Unbelievable Gospel

Book Review: Unbelievable Gospel by Jonathan Dodson.

Jonathan Dodson says that the Gospel is often unbelievable because:

  • Although the Gospel is good news, many don’t know how the Gospel is good news for them.
  • Christians may be good at telling what the Gospel is, but are poor at saying what the Gospel does.
  • Five common stereotypes of evangelism – preachy, impersonal, intolerant, know-it-all, and shallow evangelism – make Christians reluctant to share the Gospel.

In this short, lively, and practical book, Jonathan shares from his own experience how he has learned to help people know not only what the Gospel is, but how the Gospel is good news for them; and to do so in a way that avoids being preachy, impersonal, intolerant, etc.

What I especially appreciated was the way that Jonathan demonstrated how these “unbelievable” forms of evangelism result from wrong theology. This is not just about better technique; it’s about better theology; and better technique will be the result. I also liked how Jonathan communicated this theology using five vivid biblical metaphors, making it accessible and memorable.

You don’t need to agree with every detail of Jonathan’s cultural engagement to benefit from this book. It’s certainly helped me to get a little further along the road of the what, why, and how of personal evangelism.

Buy Unbelieveable Gospel by Jonathan Dodson. You can follow Jonathan on Twitter or read his articles at Gospel Centered Discipleship.

Check out

Lunch with the Vicar of Baghdad
Andy wants us to learn about community rebuilding from the Vicar of Baghdad.

Leading distracted people
Adam Stadtmiller has five pieces of advice for shepherding overwhelmed people. The most important is #1: Model margin and peace. I know very, very few pastors who do this, and it often puts huge pressure on the other men in a congregation.

10 Reasons to Believe in a Historical Adam
Kevin DeYoung  shoots 10 bullets from the hip.

Why Rosa Parks still matters
Three reasons from Russell Moore.

Learning to be a moral minority
Thabiti turns to the African American church to teach Christians  how to live and serve as a minority.

Seven deadly thoughts of leaders
“Most great leadership failures, however, don’t begin with some stupid action. The leader usually has thoughts about the action well before he or she actually makes them. Some of those thoughts can be warning signs to heed. They are like the bright, flashing red light that demands we stop. Failure to stop can result in great harm.”

8 Principles of Bible Interpretation [Video]

Email and RSS readers click here to view video.

Exegesis is the process that is used to explain the meaning and message of a text of Scripture. In this video I explain how biblical exegesis:

  1. Begins with prayer
  2. Is hard work
  3. Can be learned
  4. Gets easier
  5. Is practical
  6. Must be limited
  7. Asks questions
  8. Is not preaching.

Previous videos in the How Sermons Work series here.

What to look for in a pastor

Book Review: What to look for in a Pastor by Brian Biedebach

A book designed to help pastoral search committees ask and answer six fundamental questions:

  1. Can the man preach effectively?
  2. What else should he do as pastor?
  3. Is he qualified?
  4. Is he theologically sound
  5. Does his practical theology match his written theology?
  6. How can a church find this man?

Quite a bit of the material is fairly standard fayre on pastoral character and responsibilities. However, Brian does make four valuable contributions.

1. A brief survey of what expository preaching actually means, considering three main views, and concluding with a balanced and comprehensive definition (chapter 1).

2. The much-needed biblical emphasis that the preacher must also be a pastor, a shepherd with seven responsibilities (chapter 2).

3. A history of the evangelical and fundamentalist movements over the last 100+ years, together with helpful graphics explaining the six different groups that now exist (three evangelical and three fundamentalist groups). Very helpful in identifying both where your church is and where potential candidates are in the theological spectrum (chapter 4).

4. How to find out if a man’s theology is merely theoretical or if it is also worked out consistently in his life (chapter 5). This is the best chapter in the book and helps pastoral search committees to get beyond a man’s verbal or written confession of faith to what he actually practices. He suggests six areas to discuss with a candidate: the authority of scripture, creation, the sovereignty of God, sin, music in the church, and spiritual gifts.

Pastoral search committees will find some helpful practical material in chapter 6 and in also the appendices, which contain questions to ask a prospective senior pastor and a checklist for clarity in a call.

Although this book will be especially useful to independent Baptist churches, all pastoral search committees would find this a useful book to study early in the search process.

Buy What to Look for in a Pastor by Brian Biedebach. Brian teaches at African Bible College and is helping to establish an international church in Lilongwe, Malawi. He blogs at By the Brook.

Check out

Going outside the camp
Superb article here on the Ligonier website about one man’s struggle with his son’s mental illness and what he wants the church to learn from it.

Rainfall and things that abide forever
Augustine of Hippo once wrote: “In the study of created things we must not exercise a mere idle and passing curiosity, but must make them a stepping-stone to things that are immortal and that abide forever.”

MOOC Divinity School
With the advent of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC), Scott McKnight envisages the future of the Seminary. Deliberately overstated (I think), but in some parts not from from what will become a reality.

My valuable cheap College degree
President of the American Enterprise Institute makes the moral case for the $10K BA.

Why do you encourage Christians to live more separate lives?
R. C. Sproul Jr. answers.

The Art of Restoration Amidst Detroit’s Ruined Walls
Watch how this talented artist turns ugliness into beauty. 

Children’s Bible Reading Plan

This week’s morning and evening reading plan in Word and pdf.

This week’s single reading plan for morning or evening in Word and pdf.

If you want to start at the beginning, this is the first 12 months of the children’s Morning and Evening Bible reading plan in Word and pdf.

And here’s the first 12 months of the Morning or Evening Bible reading plan in Word and pdf.

Here’s an explanation of the plan.

And here are the daily Bible Studies gathered into individual Bible books. Further explanation of that here.

Old Testament

New Testament

May God bless you and your children as you study the Word of life.