Length: 222 pp
Author: Matt Chandler
The Explicit Gospel aims to make the gospel, well… explicit. Chandler does a swell job by presenting the gospel in systematic categories (God, man, Christ, response), which he labels “the gospel on the ground”, and within the Biblical storyline (creation, fall, reconciliation, consummation), which he labels “the gospel in the air”. In theologian’s terms he presents the gospel using both systematic and Biblical theology. While I might squirm a little at the sparse language of “being missional” and “redeeming the culture,” (for why read this book) there is everything here that I love about Chandler’s ministry – the gospel is clearly communicated and set against moralistic therapeutic deism.
And out of our self-regard, we like to picture that a holy, glorious, splendid God—perfect solely within his Trinitarian awesomeness—wanted to be able to stand in a warm-hued living room, romantic music swelling, and look across at us to say, “You complete me.”
The point is that if we are going to orient around anything less than God—even things that look happy and shiny and pretty, even things that God himself gives us to enjoy—or slip in even a moment’s worship of something other than God, we are declaring our preference for the absence of God. This is called pride, and even a sliver of it deserves its end result: the place where God isn’t. And let’s be honest: nobody has just a sliver of pride.
Knowing this, we don’t need all thirty-six verses of “Just As I Am,” a plaintive pleading from the altar, heads bowed, eyes closed, and shaky hands raised to issue a gospel invitation. No, the invitation is bound up in the gospel message itself. The explicit gospel, by virtue of its own gravity, invites belief by demanding it.