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The Explicit Gospel (Paperback Edition) Paperback – June 30, 2014
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“If you only read one book this year, make it this one. It’s that important.”
—Rick Warren, number one 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; Cofounder, The Gospel Coalition
“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, 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, Billy Graham Distinguished Chair for Church, Mission, and Evangelism, Wheaton College
“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)
"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 (BA, Hardin-Simmons University) serves as lead pastor of teaching at the Village Church in Dallas, Texas, and president of the Acts 29 Network. He lives in Texas with his wife, Lauren, and their three children.
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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Let me warn you, if you find yourself becoming defensive over his ideas in this book before you get upset and throw it across the room, ask yourself what it is that has brought out that emotion in you and analyze yourself a bit. Most likely, you will learn something about yourself that you didn't even realize was there. Had you thrown the book across the room, you will probably have missed something that could transform you in bigger ways than you could ever imagine. Read it, you will know what I mean.
Now that I started with that, let me tell you what I liked about the book:
-Occasionally when he tell stories, they are vivid stories that serve as poignant illustrations for what he is trying to teach. Not only does it entertain the reader, but you can definitely relate to where he is coming from.
-He is so honest about his own sin. He doesn't preach at you, he is completely authentic in who he is and where he has come from and where he struggles currently. I think often times preachers who write books avoid talking about themselves because they fear it will look bad or hypocritical or that they have to maintain a "perfect" image to teach what they are trying to teach so people believe them. Not Matt. He is real and honest and that is effective.
-Chandler has a way of understanding human behavior and pointing out, not just the massive ways we fall short, but the minute tiny things that we do on a daily basis that hurt us and we don't even realize it. We have so much to gain from that understanding in our sanctification.
-This book as blown my mind, not surprisingly, and given me new realms of understanding that I want to pursue in my relationship with Jesus. I can't speak for everyone but I know that I know, in theory, what Christ did on the cross and I know that I know, in theory, who God is, but I really want to fully grasp the reality of what all that means, not just for me but for those I share the gospel with. I think this is a fantastic jumping off point for me to really pursue that.
Matt writes like he preaches, which can be really effective when you are listening to him, but I found it a bit more challenging when reading it. It helps that I have heard him speak so I can imagine what vocal emphasis he might use here or there. I could sort of hear him in my head. As another reviewer said, he does go off on tangents. I plan to reread this book, hopefully in a study of some sort so I can really talk it out with folks to help me wrap my mind around a lot of it. He has quite the vocabulary which honestly shouldn't deter you at all from reading the book, but I had to stop and think a lot in context if I didn't know what a word was, or look it up. Frankly, that adds to my own learning and understanding so it isn't really a bad thing. Just takes a couple more seconds and it isn't often enough to make me not read it. It's not THAT far above my head.
I think it's important to realize his goal in this book, which should be obvious to you as you read what he is really trying to accomplish by writing it. I have to give him 4 stars only because of the writing style and it being hard to follow AT TIMES, but this is a game changing book.
Many reviewers dinged him a star or two because it wasn't what they expected. I don't think that tells you anything about the book itself. So that's not so helpful. Some folks disagreed with the title of the book and expected the book to exegetically go through the gospel and explain it in detail. It's semantics really. Matt Chandler wants us to be explicit about what the gospel means in our lives and when we share the gospel with others. He explains the dangers of omitting things because they aren't popular to the unchurched or churches trying to hard to attract people by watering down theology to attract more people, etc. Thus encouraging us as Christians to not only be explicit in sharing it but in living it.
He does explain the love of Christ, he does explain the cross, etc. Maybe not the way other reviewers wanted him to, but unfortunately for them, Matt Chandler wrote the book, they didn't. His title is not a misnomer.
I disagree with the claim that he makes nonessentials essentials. A few said this. I think those readers either misunderstood those pieces in context to the point he was making, didn't want to see it or were finding something to be nit-picky about. Read it and decide for yourselves. Hopefully you will have enough foresight not to get stuck in that.
It will change your perspective on "religion," on how you see God, the cross, Christians, yourself, etc. It's a must read.
Pastor Chandler was clear about the fallacy of such lines of thought. And he also revealed the opposite danger, which was to weaken the gospel message and to pursue a social improvement type of faith, as so many mainstream Protestant churches are guilty of doing: creating a social gospel that eradicates the cross and our need for salvation..
And he did not have a weak conclusion as some books do, wandering into repetition of their points or into a mass of generalities.Rather Pastor Chandler pulled a hard punch about our need to be EXPLICIT with people when presenting the gospel. As a mother and wife to unbelievers, it has been all too easy to presume that they understand and grasp the gospel....and when they have expressed thoughts about God that are completely off base --a hatred for a punitive God who should demand perfect actions in order to win his approval--I see that my assumptions that they are "getting it" were also radically off base. It is critical that we verbally and with our lives demonstrate with clarity the Gospel of God's grace and the completeness of his work done on the cross on our behalf. Otherwise, they just wont' "get it" and will rather listen to the misconceptions and lies propagated by a misunderstanding society.