Ron’s #6: Today’s Gospel: Authentic or Synthetic by Walter Chantry ( 92 pages)

“Though it is proper to reason with men, persuade men, beseech men, there will be no response unless God in His grace attends with enabling power the words we speak. Our evangelism must be based upon a dependence on the Lord…it pleases God to raise dead sinners through the foolishness of the Gospel preaching” (86).

Today’s Gospel:Authentic or Synthetic is a book I read over ten years ago when I worked at Pilgrim Book and Bible. It was one of the first books I read after becoming a Reformed Christian. It helped me to see how preaching and evangelism fits into the larger picture of the sovereignty of God without merely handing out the “Four Spiritual Laws” booklets. It guided me in seeing how evangelism is not about slick presentations or fancy ploys to rush someone into faith. Rather, it focuses on relying on God Himself to bring lost sinners to Himself through preaching and sharing the Gospel.

Walter Chantry uses the encounter of the rich young ruler (Mark 10) as the frame story to contrast Jesus’ method of evangelism to modern evangelistic techniques (“modern” is relative; Chantry writes in 1970. I can’t imagine how this book would read if he used today’s techniques from Joel Osteen’s ilk). Rather than pushing for a “decision for Christ,” Jesus shows how he violates the Law in his “righteousness,” and that he is unwilling to repent. He allows the young man to leave to ponder the Gospel instead of having a quick decision. “To impress hearts with the gravity of the decision before them, we would do well to say, ‘Sit down and consider,’ rather than, ‘Stand up and come forward.’ (65).

I highly recommend this short book for those who are looking for a clearer picture of evangelism, an antidote to the poisonous moralistic, therapeutic Deism that runs rampant in our churches and our youth groups. While an excellent book for us lay people in churches, it is a must for you professional Christian workers.

About Ron 173 Articles
I teach English and government in Okinawa, Japan. I love reading theology and fiction, and helps keep me accountable. Reading with three kids under 5 is a bit of a challenge, but I keep trying to find ways to read more. My favorites writers are C. S. Lewis, Flannery O’ Connor, and Raymond Carver.

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