I posted this to Amazon, but thought I would post it here as well in case anyone is interested. It is a review for Walter Chantry’s “Today’s Gospel: Authentic or Synthetic?”
Focusing on the story of the rich young ruler who came bounding enthusiastically up to Christ, only to slink away dejectedly when the Savior challenged him to leave the object of his affection for Christ. It is a challenge that we all must face, and sadly there are many people in the world today who think they can follow Christ and still hold on to their sinful desires. That is because the gospel that is so often “presented” today to sinners is one that does not challenge them with repentance, does not challenge them to forsake their sins… it does not challenge them at all. It suggest that they can choose Christ, similar to the way they choose what shows they watch on TV. They are presented Christ like just another choice that a consumer-based society might at least consider, and this approach has not only robbed the gospel of its truth and its beauty, but of its power.
Walter Chantry wrote this book almost 40 years ago. It was first published in 1970, but it is just as relevant (if not even moreso) to the church today. It is a book that forces us to reconsider how the gospel of Christ has been compromised by an evangelistic approach that seems almost embarrassed by the true message of the gospel. Repent and believe! Leave your sins or you will die in them. There is only one way to the Father. Jesus Christ, God and man, born of a virgin, suffered as the prophets foretold, bore the full brunt of God’s just wrath for the sins of those He chose to save. He rose again on the third day and overcame the power of Satan, death and sin for a people who were so dead in their sins they did not even know they were dead. The “gospel” as it is so often presented today would not only appeal to the rich young ruler, it would encourage him to continue just the way he was. But this was not the gospel message our Lord presented to him.
God calls some forth out of darkness to reveal the glory of our Redeemer, not because we choose to believe, not because we are capable of choosing anything good for we are so corrupted by our own sin that we are totally incapable of making a good and right choice to deny our flesh and pursue the Spirit of God. No… if He doesn’t grant us the gift of repentance and faith–the gift of life, a true spiritual birth–we will never long for those things. We may come close, just like the rich young ruler. We may even feel close enough that we could reach out and touch Him. But when He challenges us to leave whatever we’ve filled our hearts with, so that He can fill it with a love and a longing that will follow and obey Him no matter the cost, will we also walk away dejected?
A good book. A challenging book. But then, if we’re not being challenged, we’re not really being called, are we? If we’re not being challenged, we can’t really be clear who (or what) we’re really following. Recover the power of the true gospel. This book can help point the way. MacArthur’s “The Gospel According to Jesus” is good for that, too. But if you want to really be challenged, go to the gospels themselves and listen to what He says. Pay attention to how different people respond to Him. And then ask yourself, “Who am I like?” Are you like the tax collector who left his table straight away and followed Him? Or perhaps like the fishermen from Galilee who abandoned their nets to become fishers of men? Are you like the religious leaders of that time who held Him in utter contempt? Or are you like the rich young ruler, who came so close and who had a genuine desire for eternal security… just not at the expense of his temporal security.
Go to the Word and hear Him speak. And how I pray He speaks to you!