We've all seen those Where's Waldo books, the ones with a million guys dressed up in white and red striped shirts. We've all wracked our brains looking for this Harry Potter looking dude who seems to stick out from all the rest. What we don't often see is the fact that there are many different gospels which are dressed up like the real thing yet they are always missing something, or are different all together. In Counterfeit Gospels, Trevin Wax brings together an overview of those "gospels" which as we are told in the Bible, are no gospels at all.
Trevin goes on to detail the gospel as a three-legged stool which contains the Gospel Story, the Gospel Announcement, and the Gospel Community, or in other words, the grand narrative of scripture, the announcement of Jesus' life, death and resurrection, and finally the church. In explanation of this three-legged stool, Trevin tells us, "The gospel story provides the biblical narrative necessary for us to understand the nature of the gospel announcement. Likewise, the gospel announcement births the gospel community that enters its common life upon the transformative truth of Jesus Christ......Cut off one of these legs and the whole thing tips over".
This book was well researched and well put together. Perhaps one of the most helpful aspects of this book is a portion in each chapter which counters the counterfeit. Trevin places the common misconceptions next to biblical truth in order to show us why it's lacking but why many see the errancy as truth. This portion has helped me in my own life to distinguish between the false gospels and the ones that are true. People today seem satisfied with half gospels or half truth. When I think of some aspects of this book, It makes me think of church leaders such as, Joel Osteen and Rob Bell. Them and others like them seem to have portions of the gospel in the light but lay other pieces in dark places as to not expose their people to a whole view of God's truth, which causes me to fear for their congregations souls.
Some pastors are quoted as saying, "We don't want to offend any one with announcing the dark parts in scripture. There is enough despair in the world today and we don't want to add to that here". Oh how the offense of the cross has been removed in order that they may live comfortable and happy christian lives with no call of sacrifice and no glimpse of truth in their speech. Trevin calls the church back to a whole gospel view instead of one whose pieces are missing and in disarray. A clarion trumpet call from this book is sounded to get us back to the gospel found in the pages of the Bible and to the whole view of God's plan.
Another big issue that I was aware of, which Trevin exposed, was that of Social Justice. The approach most often seen with those who are zealous for Social Justice is that they always seem to leave out the gospel. I have books on my shelf which elaborate the point of activism but it's never backed up with the power wrought in the gospel message. The message always seems to be on the back burner and the cause always seems to be on the front. Trevin prophetically points us in the right direction. "The activist gospel is a counterfeit that unites that church around a cause. Gospel-driven activism is the outworking of a church united around the gospel. Avoid the first. Embrace the second."
I am very blessed to have picked up this book, for I learned a great deal from it. I pray that whoever reads this review would do the same and get this book for yourself and a couple for your friends. I would give this book five stars and will definitely bend back the cover often. If you would like more information on Trevin Wax you can always check out his blog Kingdom People. His blog has helped to instruct me in wisdom from God's word and has encouraged me in my own ministry setting. The world needs more preachers who are committed to preach the entire gospel and I pray that God would honor men like Trevin and his pursuit of exposing the counterfeit gospels.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free from Moody Publishers in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”