Book Reviews

Book Review- “The Explicit Gospel” by Matt Chandler

This book by Matt Chandler really opened my eyes to seeing the gospel in a different manner. However, I admit that the first time I read it, I didn’t quite get what he was talking about. It took God working in me to cause me to grasp the truth the second time through. Just like Living the Cross Centered Life; Keeping the Gospel the Main Thing by CJ Mahaney, Matt Chandler helps us understand how important it is to live in light of the gospel message and all of its implications for us.

Matt writes this statement in his introduction, “For some reason- namely, our depravity- we have a tendency to think that the cross saves us from out past sin, but after we are saved, we have to take over and clean ourselves up. This sort of thinking is devastating to the soul. We call this the “assumed gospel,” and it flourishes when well-meaning teachers, leaders, and preachers set out to see lives first and foremost conformed to a pattern of behavior (religion) and not transformed by the Holy Spirit’s power (gospel.)”

Matt divides his book into three parts. The first part is “The Gospel on the Ground”. This part of the book looks at who God is, who man is, who Christ is and how we should respond. Matt emphasizes why the gospel is vital and necessary in light of who God is and who man is. He goes into detail about what we normally think of as the gospel message: God is holy, man is sinful, Christ is the answer and how we should respond to all of that.

The second part is called “The Gospel in the Air”. This part of the book looks at the gospel as a whole from God’s perspective. He writes about the bigger picture. Matt writes, “But what the gospel in the air allows us to do is zoom out from the up-close-and-personal viewpoint and still see the narratives of the Scriptures, but this time (to keep with the cinematic analogies) with a wide-angle lens.” Matt starts with looking at creation. He evaluates different theories of creation, science versus creation, God’s glory displayed in creation and the gospel being bigger than just saving the individual.

The next chapter is about the fall. Matt explains, “The world was made for God’s glory, but his glory in creation was made manifest in man and woman, bearers of his image, who were created to take dominion over creation, to be the crown jewel of the material world. So when sin entered us, it entered the world, the cosmos.” “…human rebellion against God disrupts the natural order of everything.” He explains how all of creation is out of whack. He writes about how our desires and search for meaning are corrupt because of the fall. He discusses God’s plan to reconcile not only man, but all of creation back to himself. Christ’s work on the cross did more than make man right in God’s sight, but through him all of creation will be made right once again.  The last chapter in this section reminds us of the future we have to look forward to.

Part three is called “Implications and Applications”. This part of the book looks at the dangers of not having a balanced perspective of both views of the gospel; “The Gospel on the Ground” versus “The Gospel in the Air”. It is very interesting to see what kind of pitfalls we can end up in.

Matt’s style of writing is a humorous, engaging, and to the point. He gives examples from his own life to help us understand what he is trying to communicate. He writes with a theological and practical approach. Matt is the Senior Pastor at Village Church in Dallas, Texas. It is a huge multi-campus church with over 10,000 people. He also travels around the country speaking.

I highly recommend this book! It also comes as a six week Bible study with accompanying DVD’s.  Our small group went through this and it was excellent. Of course the 6 week study doesn’t go into as much detail as his book, but it’s a great tool for any smaller group setting.






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