Book Review: Gospel Wakefulness

February 28, 2012

If you’re a longtime Christian, you’ll notice and experience times of profound spiritual dryness, seasons when it seems you are numbly walking through the motions. Or perhaps you’re a believer who has at one time believed the gospel, but have not seen it’s life-changing implications bear fruit.

Some might say you’re seeming spiritual deadness is because you never had the gospel at all. And that could be true. But it’s likely that you’ve got the gospel, but you’ve never been “awakened” by it. This is the crux of a new book by Jared C. Wilson, a prolific blogger, author, and pastor.

Gospel Wakefulness was a book I appreciated and loved reading for a few reasons. First is Wilson’s insane ability to craft words and phrases. This is not a book I had to push myself to finish, it was a book that sparkled and crackled from cover to cover. There are few, if any, wasted words in Wilson’s writing.

But the second and more important reason I enjoyed this book was Wilsons clear and concise explanation of theology. Gospel Wakefulness hits at a question many longtime believers ask themselves. Where is my excitement? Why do I continue to fail? Where is my joy, my life? 

Wilson refers those questions back to the place where our journey with God started, at the cross. His contention is that much of evangelical preaching is so man-centered, in that it gives bullet-point prescriptions for personal growth that lacks the power of the gospel. And it’s not that Christians aren’t saved, its that they’ve not fully looked into this Christ, they’ve not absorbed the gospel into their bloodstream so fully that it affects their affections, motivates their striving, and gives them a purpose for the rest of their earthly lives.

Wilson shares powerful chapters on the gospel and depression, the gospel and confidence, the gospel and growth/striving, the gospel and the church. This is a clarion call to return to “our first love” and embrace the gospel so fully that it can do nothing but affect our world and our lives.

This is not another book that slaps the word “gospel” in front of an idea, trying to bathe more man-centeredness with God. This is a simple, yet radical and clear call back to the big, one-story of the Scriptures: the work of Christ on our behalf to reconcile us to God.

This book resonated with me in a powerful way. I highly recommend it. And I’m deeply grateful to Jared Wilson for putting himself out there to write it. Please read it and pass it to a friend.

Additional Resources: 

Friday Five Interview with Jared C. Wilson