By Chris Seay
The title of this book alone intrigued me! Assuming it was a modern-day synopsis of the Gospel message, I passed it by. However, something within my spirit kept repeating the book title. Discovering that The Gospel according to Jesus is a detailed study of Romans, a book I sometimes struggle with, I again doubted this was a book I would immerse myself in. I admit that is the case! It is an excellent and in-depth review of a survey done by Chris Seay and the Barna Research Group relating to Christians understanding of the basics of their faith. As stated in a book review: “Imagine a church were 84% of Christians are completely unfamiliar with the essential tenets of their faith, with a crippling misunderstanding of the word righteousness and, in turn, the gospel of Jesus.” It is not a book I read straight through; rather, I picked it up periodically and read another chapter, followed by some time to digest and ponder my thoughts.
Seay writes in an interesting style of information, personal stories and interviews with leaders in the church The general premise of the book is that most Christians have a false sense of understanding of what it means to be righteous, which is the message of the Gospel. He feels that most believers think of righteousness in terms of moral standards, which is not what the message of Jesus to His followers is about. Seay spends the entire book detailing the righteous and restorative gift offered by Christ alone to those who follow Him.
I found myself marking little quips that I want to write down and post around various places, to remind me of the Gospel message. These include:
“Brothers and sisters, there can be nothing worse than Jesus knocking at the door while we are so busy with our own agenda that we can’t hear him. Every area of our lives must recalibrate around the work of Jesus” (p. 29).
“You were rescued! You’ve destroyed your life with sin and you’re living in destruction by your own choice. You deserve to die. But God, the Creator, has reached into that destruction with love, saying, ‘I’m here to pull you out.’ I hope that you and I would respond like many of the people rescued in the first days after the tragic Haitian quake. Those people, just rescued, some with broken bones, went back to pull other people out. That is who I am called to be. That’s who I want to be” (p. 55).
While to me this book is not a “feel good” kind of read, it is an “aha” kind of read~ much relevant information, many personal stories and views, and an in-depth look at the true Gospel message! I recommend this book to anyone wanting to go deeper in an understanding of the concept of righteousness and/or the book of Romans and anyone who in a pastoral or teaching role in the church. Because the righteousness of Christ is so central to the Christian life, it is essential that those in leadership be prepared to answer questions relating to the concept and to help people understand the who, what, when, where, why and how of righteousness!
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from
Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com book review
bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review.
The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in
accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 :
“Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”