Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Killing "The Gospel Isn't for Christians" with Simple Exegesis

Every now and then a really bad idea sends roots down into influential people's minds and gets propagated by their ministry platforms. Every now and then a really good book doesn't get the promotional buzz that it deserves (and that poorer books often do). And every now and then one of those under-recognized books deftly drives a stake into the heart of one of those really bad ideas. I'd like to tell you about one of them: Milton Vincent's A Gospel Primer for Christians.

I've never read a book like this before. Vincent writes with clarity and brevity that seldom appear in tandem. Page after page is sprinkled with gospel nuggets that made my heart brim with joy. Vincent unpacks what we might think of as exhausted gospel truth and shows how believers can apply the gospel to ourselves—and why we must. As much as I appreciated Mahaney's Living the Cross-Centered Life, this is better.

Now here's that stake I was talking about:
The New Testament teaches that Christians ought to hear the gospel as much as non-Christians do. In fact, in the first chapter of Romans the Apostle Paul tells the believers in the church that he was anxious "to preach the gospel to you who are in Rome." [Romans 1:15] Of course, he was anxious to preach the gospel to the non-Christians at Rome, yet he specifically states that he was eager to preach it to the believers as well. 
To the Corinthian Christians who had already believed and been saved by the gospel, Paul says, "I make known to you the gospel, which you have believed...." He then restates the historical facts of the gospel before showing them how those gospel facts apply to their beliefs about the afterlife. This is actually Paul's approach to various other issues throughout the book of 1 Corinthians. 
In most of Paul's letters to churches, sizeable portions of them are given over to rehearsing gospel truths. For example, Ephesians 1-3 is all gospel, Colossians 1-2 is all gospel, and Romans 1-11 is all gospel. The remainder of such books shows how to bring those gospel truths to bear on life. Re-preaching the gospel and then showing how it applied to life was Paul's choice method for ministering to believers, thereby providing a divinely inspired pattern for me to follow when ministering to myself and to other believers. [p.13]

1 comment:

David Stertz said...

I cannot agree with you more on the value of this book. I bought a case to give to people (Focus Publishers are great to work with). It has been a worthwhile investment.