Many people call themselves evangelicals who do not have any legitimate right to do so because they have left the evangel, the Gospel, behind.1
There are many people who call themselves Christians. They say the right thing, act the right way, and attend the right events. They may volunteer in their church, help out in the summer work, or even go on a mission trip. Everything about them shows that they are Christians. However, when asked to explain the Gospel, they find it difficult to discuss this book that they have based their whole lives around. Greg Gilbert goes on to to explain the reasons why Christians find it difficult to explain the Gospel. He then looks back at what the Scriptures have to say about the Gospel.
The first thing that Gilbert makes sure to point out when we are looking to find out what the Gospel is about, we need to actually look into our Bibles. There are many books written about the Gospel, but we actually need to look into the source of the Gospel. Through looking at the Bible, we can see four core truths, which we should be centring our Gospel message on. Gilbert then goes on to use the next four chapters discussing these core truths: God’s righteousness, man’s sinfulness, Christ the Saviour, and the response of faith and repentance.
Gilbert notes that there are many Christian authors, preachers and ministry leaders who are trying to make the Gospel appeal to more people. One of the main points which is increasingly being ignored and left out is that Jesus took our place on the cross. “The most fervent appeals are for people to join God in his work of changing the world, rather than to repent and believe in Jesus.”2 In removing this point, we take the beauty out of the Gospel, and place ourselves in this place where we do not need God, the exact opposite of what the Gospel proclaims. In the world around us we see many attempts to tell people about the Gospel, and of course this is what we are commanded to do as Christians, but when we start to substitute parts of the Gospel in the hope to draw more people to Jesus, have we actually shown them the Gospel? This is not a new problem, even in Corinthians there was this problem for the Jews and the Gentiles, but Paul affirms that even in these struggles we are to continue to preach Christ crucified.3
Having been a Christian for many years, completed a Theology degree, and own a mini library in my bedroom full of Christian books I thought I would have little to learn. This book allowed me to go back and truly ask myself what is this Gospel that I believe? Going back to the foundation of my faith, and looking at the four topics of the Gospel. For those who are trying to reach friends with the Gospel, helping at camps and clubs in the summer, or teaching in a Good News Club, this little book can help you to fully understand the Gospel, and not be afraid to boldly tell people about this Gospel, which you have put your faith in. Are we falling into the habit of covering up some of the truths? This book also gives us a chance to take a step back and consider why we should include these in our presentations of the Gospel, that we can see the true beauty of the Gospel, and take the opportunity to ponder again at what God has done for us.
When we want to discover something about the Gospel, we need to do the exact same thing as Gilbert. We need to look at the very first pages of Genesis, to be introduced to God our creator. Finally, going to the end pages of Revelation, where we see that Jesus is once again coming again. Therefore, the underlying message portrayed throughout this small book is that it’s not in our own words, or other people’s words that we should be looking for our answers, but our answers are found throughout the Bible.
I really encourage you to read this book, if you are a new Christian, considering Christian things, or a bit like me and have a library of books in your home. As you can see there is a lot in this tiny book (124 pages!) that I have learnt, maybe there is something that God wants you to learn through it as well. Will you continue to do those Christian things, say those Christian words, or will you step out and preach Christ Crucified.