A Review for Gospel-Believers

December 11, 2008 at 7:29 am (The Book Shelf) (, , , , , , , , )

Posted by Abigail

A Gospel Primer for Christians by Milton Vincent

Book Type: Theological meets practical, Christian Living

Rating: 10 out of 10

Recommended? For every believer


Overview:

I was wallowing in a pit of despair one evening, feeling completely helpless, useless and unholy. I’m a self-punisher, so to make up for the lack of results I was seeing in my life and family/discipleship relationships, I gave myself the stern order “Tonight you are going to sit down and read the book of Romans.” Overwhelmed at first by the feeling of being lost, I forced myself on through the end–the glorious end when the gospel comes to life full of hope. And I wept because, once again, I was overwhelmed my my own unworthiness and God’ abundant mercy. The next night I finished “A Gospel Primer”–and read Milton’s recap of the gospel. All his reasons for rehearsing the gospel had been encouraging, but I’d thought I was already doing it on my own. I realized I’d become despairing because my understanding often passed over an important gospel truth–“There is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus.”


Mr. Vincent carefully proves from scripture the need for Christians to hear the gospel. The gospel is a means of salvation, but salvation doesn’t end at justification. Then he provides two gospel narratives–prose and poetry–which clearly and concisely lay out the truth of Jesus’ work on our behalf and the results of justification. He winds up with his own gospel story–how the full gospel set him free from guilt and anxiety regarding his salvation.


The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly:

I’ve rarely seen a handbook more thoroughly annotated. Each page is nearly half full of footnotes–all straight scripture to back up Milton’s statements. If a good teacher opens up the scriptures to his readers, then I’d have to call this “good”. And surprisingly, I lost sight of how bad and ugly I am in light of the glory of God’s grace–which is the truly important thing.


Praises:

It’s clear, concise and broken in to brief, easy-to-read portions. The flow is smooth, logical and comfortable. I appreciated the two gospel narratives–as examples that simply proved that retelling needn’t always be the same. In an age where a man-centered gospel has produced deceivers and deceived, Milton brings us back the the gospel truth–the good news is Jesus! For those who truly desire to serve and love God, the truth breaks the bonds of slavery to a law of righteousness, and brings the liberty to be satisfied in Jesus, knowing that, through Him, God is satisfied with us.


Concerns:

Can produce hyper-activity, if you’re of a similar temperament to mine. I walked around singing and bouncing off of furniture the next day. Scripture says good news is like cold water to the thirsty–for me, it’s more like espresso.


Tips for getting the most out of this book:

Read slowly. It’s a small book, but it ought to take you a while. Get out your Bible and backcheck all the references–read them in context. Don’t be afraid to reread. Highlight the parts that speak to your specific struggles so you can come back to them! Pencil in any references you can think of. Read the gospel narratives, read Romans straight through, write your own narratives, pray your own narratives, thank God for the gospel (all of it!) and then share it every chance you get! Not because you have to, or because it will earn you anything, but because it’s the most amazing story in the world!

gospel-primer

Download the PDF from Cornerstone Bible Church (Milton’s home church).

Buy from Cornerstone Bible Church.


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3 Comments

  1. Sydney said,

    Sounds like a very inspiring book. I’m gonna have to add it to my reading list!

    Sydney

  2. nobody416 said,

    Yet another book to add to my reading list… I could probably easily have enough books to read to last me a life time. 🙂 It sounds like a wonderful book. Have you read “A Cross Centered Life” by C.J. Mahaney? “A Gospel Primer” sounds very similar to it. I think you would really like it Abigail, it has sure blessed me a lot.

  3. Kevin Anderson said,

    I bought A Gospel Primer last year at a conference Pastor Vincent was speaking at. It’s a stunning book. 10 out of 10 isn’t high enough praise. This book should be read by every Christian. First the Bible, second, A Gospel Primer.

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