Monday, August 29, 2011

Preface/Intro to The World-Tilting Gospel, by Dan Phillips

I am reading a wonderful book by blogger Dan Phillips (see his blog here) (also team-blogger here) and wanted to share my thoughts on it in hopes that others may read the book and pass it along or suggest it to others.  I originally intended to put all my thoughts together and write one review for the whole book, but I've been taking so many notes that I thought it might be best to just review sections of the book at a time.  The book is titled The World-Tilting Gospel, and in it Dan takes aim at the problems that exist in "today's church scene".  This is a book that I feel is long overdue to give some perspective from a biblical worldview and counter much of the pop culture stream of thought that is present in churches today.  So without further ado, let me get into reviewing the preface and introduction.

The preface starts with a mention of the inspiration for the book coming from a message that David Wells delivered at the Founder's Conference in June of 2007.  Wells basically made the point that God has laid out the truth in the Bible and that the biblical worldview "is the way God has taught us in his Word to view the world."  From there, Dan gets to the heart of the problem in the modern evangelical scene when he says, "Folks have signed on without any real grasp of the gospel in all its fullness and power."  He says that people see the gospel as the "ticket 'in'" and as "beginner's material".  We basically take that initial step and get our way in and "move on to something else."  I wholeheartedly agree with this assessment and really appreciate how he lays everything out here from the get-go.  In fact, reading the preface just made me want to tear right on through the book, but at a pace where I could really enjoy every little bit.  He even lays out an outline in bullet points in the preface to show the issues that he is going to cover in the book. These are things like who we are, who God is, what kind of world we live in...things that most people don't really understand, but that I believe all true Christians should have a good knowledge of.  So he has given us a good idea of what to expect as we slip through the pages...have your Bibles handy as you read, though, because Dan does a great job of referencing the Bible as he lays out the truths of the Gospel.

As he moves into the introduction, Dan lays out some key contrasts between the church scene today and the New Testament times.  In order to do so, he takes us back to Thessalonica in Acts 17 when Jason and some of his friends were dragged off in front of the city officials.  The charge against him was that he took in some people who "turned the world upside down".   Dan asks the question, "How did they do it?" and then lays out the contrasts for us to see.  They didn't have all of the tools that the church-growth movement utilizes, yet they were highly effective in their work.  So let's look at some of the areas of difference that Dan lays out:
  • The source of material for preaching
  • Why people became Christians
  • Knowledge of sin, what is needed, and what God has done.
  • The biblical worldview involved with the church 
  • The connection between obedience and belief
  • Making Jesus the issue
We then read of the barriers that exist as Dan lays out a section titled "Barrier Busting".  He makes a good point that "many people who regard themselves as Christians are utterly clueless about the most fundamental truths.  They don't understand what God says about the human condition."  The text also lays out some of the main problems that arise from the bad teaching that exists in today's church scene and makes the point that the Gospel truly does bring good news to people who have been adversely affected by bad teaching.  As we read further, we see that we need "A Whole-Bible Gospel" and not the empty calories that the modern church-growth movement offers.  Dan lays out the four parts of his presentation and the "crescendo" that he has titled "Culmination: Putting It All Together".  He gives a few notes for how to approach reading the book and recommends a few preparations (I would follow them so that you can be fully enriched by the reading of the book).

I will say that I have read through to the middle of the second part (I'm in Chapter 5) and going back and reading these notes from the Preface/Introduction and typing this have made me appreciate the book a bit more.  I like they way it is laid out and how Dan takes the time to lay the foundation and build carefully upon it each step of the way.  And as he does so, he keeps you interested as he develops ideas from Scripture and throws in some good humor along the way.  I highly recommend the book just based upon reading about half of it so fact, I'd say it would be a great book for nominal and immature Christians to get them thinking about what the Bible really says it means to be a Christian.


  1. Keep thius series coming, I'm only expecting my copy in December.

  2. You won't be disappointed with the book. I think I'm going to buy a copy for our youth pastor and see if he might look at covering it with them.

    As for my reviews, I'll try to post weekly, but that all depends on how much time I have between a couple of studies I'm doing with my wife. I plan on reviewing a couple of chapters at a time through the whole book, though. I really do feel like this book is what a lot of people need to read these days...mainly because it focuses on what the Bible says and how that conflicts with what many modern church movements put forth.