As 2011 winds down, I wanted to take a look back at some of the books I've interacted with here on the blog over the past 12 months. I don't generally do book reviews, but, rather, I do interview with authors and invite my readers to join that dialogue. You will see several examples of that below.
I did two book reviews this year, both because I think the books mattered and my voice might be helpful. First, I reviewed and interacted with Rob Bell's book Love Wins. I wanted to give it a fair reading, but also point out the errors that greatly concerned me. Second, I did a book review of What is the Mission of the Church? by Kevin DeYoung and Greg Gilbert at the request of the editors of The Gospel Coalition journal, Themelios. I've been pleased that so many that found their concerns echoed in my review-- and found the interaction with the authors to be helpful. At the end of the day, I think that progress have been made, people are talking about mission, and many now know that good people can come to different conclusions-- and we do not need to simply say, "well, this issue is settled."
The gospel is like a three-legged stool. There's the Gospel Story – the grand narrative of Scripture (Creation, Fall, Redemption, Restoration). Within that overarching framework, we make the GospelAnnouncement about Jesus Christ (His perfect life, substitutionary death, resurrection, exaltation). The gospel announcement then births the Gospel Community: God's church – the embodiment of the gospel, the manifestation of God's kingdom. A counterfeit gospel is like a colony of termites, eating away at one of the legs of this stool until the whole thing topples over. This book exposes six common counterfeits (Therapeutic, Judgmentless, Moralist, Quietist, Activist, and Churchless) that would get us off track.
Most Christians agree that discipleship is important, even essential for Christian maturity; few understand biblical principles and even fewer apply a biblical process when it comes to discipleship. Discipleship isn't complicated, but it can at times be difficult. The difficulty lies in applying the following four principles to your specific context. Simply put, here's how anyone–young or old, male or female, pastor or entrepreneur–can make disciples.
While the earth's time clock ticks away, well-meaning Christians go to church, pay their tithes, and pray for foreign missionaries-going through the motions of Christian life as millions face an eternity without God. If heaven is indeed for real, and only those who have put their faith in Christ will be given entrance, shouldn't we be making the most of every opportunity to share the Gospel, the last great hope for all the world?