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The Explicit Gospel (Re: Lit) Hardcover – April 30, 2012

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Editorial Reviews


“If you only read one book this year, make it this one. It’s that important.”
Rick Warren#1 New York Times best-selling author, The Purpose Driven Life; Pastor, Saddleback Church

“This book, like the gospel itself, is clarifying, convicting, comforting, and compelling all at the same time. I wholeheartedly invite you to read it, to be overwhelmed by the mercy and majesty of God in the gospel, and then to spend your life making this gospel explicit in every facet of your life and to every corner of the earth!”
David Platt, President, International Mission Board; author, Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream

“People who come face-to-face with death make the best evangelists. I have to believe that’s why my friend Matt Chandler is so passionate about a clear, biblical presentation of the gospel. Life is short. Eternity is long. May this book drive you to greater clarity in preaching the life-saving gospel of Jesus Christ.”
James MacDonald, Pastor, Harvest Bible Chapel, Rolling Meadows, Illinois; author, Vertical Church

“That the gospel is not clearly taught in classic liberalism is disheartening but not surprising. That frequently the gospel is not taught in evangelical congregations is both disquieting and surprising. Evangelicals will not deny the gospel, but they may assume it while talking about everything else—and that is tragic. Matt Chandler issues a robust call to make the gospel an explicit and central part of our preaching, and takes pains to show what that looks like. Amen and Amen.”
D. A. Carson, Research Professor of New Testament, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School

“Matt Chandler presents the gospel in a way that is balanced, hope-filled, and very, very serious, all the while presented with Matt’s trademark humor. Even more faithful than funny, Matt insults all of us (including himself) in a strangely edifying way, and in a way that I pray will make you treasure Christ even more.”
Mark Dever, Senior Pastor, Capitol Hill Baptist Church, Washington DC; President, 9Marks

The Explicit Gospel is a roadmap and wake-up call to our generation to grasp the full, expansive, and true gospel story. Matt is a leading voice, a great expositor of the Scriptures, passionate about Jesus, and serious about the gospel and making God known. When he speaks, I listen, and when he writes, I read. This book reflects the clear and core message of Matt’s life, leadership, and passion for a generation hungry for truth.”
Brad Lomenick, Executive Director, Catalyst

“Too often the gospel fails to take root when it is assumed. The explicit gospel transforms individuals, churches, and nations as the mission of God is carried forward. Matt Chandler has gifted the church with a powerful tool to combat the assumed gospel. The Explicit Gospel is a serious threat to the moralistic, therapeutic deism that cripples the lives of so many. I highly recommend this book to both believers and unbelievers alike.”
Ed Stetzer, President, LifeWay Research; author, Subversive Kingdom;

“Matt Chandler’s excellent book will help Christians avoid common errors that occur when we make assumptions about the meaning of the word gospel.” (April 2012)
World Magazine

"The Explicit Gospel brings extraordinary clarity and creativity to what all assume is understood—but quickly realize has been forgotten.” (May 2012)

About the Author

Matt Chandler is the lead pastor of The Village Church, a multi-campus church in the Dallas metroplex of over 10,000 people. His sermons are among the topselling (free) podcasts on itunes and he speaks at conferences worldwide. Prior to accepting the pastorate at The Village, Matt had a vibrant itinerant ministry for over ten years where he spoke to hundreds of thousands of people in America and abroad about the glory of God and beauty of Jesus. He lives in Texas with his wife, Lauren, and their three children: Audrey, Reid and Norah. 

Jared C. Wilson is the director of content strategy at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, Missouri, and managing editor of the seminary's website for gospel-centered resources, For the Church. He is a popular author and conference speaker, and also blogs regularly at Gospel Driven Church hosted by the Gospel Coalition. His books include Your Jesus Is Too Safe, Gospel Wakefulness, Gospel Deeps, The Pastor’s Justification, The Storytelling God, and The Wonder-Working God.


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Product Details

  • Series: Re: Lit
  • Hardcover: 237 pages
  • Publisher: Crossway; 1 edition (April 30, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1433530031
  • ISBN-13: 978-1433530036
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 5.8 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (288 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #136,707 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

151 of 165 people found the following review helpful By Daniel and Keren Threlfall on April 18, 2012
Format: Hardcover
So, we have another book on the gospel. The Explicit Gospel is authored by Matt Chan­dler, pas­tor of the Vil­lage Church in Dal­las, TX. The book is sched­uled to be released on April 30, 2012. Is this just "another book on the gospel" -- basic the­ol­ogy retweaked by a megachurch pas­tor -- or is this some­thing worth read­ing and pon­der­ing? Let's take a look.

The Big Idea of The Explicit Gospel
The book claims that too often, the gospel is assumed, not explicit. The explicit gospel oblit­er­ates man-centered reli­gion -- the moral­ism, idol­a­try, and reli­gios­ity that cor­rupts true Chris­tian­ity. Chan­dler describes this explicit gospel, gen­er­ously sprin­kling in plenty of pas­toral appli­ca­tion along the way. Merely assum­ing the gospel leads to dan­gers -- big dan­gers. Chandler's cogent appli­ca­tion of the explicit gospel strikes deep at the insipid idio­syn­crasies of evan­gel­i­cal­ism, deliv­er­ing a mes­sage that is both solidly the­o­log­i­cal and lov­ingly confrontational.

Overview of The Explicit Gospel
Chan­dler orga­nizes the book in three sec­tions: 1) The Gospel on the Ground, 2) The Gospel in the Air, and 3) Impli­ca­tions and Appli­ca­tions. Even if you've been to sem­i­nary, you've prob­a­bly never heard of a "ground gospel" or "air gospel," so lets explain what Chan­dler means. Ground and air, as he describes them, are van­tage points for view­ing the gospel. The gospel from the ground is the view of the gospel in our own lives. The chap­ters "God" (ch. 1), "Man" (ch. 2), "Christ" (ch.3), "Response" (ch.4), dis­cuss the gospel from this per­spec­tive. Chan­dler describes the gospel in the air as "the big pic­ture of God's plan of restora­tion from the begin­ning of time to the end of time and the redemp­tion of his cre­ation" (pg. 9).
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86 of 98 people found the following review helpful By JS Park on May 17, 2012
Format: Hardcover
(Originally posted on my blog, The Way Everlasting. The following is an excerpt.)

Matt Chandler writes a hit-and-miss work on the Gospel, full of sharped barbs that are occasionally convicting but are mostly mean-spirited and glitzy.

I really, really, really wanted to like this book. And indeed, I found parts of it absolutely brilliant. But we get a version of Matt Chandler here that hardly sounds like himself.

So the good: The best parts of the book are Chapter 6, Fall, and Chapter 7, Reconciliation. You get an epic scope of the human condition plus a God-scaled view of God's work through us on earth. Pastor Matt's unique voice, even when he's on rabbit trails, will you keep you engaged. The rundown on Solomon is a tour de force of wit, vivid imagery, and a piercing look into the wrongness of our souls. And our mission through the cross is clearly outlined while avoiding a legalistic prison.

Certainly Chandler can write. He's not exactly quotable but his style is clever, captivating, at times brutal. He is theologically sound in every which way, and despite some critics bashing his Reformed angle, he backs it up with Scripture. Just as in his preaching, he is one of the most biblical pastors out there.

I loved the last couple stories of Matt Chandler overcoming the guilt of his former life and the heartbreaking account of his friend Kim. He has preached these before, but to see it in written form with extra details was stirring. He really brought home how the Gospel works here.

However, there are three main problems with the book that injure it beyond recovery.

1) The most glaring problem is its arrogant tone. Matt Chandler in preaching is bold, daring, and convicting.
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48 of 60 people found the following review helpful By Philip Becker on July 18, 2012
Format: Hardcover
This could be the most important 150 page book written in years, too bad it's 240 pages.
I say that because the Thesis that Christianity hangs on the Gospel and the explicit teaching of it is totally true and hugely important. And the concluding three chapters really teach about the pitfalls of following an incomplete Gospel. However there's almost a hundred pages worth of rambling and tangents and poor attempts at jokes. There was a dozen times I read a whole paragraph and wondered why the whole thing wasn't cut. Almost 15 pages are spent trying to refute evolution by poorly paraphrasing people who actually know something about science, only to conclude that any way to read Genesis is okay, except for an evolutionary view (theistic or otherwise), and Chandler's view of Genesis is superior to them all. While that might be an interesting thing to put in a book, it's totally out of place in this one.
I really wish this book was as great as it ought to have been. So if you read it, be wary: There's a lot of sifting to do to get the gold out of this stream, but it's certainly there.
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16 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Greg Ramer on April 19, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Every once in a while I will finish reading a book and know that will not be the last time I read it. The Explicit Gospel by Matt Chandler and Jared Wilson is one of those books. In fact, I knew after the introduction I would be reading this book again.

Everything in churches these days seems to be gospel-centric. `Gospel centered' this and `gospel centered' that plaster the websites and ministry descriptions of countless churches everywhere. The word gospel has become soaked into evangelical Christianity that its possible some of its true meaning has been watered-down or not completely understood to begin with.

Being `gospel centered' is a great thing, however, its important to make sure the true meaning of gospel is applied and understood. In The Explicit Gospel, Chandler explains what the gospel is and how it is applied in our own lives as well as offers warnings towards abuse of gospel.

As the pastor of a large church in the Dallas, TX, Chandler is all to familiar with people misunderstanding the gospel as something that is earned and not simply the gift of grace from God. This mode of thinking has been commonly referred to as Christian Moralistic Therapeutic Deism. "The idea behind moral, therapeutic deism is that we are able to earn favor with God and justify ourselves before God by virtue of our behavior (13)."

This mode of thinking has become popular in churches today. It offers the facade of being Christian, but is ultimately nothing more then religion. Chandler warns this way of teaching only leaves the hearer with an assumption of the gospel, not a complete message of it.
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