09 (September 2013)

The Gospel’s Power & Message

The Gospel’s Power & Message
Ali McLachlan Ali Mclachlan is the pastor of Grace Baptist Church in Edinburgh
31 August, 2013 2 min read

The gospel’s power and message
Paul Washer
Reformation Heritage Books, 274 pages, £12.05
ISBN: 978-1-60178-195-6
Star rating : 5

This book is a most helpful contribution to Christianity. Seldom has such essential, solid theology been so readable.

Washer likens the gospel message to the Acropolis of the Christian faith. Regrettably, today’s ‘gospel’ lies in ruins; hence the book’s strap-line is about ‘recovering the gospel’

Washer corrects the one-dimensional, man-centred message frequently mistaken for gospel preaching. Such a recovery could not be timelier. In section one he contrasts our evangelistic failure with apostolic success. He blames today’s truncated message.

Our fearful obligation to God and to our generation, ‘to deliver [the gospel] in all its fullness and apostolic purity’, is established. Do we boldly proclaim to the lost that Christ died for sins according to the Scriptures?

Do we preach a risen Christ and plead with men to come to him? There is depth and passion here, as we are called to proclaim as heralds and expound as scribes.

In the second section, the unique, confrontational and potent-to-save character of the gospel is explained. This ‘foolish’ gospel is God’s power to save, against all doubt and fear of man. Washer corrects today’s over-emphasis on understanding and on catering to our culture. He exhorts us to understand and proclaim the only message with the power to save.

Preachers will be unable to read the book’s third section and rest easy that they adequately portray the gospel in all its glory. Do we rob men of a greater vision of God, because we shrink from giving them a lower vision of themselves? Is God’s holiness portrayed sufficiently to make our hearers loathe sin?

Are we a city-on-a-hill light that repels darkness? Does our portrayal of man’s moral darkness make the twin stars of God’s grace and mercy shine forth? Do our sermons on man’s depravity make the imputation of Christ’s righteousness seem the more wondrous?

Those depressed at the impotence of the modern ‘gospel’ will be edified by the portrayal of our Lord in the book’s closing chapters. It is joyful reading indeed, as facet upon facet of Christ’s infinite worth as redeemer is displayed.

We need more books that stir us to say with pride, ‘That’s my Saviour!’ Washer points us to the glories of Christ’s qualification as unique mediator: his propitiatory cross-work; his vindication of the Father as just and justifier; his high priestly office and overwhelming love; the power of his resurrection, and, finally, his ascension and return as sovereign and judge.

It is no mean feat to impart such sublime Christology in such down-to-earth terminology. The author concludes: ‘The eternal destiny of the entire human race depends upon its proper knowledge of the gospel’. This book is obligatory reading and should be in the hearts, lips and pulpits of every aspiring gospel church.

Ali McLachlan

Ali Mclachlan is the pastor of Grace Baptist Church in Edinburgh
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