Do you know the true Gospel? Do you know it well enough to tell it apart from a counterfeit? 2 Timothy 4:3-4 says, “for the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.” Ever since Jesus ascended into heaven in Acts 1, men have done just what these verses describe. What about you? Have you turned towards people who just “tickle your ears?” Have you turned away from the truth, maybe even without knowing it? This is what Counterfeit Gospels is all about: helping you come to a clearer understanding of what the true gospel is as well as identifying a number of counterfeits.
Trevin Wax does an amazing job spelling out how counterfeit gospels differ with the true gospel. Where does the need for a book such as this come from? Trevin calls it a threefold crisis within the church: 1- Lack of Gospel confidence, 2- Lack of Gospel clarity, and 3- Lack of gospel community (p. 14-15). So how do we understand the true gospel? He then describes the gospel as a “three-legged stool” with the legs being: the gospel story, the gospel announcement, and the gospel community (p. 16). “Cut off one of these legs, and the whole thing tips over” (p. 17).
The counterfeit gospels in the church today resemble the biblical gospel in some ways, and yet fail to incorporate and integrate all that the Bible says about the good news. Each counterfeit is like a colony of termites, eating away at one of the legs of the stool and therefore toppling the stool and damaging the other components as well. (p. 17)
Each leg is necessary and as the author explains each counterfeit, you are able to see and understand how they miss one of the legs necessary. Many of these counterfeits have infiltrated the church and many self-professing Christians would not know the difference. This is dangerous to the church because there are many who label themselves “Christian” and yet they have no idea how to explain the gospel to someone. As a youth pastor, it is easy to see why this is a problem: many people who call themselves “Christians” have put their faith and trust in a false gospel that is leading them straight to hell, even though they believe they are saved. If you cannot see the peril in this, maybe you too have fallen for one of the counterfeits.
I have said this about a number of books I have reviewed and this book is no different. Counterfeit Gospels would be beneficial for any pastor, ministry leader or volunteer to read through. Or, if you want to just read it to get a more firm grip on what the gospel is, then this book is definitely for you. I will use it as a reference for a long time. Even though it is already 3 years old, published in 2011, the truth within the pages is spot on. Pick up a copy and use it to help you grow in your knowledge of the gospel and then share it with others so the Kingdom of God is grown.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Moody Publishers in exchange for this review.