I am grateful for an resurgence in gospel-centered books that have been published lately from the likes of Greg Gilbert, Kevin DeYoung, and C.J. Mahaney. Bryan Loritt’s adds fuel to the gospel blaze in his new work, A Cross-Shaped Gospel.
The thesis: “We need a two-part gospel – a holistic gospel, a gospel that loves both the Father and His Son, the Redeemer Jesus, and at the same time declares that love as it seeks the souls of the lost.” The author maintains, we must be sure to balance the vertical beam of the cross by calling sinners to be reconciled with a holy God through the work of his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. But we must also emphasis the horizontal beam of the cross by reaching out in our communities and engaging people where they live.
The author stresses the need for diversity in the church – but never at the expense of the gospel. He adds, “Biblical community has always celebrated diversity, but because of the centrality of the gospel, diversity does not become a rallying cry … Race never becomes the focal point in Christocentric community; Jesus does.” So again, the author strikes the proper balance.
A Cross-Shaped Gospel is both refreshing and challenging. It steers clear from guilt motivation and lures readers toward gospel-centered obedience. One only hopes this work will receive a wide reading in the days to come. The church will grow stronger and communities will be transformed because the followers of Christ incarnated the gospel.