is the point of this series, after all.

As a second review of a new resource on this topic, let me heartily commend to you the new book from Greg Gilbert, What Is the Gospel? It has been endorsed by everyone on earth at this point as the burbs indicate (well, everyone associated with 9Marks, T4G, and the Gospel Coalition, anyway), but let me underscore three attributes of this book which I think make it a necessary resource for the discerning reader and faithful Christian:

[1] It’s spectacularly brief. Including the 3-page Scripture index and the front blurbs, it’s 127 pages. There are devotional books with less real meat in them which are half-again longer than this book, yet this book will do more good for those who read it if they take it even marginally-seriously. And at a compact 5x7 page size, the only people who will find reading it a burden will be those who cannot read English. This is a time when condensed text and content are a massive advantage.

[2] It is written at a popular level. It’s conversational writing without being breezy, but it is utterly readable.

[3] It looks like it’s worth giving away. You all know my beef with tracts: we have this God-sized ransom of good news we are trying to tell people, and the only thing we can think of to put it on to give away is 7-cents worth of 2-color print. This small book is in hard cover, and if you give it to someone, it looks like you gave half a thought to the value of the real gift you are trying to give them.

This is not light matter, btw. Back when Piper first published The Passion of Jesus Christ (now titled: "50 reasons Christ came to die"), it was an indispensible intro to the Christian faith. This book surpasses that accomplishment not because it is more thorough, but because it is more concise, putting the reader’s attention on what matters most.

Note to Crossway: find a way to make this book not $12.99 but $6.99 so that it will be distributed widely and used often as the first place people are introduced to the faith. There are at least three material improvements that could be made that would make this book the tract of choice for those concerned about serious, discipleship-minded evangelism (cover, paper and layout) which could be changed for the sake of cost but not made so cheap that they make the whole thing a throw-away. Consider it.

If you want a full review of this book, go here to Discerning Reader and read that review and recommendation. Otherwise, go get 5 and give them away this week.

4 comments:

Rachael Starke said...

I got my copy for 8.99 at Westminster Books, which is the same price you pay for a decent lunch here in NorCal. And when Crossway does hopefully make a cheaper edition, I hope they consider making a cover that doesn't show every smudge and fingerprint in it. That just bugs me for some reason.

And, yes, like the first commented said so eleoquently, I agree. It's a great book.

Mesa Mike said...

Yes, as that first comment says, Jesus is Lord and King, therefore repent of your sins and trust Him.

(But don't click on any of the links in that comment....)

Frank Turk said...

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Wow that makes me angry.

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