Gospel Fluency by Jeff Vanderstelt is much greater than a book teaching Jesus followers how to articulate the gospel. It does this, but it also highlights the need for Jesus followers to be immersed in gospel truths every day. Vanderstelt likens gospel fluency to learning a language – a fluent speaker is one who is immersed in a language. To this end, to be fluent in the gospel is to be immersed in the gospel so that it shapes how you see the world, act, speak and engage with others. It is like having a life that flows from God into every aspect of our being and then on to others.
The crux of Gospel Fluency is that the gospel’s message is applicable every day as people follow Jesus. This is in contrast to the conversion oriented view many Christians understand the gospel. Vanderstelt explains that the gospel shapes how we understand God, ourselves and others as we follow Jesus. In doing this, Jesus is given centre stage of the Christian life.
The power of Vanderstelt’s book lies in his ability to teach in a way that is easy to understand. He supplements this with real-life examples that demonstrate his points. The examples aren’t glossy or superficial but have an air of authenticity which invites the reader to apply Vanstelt’s teaching into their own situations.
A useful part of the book deals with unbelief. Vanderstelt wrestles with the issue that followers of Jesus all have times or areas of life where they struggle to believe what God has done for them. He writes:
“I slip in and out of believing God’s word about me and trusting in his work for me. Jesus gave his life to make me a new creation. He died to forgive me of my sins and change my identity for sinner to saint, from failure to faithful, and from bad to good and even righteous and holy. But I forget what he has said about me. I forget what he has done for me. And sometimes it isn’t forgetfulness. Sometimes it’s just plain unbelief. I know these things. I just don’t believe them.“ (p. 20.)
This is true. We need the gospel to bring us back to Jesus. And we need others who will speak the truths of Jesus to us. Gospel Fluency helps us see our need to hear the gospel regardless of how long we’ve been following Jesus for.
Gospel Fluency is a must read book for followers of Jesus. It is full of practical ideas that will help you integrate your faith into the everyday stuff of life. The book will also help you see how the gospel relates to the way you see yourself and those around you. Gospel Fluency creates a way to speak the truths of the gospel in the midst of life. It is a book that has the potential to shape followers of Jesus for years to come.
Favourite Quotes from Gospel Fluency
We need the gospel and we need to become gospel-ﬂuent people. We need to know how to believe and speak the truths of the gospel— the good news of God— in and into the everyday stuff of life. In other words, we need to know how to address the struggles of life and the everyday activities we engage in with what is true of Jesus: the truths of what he accomplished through his life, death, and resurrection, and, as a result, what is true of us as we put our faith in him. The gospel has the power to affect everything in our lives. p. 23.
Most believers have become gospel-snippet people, who speak gospel catchphrases. They’re speaking gospelish, but not the actual gospel in a way people can hear and believe. They say: “Well, we preached the gospel, but they rejected it. People just have hard hearts and deaf ears.” p. 39.
He wants them to be able to translate the world around them and the world inside of them through the lens of the gospel— the truths of God revealed in the person and work of Jesus. Gospel-ﬂuent people think, feel, and perceive everything in light of what has been accomplished in the person and work of Jesus Christ. pp. 42-43.
People need heart change— not just once, but over and over again, because their love grows cold. People need to be deeply affected by the incredible news of Jesus on a daily basis. What affects you greatly creates in you great affections. And those affections lead you to express verbally and physically what you love most, because you talk about what you love. Furthermore, you love what you talk about. And we all talk about what most affects us— what most powerfully works to create change in our lives. p. 94.
When you don’t know the whole story of God, you tend toward making the Bible about you and not about Jesus. p. 151.