Monday, December 19, 2011

How the Gospel Brings Us All the Way Home review


Title:  How the Gospel Brings Us All the Way Home
Author:  Derek W. H. Thomas


                At first glance, one might question why another book on the Gospel needs written.  Perhaps the question should be “What Gospel?”  In our society, many purpose to have the Truth or the Good News.  For those who think there are many “gospels,” they will find it difficult to read this book.  For those who genuinely want to know The Gospel, they might see this book as answer to that pervading quest.
                I wasn’t sure what to expect when I began reviewing this book.  All too often, the more one reads, the more one learns, and it isn’t always good, useful, or most importantly, Biblical. I was concerned the author would put forth a set of steps to follow and then end with a short prayer.  Perhaps others might expect something encouraging but not too heavy, or a view that does not take a stand because it might be divisive.  However, this is one book that focuses on what Paul wrote in Romans chapter 8.  I cannot commend Derek Thomas enough for taking the time to expound the Gospel as presented in this chapter.
                There are no excuses or watered-down truths.   Paul clearly states what we must accept.  Though written by a human author, ultimately, all must know that God inspired Paul to write this chapter as with all the chapters in the Bible.  Thomas doesn’t write in a way that makes it dry reading or sound like a purely academic exercise.  Throughout the book there are examples of how this particular portion of Scripture is understood by examples of life, people, and times.  One example is of Justin who authored the Vulgate.  Another example is taken from a real life accident as witnessed by many who were there and saw it as it happened.
                On page 11 of this book Thomas states: “Our greatest sins occur in church.”  Perhaps we need to really rethink this.  Why?  First, mankind assigns sins according to levels; God doesn’t.  Sin is sin.  Second, we are the Church, so sin is present in church no matter what we are saying or doing at any given moment.  Our need for God to be our salvation is quite evident.  We can’t go one second without finding ourselves thinking a wrong thought, saying the wrong thing, or doing the wrong thing.  The moment we fail to be “perfect” in thought or deed, we are a washed in shame.  Our shame always reminds us that we are sinners.  Sinners who believe are in Christ, and sinners who reject Him aren’t in Christ.  To post a “rethink” on an author’s premise may seem trivial to most, but if one follows the line of thinking, we can see how no thought is not connected to another somewhere down the line.
                Well, that is just the beginning, why not read the book and share your thoughts and comments?  The book takes the whole chapter of Romans 8 and breaks it down into bite-sized pieces.  It brings understanding to readers through real-life stories, examples, and other portions of Scripture. 
Notation:  I have received a copy of this book as compensation for my review from Reformation Trust, an imprint of Ligonier Ministries.