Saturday, November 10, 2012
Book Recommendation: Counterfeit Gospels
It's essential that we get the gospel right, because the gospel is what gets us to God. No surprise, then, that there are so many seductive 'artificial gospels' available today. Like artificial sweeteners, they have delightful taste, but no nutritional value. Trevin Wax warns about six of these in Counterfeit Gospels.
It is probably one of the most organized books I've ever read. Wax breaks the gospel down into three main elements (using a 3-legged stool analogy). He spends a chapter on each of these three. Then he describes two counterfeits that tweak each 'leg' of the gospel. So the table of contents looks like this:
1. The Gospel Story
2. The Therapeutic Gospel
3. The Judgmentless Gospel
4. The Gospel Announcement
5. The Moralist Gospel
6. The Quietist Gospel
7. The Gospel Community
8. The Activist Gospel
9. The Churchless Gospel
Each chapter about a fake gospel (chapters 2, 3, 5, 6, 8, 9) follows this pattern: an explanation of why this fake is a fatal deviation from the truth, how it has infiltrated evangelical thinking, why the imitation is so attractive, and how to guard our hearts against it. And, unlike some authors on this subject, Wax does not come across as a theological witchhunter, out to blast the heretics. His concern and tone is pastoral.
If you've been reading people like John Piper, Don Carson, Tim Keller, Al Mohler, and Mark Dever, you probably won't find much "new" in this book. Yet, Wax does not come across as merely an echo. He blends personal anecdotes, clarifying analogies, and clear, accurate summations of theological truths in a way that is uniquely his.
But one negative: I still have not figured out why the cover is a photo of spent matches.