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jeannie rhee What is the Gospel?

by Greg Gilbert
There is a danger when a Christian reads books about Christianity. The essence
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of each book is nearly always already
existing in the Christians thought process, because the essence has a sense of fundamental truth. Therefore, there is a
tendency to skim, thinking, !eah yeah, " read that, " know that, mo#ing on.$ The danger is when the fundamentally true
is inherently complex. This is probably why " find it so difficult to read Christian books. The topics they address are both
fundamental, yet complex. %nd when these paradoxical ideas are presented in pithy statements or personal illustrations &to
which " can almost ne#er relate because they seem so.. white..' my mind immediately turns off. "f " persist in forcing my
attention juices on said Christian book, the immediate response is #isceral frustration.
(ut this was the assignment, so here " am.
The abo#e being said, this book is actually not too bad. The message is simple and straightforward, and easy to follow. )n
the surface, its an outline for an e#angelical heart as it bumbles in trying to explain a magnificent story in words that will
always be insufficient to completely and utterly express the grace in e#ery action and slight of hand &or *and'. *owe#er,
two subpoints were particularly poignant for me + the kingdom has already come &chapter ,' and if you are a Christian,
then after reading this book, to rest and rejoice &chapter -'.
.hen " dro#e home after the /T session that co#ered chapter ,, " remember being in a bit of a da0e. "t had ne#er occurred
to me that the kingdom had already come. " suppose " was li#ing under the idea that this kingdom come$ was to start
with the end of the world, and was a predetermined deadline, before which e#erything must happen + souls must be sa#ed,
my sanctification had to be as complete as possible, etc. (ut, as with most things, not knowing the date of the deadline
took away the urgency of these incredibly significant goals. Therefore, the reali0ation that the kingdom to come is not a
distant deadline, but rather an ongoing process that has already begun, brought e#erything into a new light. 1uddenly, the
church, including all churches " ha#e attended thus far, specifically, G2C, seemed different. There was a unifying goal
that was not as lofty as " had presumed, and e#en more all3important than " had e#er thought + more important because of
its imminence &or presence'. The church turned from a Its a Wonderful Lifes black and white to a Amelies brilliant high
definition colors
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.
The summary points in chapter - ha#e a pleasant pattern of parallelism
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. %fter reading this book and if not a Christian,
then repent and belie#e. %fter reading this book and if a Christian, then + and " expected something glorious, like, Go out
and plant a church6$ or, 1ell all your belongings and li#e contrary to the worlds ways6$ or, Go earn lots of money, be
successful, gi#e thanks to God when you are accepting your third 7obel peace pri0e, then go plant a church, but only after
selling all your belongings, first6$ "nstead, the command is to rest and rejoice.$ To rest is to no longer obsess o#er the
future, but to learn how to truly trust God, as e#idenced by a heart that does not worry about partnership, 2%881, 9:1;,
retirement plans, pensions, loan repayments, atrophying eggs, and a curiously immature heart, that, in spite of the
aforementioned laundry list of anxieties, has no desire for a long term plan. To rejoice is to not sit in gloom as " obsess
o#er bad patient encounters, frustration with ancillary staff, or an unspeakable anger against and on behalf of a
dysfunctional brother, but to be utterly thankful for< e#erything
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. (ut why does winning a 7obel pri0e seem easier than
resting and rejoicing= This is simply because resting and rejoicing is difficult to execute in times of e#en slight discontent.
To rest and rejoice is the natural response to a true understanding of the gospel. Therefore, if my response is to act and
worry instead of to rest and rejoice, then, ironically, this response is a result of being spiritually la0y$
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" feel like this essay has turned into one of my classic stream of consciousness pieces. *owe#er, in hopes of reclaiming a
semblance of an essay, here is my closing statement? in summation, " found this book more than tolerable, and the
discipleship training meetings during which we discussed the book contents, shared tidbits about each others li#es, and
pigged out on food, utterly blessing.
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i.e., lo#e God, read more bible, be acti#e in church
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both fantastic mo#ies, by the way. ha#e you seen them= if not, then.. mo#ie night=
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more so than this sentences awkward alliteration
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listing all that " considered in the split second before writing e#erything$ would definitely take me o#er the 134 page limit
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p 11>, you know the book, you know the edition. @inally, a semi3usefulAappropriate footnote.