The Explicit Gospel by Matt Chandler is a book that every Christian needs to read. Chandler has been a prominent voice calling the church to reject cultural Christianity, which he frequently terms with Christian Smith’s description of “moralistic, therapeutic deism,” and return to the fullness of the message of the gospel.
By framing the gospel through the lenses of “the gospel on the ground” and “the gospel in the air,” Chandler effectively presents both the personal and cosmic components of the transformational gospel. According to Chandler, “the gospel on the ground” can be broken into “God, man, Christ, and response”while “the gospel in the air” consists of “creation, fall, reconciliation, and consummation.” The Explicit Gospel invites readers to both follow Jesus as fully-devoted disciples and to see the story of redemptive history and their role in it.
Chandler’s book in many ways reads like one of his sermon transcripts. Some of the stories and illustrations used in the book will be recognizable to podcast listeners of the Village Church, where Chandler serves as a teaching pastor. Chandler’s frankness and humor make the book a challenging and engaging read. He does not mind offending readers with the truth even if that truth flies in the face of what they have always believed.
The last section of The Explicit Gospel seeks to address problems that can occur when Christians lose focus on the importance of the gospel. Chandler effectively deals with the problems of replacing the gospel with sectarianism, syncretism, and moralism. These are all dangerous traps that many Christians fall into and lose sight of the gospel. Chandler addresses these traps in a very practical and pastoral way that seeks to lead his readers to a gospel-centered way of personal discipleship.
The Explicit Gospel is an excellent book that seeks to remind Christians of the importance of embracing a holistic and biblical gospel. Chandler is an effective communicator who makes truth come alive in a challenging and applicational way. The Explicit Gospel is a must read.