It isn’t often that I don’t fly through a book. I like to immerse myself in its pages, and leave a day or two later. There are only two reasons I don’t do that -- one is because I don’t like the book, or secondly, it is so filled with truth I can’t read it quickly or I’ll miss something. Counterfeit Gospels was the latter. Each chapter brought eye-opening revelations about how things have always been done and how the Bible presents truth.
Using the analogy of a three-legged stool, Tevin Wax explains major components to the Gospel: Story, Announcement, Community. When I saw the subsections of this book, I wondered how someone like me, raised in the church, educated in Christian schools, and VBS teacher could get much out of this book. I was pleasantly surprised as the author tackles some of the most prevalent themes in American Christianity.
For instance, in discussing sharing the Gospel, he makes the point that it used to be that every person in the United States was aware of the basics of the Bible. That is not always the case in this post-modern age in which we live. He explains it is important that we explain the why of needing a Savior. To someone like me who knew John 3:16 before I could read, it is hard to imagine people who didn’t grow up looking at flannel graph pictures of Adam and Eve covered in fig leaves talking to a snake, but there are people who don’t realize that God created a sinless world and that because we sin we have fallen short of God’s plan. The author of Counterfeit Gospels states that unless the problem is known (which started in the Garden of Eden) then how does one realize the solution (Jesus.)
While he tackles six false gospels that permeate our society (therapeutic, judgmentless, moralistic, quietist, activist, churchless). He explains why each one of these cannot be the true Gospel by bringing story, announcement and community into each one of these ideologies.
The one I really appreciated was the chapter on the activist gospel. He told the story, which to me was chilling, of a church that fought against the sale of alcohol in their community. When the ballot was brought before voters, and the county remained “dry”, a deacon said it was the best victory their church ever had. Really? While I won’t get into the debate of alcohol, if your church sees politics and activism as more important than people being saved, baptism, or discipleship, are you a church or a political party? I’ve seen so much activism in churches in the last few years, I sometimes wonder why those churches don’t remove the cross and replace it with a ballot box behind the altar.
This is a great book, and I recommend it to everyone, both new Christian, and those who have been in the church most of our lives. I promise you, though, if you take this book seriously, and you should, you will find yourself challenged as to if what you are believing is the Gospel God intended, or if it has been slightly distorted by what people have decided the Bible should say.
FTC disclaimer: I received a copy of this book free from Moody Publishers in exchange for a fair and honest review. The free book in no way influenced my opinion.