Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Just last night, I got my copy of The Gospel Driven Life in the mail from Amazon. The Gospel Driven Life is Michael Horton's latest book, and it's a sequel of sorts to his wonderfully received book Christless Christianity. I haven't finished the book in 18 hours yet, but the portion I have read is wonderful. I suggest you get this if you can. Here's a good summary of the book courtesy of the introduction from the downloadable first chapter:
"The goal of this book is to reorient our faith and practice as Christians and churches toward the gospel: that is, the announcement of God’s victory over sin and death in his Son, Jesus Christ. The first six chapters explore that breaking news from heaven, while the rest of the book focuses on the kind of community that this gospel generates in the world. It is not merely that there is a gospel and then a community made up of people who believe it; the gospel creates the kind of community that is even now an imperfect preview of the kingdom’s marriage feast that awaits us. The church is its own culture, not only with its distinct story and doctrine, but with its own “politics” and means. Consistent with the message that it proclaims, the church is receiving its life, identity, growth, and expansion from above rather than creating these for itself and from its own resources.Here's a link to find out more about the book including places to purchase it and download the first chapter, and here's "the official" Lane's Blog seal of approval. :) :
Distinguished from all religions, spiritualities, and philosophies
of life, the Christian faith is, at its heart, a gospel (meaning “Good
News”). The church originates, flourishes, and fulfills its mission as
that part of God’s world that has been redeemed and redefined by
this strange announcement that seems foolish and powerless to the
rest of the world. In other words, every believer—and the church
corporately—has passed from death to life by being made a recipient
of God’s activity.
Following from Christless Christianity: The Alternative Gospel
of the American Church, this book explores the greatest story ever
told and the surprising ways in which God is at work, gathering a
people for his feast in a fast-food world. With The Gospel-Driven
Life, we turn from the crisis to solutions, in the hope that we will see
a new reformation in the faith, practice, and witness of contemporary
The Good News is not just a series of facts to which we yield our
assent but a dramatic narrative that replots our identity. Think of
it in terms of a theatrical play. Each week we come to church with
our own scripts. If yours is anything like mine, it’s “the show about
nothing.” Yet God descends to give us a new script: a rich plot in
which our original character dies and is raised with the lead character.
Instead of trying to find a supporting role for God in our play, God
writes us into his script as part of a growing cast for his new world.
This script does not offer a blueprint for a new creation, if we will
only follow certain steps for realizing it. Instead, through this gospel
the Spirit sweeps us into the drama, into the new creation that has
already been inaugurated. No longer “in Adam,” under the reign of
sin and death, we are “in Christ.”
The book is divided into two sections: Looking Up, Looking Out
and Looking Around, Looking Ahead. I’ve chosen to use a number
of “news” metaphors in this book—“breaking news,” “front-page,”
“headlines”—to emphasize both the urgency of the gospel and the
surprising, unexpected means by which God communicates it to us.
We don’t find the truth about God, ourselves, or the world by looking
within, but by being drawn outside of ourselves. Having been
turned inside out, we look up in faith toward God and out toward our
neighbors in loving service and witness. Surprising news has a way of
focusing us on something “out there” in the real world rather than on
our own assumptions, experiences, and speculations. Only the Spirit,
working through the gospel, has this kind of power to bring about a new
creation in the midst of the old. Gradually, we discover that the world
outside is more interesting than the inner world of narcissistic preoccupation.
It is a liberation that we never expected, much less achieved
for ourselves. It’s a gift. It is the marriage supper that is promised in the
gospel and of which the Spirit gives us a foretaste in this present age.
While our consumer culture offers instant gratification in drive-thru
spiritualities, the gospel seats us at the table with Abraham, Isaac, and
Jacob, as the Triune God serves us with his heavenly gifts.
A new reformation requires both a change in our message and our
methods. It’s not only our beliefs, but our personal and corporate
practices, that must change. If our churches today are focused on our
action, piety, and world-transforming agendas, then the crying need
of our day is to recover the focus on Christ as the host and the meal
that delivers forgiveness, new life, and genuine transformation in a
world that is literally wasting away.
Like Christless Christianity, this book is written for a wide audience
of Christians who are burned out on hype and are looking for
hope. It especially targets younger laypeople, parents, and pastors
who want to see their own lives and their churches become more