Gospel Fluency (book review)

Gospel fluency: speaking the truths of Jesus into the everyday stuff of life
Jeff Vanderstelt
Crossway, 2017

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Having enjoyed Jeff Vanderstelt’s previous book, Saturate, I thought this was worth a look. The subtitle reads ‘speaking the truths of Jesus into the everyday stuff of life’, and what’s not to like about that?

Early on Vanderstelt diagnoses what he sees as the problem. Many Christians speak about the gospel but people don’t listen to what they’re saying, and so they conclude: ‘People just have hard hearts and deaf ears’. However Vanderstelt believes it’s actually because many Christians are speaking ‘gospelish’ – a set of phrases or propositions which don’t make sense to their hearers’ context, culture or language. Therefore people are not rejecting the gospel, they’re rejecting what Christians are saying because there’s no good news coming through.

However, we have to wait nearly 100 pages until the author starts talking about what ‘Gospel Fluency’ actually looks like. The first two thirds of the book largely just elaborates on what the gospel looks like in day to day life and how to use it to fight sin etc. It also includes a slightly odd chapter where he coaches his wife through her anxiety issues (‘What else do you believe, babe?’).

Once we finally get to the 4th and 5th of the 5 sections of the book (speaking the gospel into the lives of our churches and then into the lives of unbelievers), it finally feels like you’re reading the book that was advertised. He provides many helpful examples of what speaking the truths of the gospel into everyday situations looks like. It’s a great vision of God’s people speaking more about Jesus both to themselves and to outsiders.

Overall I enjoyed the book and I’m glad I read it, but would have felt short-changed if I’d paid money expecting it all to be about what’s described in the subtitle (especially if it was the £18 the book costs on Amazon!). But if it’s going cheap some time it would be worth picking up, even just for those final two sections.

Thanks to Crossway for a complimentary copy of this book through their Beyond the Page review programme.