REVIEW – The Explicit Gospel – Matt Chandler

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Want to read a book where every chapter is a challenge?

No?

Well, maybe you should reconsider.

According to my Amazon Order History, I ordered this book on 24 June 2012, which was before Mark Driscoll was denounced by many prominent leaders in the evangelical Western world.   Nearly five years since I bought the book, and having finally got round to starting and finishing it, it’s bizarre to read Mark Driscoll’s endorsement of the book underneath the blurb, and again in the recommendation pages.   But who was to know what Driscoll had done back then?

This made me reminisce about the circumstances in which I bought the book.  I was an undergraduate English student and had just finished my second year, with a free Summer ahead of me.  Of course, I chose to take a digital detox from Facebook and Youtube and focused on finishing knitting my jumper.  I had oodles of time to read, and I lapped up theological knowledge like there was no tomorrow.  Yet, I only started reading this book two weeks ago.

And a good thing too.  I have changed so much since 2012: in good, but also in bad ways.  Now I am very cynical, and no longer feel as carefree as I did back then.  I feel like such a grumpy old woman, probably from tumbling into the real world with a thud.

But I was in such a Christian huddle at university, I doubt this book would have had the impact it has had on me now.

It’s not like Chandler’s teaching was new to me. It’s not like I didn’t understand the gospel before reading this book.  But every chapter hit me like a ton of bricks.  Why?  Because in going through what the gospel is, he also focuses on the challenging bits of the gospel which are rarely expounded in depth on a Sunday morning.  These particular bits blew my tiny mind and humbled me.

Despite Chandler’s myopic generalizations about evolutionists and egalitarians (which only pop up once, but you have been warned!), his boldness in pointing out issues and traps preachers and churches can fall into, has impressed on me the importance of this book in evangelical circles today.

If you call yourself a Christian, this is a must read.

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