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Darrell Bock’s Recovering the Real Lost Gospel, Reviewed by Matthew Jones

Pneuma Review Spring 2013

Darrell Bock, Recovering the Real Lost GospelDarrell L. Bock, Recovering the Real Lost Gospel: Reclaiming the Gospel as Good News (Nashville: B & H Academic, 2010), 146 pages, ISBN 9780805464658.

In a postmodern era engaged in endless speculation and thought provoking possibilities, Dr. Darrell Bock, Senior Research Professor of New Testament Studies at Dallas Theological Seminary (DTS), offers a return to the basics of the Gospel. Bock accurately perceives that the message of the Gospel has, at best, become “cloudy.” The messages of promised prosperity, political progress, personal protection or providential piety cloud the clarity of the good news. The purpose of the good news becomes lost in the midst of a world clamoring for something opposed to what they observe on a regular basis. Consequently, Bock attempts to clear the murky waters that have diminished the power of the good news and diluted the message of the Gospel. The author recovers what has been lost in regard to the Gospel so that the reader can experience the transformation available by the act and grace of God through the cross and made possible by the Holy Spirit so that one might know the presence of God.

Experiencing the presence of God involves more than the pneumatic fervor associated with Holy Spirit baptism. Bock, while initiating the discussion of the promise of a relationship with the Holy Spirit, effectively addresses other components essential to experiencing God’s presence. For the primary audience of The Pneuma Review, Bock’s text may not sufficiently emphasize the charismatic nature of the relationship between the Holy Spirit and the believer. In spite of this, Recovering the Real Lost Gospel deserves attention from all ministers of the Gospel. The Gospel serves as the core of not only what we are communicating to those willing to hear but also the foundation by which we build upon our relationship with God so we might experience his presence. Bock’s text might further benefit from a greater emphasis upon the charismatic component of experiencing the presence of God. In spite of this, his text acknowledges the significance of the Holy Spirit in relationship to the Gospel.

Methodically utilizing practical and usable illustrations throughout the text, Bock addresses the Gospel and the import of the sacraments, the cross, and the gift of God’s grace. Thankfully, Bock’s text also addresses the reality of sin. He reminds the reader that sin still exists but the beauty of the Gospel woos the follower of Jesus Christ to live in right relationship with God and his creation. Acknowledging and addressing this vital component of the Gospel, Bock jogs the memory of his readers regarding the power of God’s salvation. The Gospel paves the way for repentance, faith, reconciliation and restoration whereby each individual possesses the potential to experience a relationship with God through the Holy Spirit. While Bock acknowledges the believer’s relationship with the Holy Spirit, he indicates that recovering the lost Gospel embraces a much more comprehensive understanding of the presence of God.

As a former pastor, I read this text with the pastor and lay leader in mind. I can confidently say that Bock’s text accomplishes its goal to assist in rescuing the Gospel as good news. Even though his emphasis is not upon the charismatic component consequent to the spread of the Gospel, he acknowledges the value and role of the Holy Spirit in experiencing the presence of God. In spite of this lack of emphasis upon the pneumatic nature of our experience with God, reading this text can cause its reader to consider whether the Gospel needs reclamation in one’s personal life and in the life of her or his congregation. I agree that the message of the Gospel has been lost, and thankfully, Darrell Bock helps his readers to reclaim the beauty of the Gospel so that those who lead, teach or interact with this text can assist in rediscovering the beauty of the Gospel.

Reviewed by Matthew Jones

Preview: http://books.google.com/books?id=UwG9bK4-RekC

About the Author
Matthew JonesMatthew Jones, Th.M., is currently pursuing a Ph.D. through Regent University in Renewal Studies with a concentration in Biblical Studies while serving as an Advisor and Affiliate Professor at Colorado Christian University. Matt is married to Cathy Jones and loves hanging out with his three children, Hannah, Tyler and Kenzie.

 

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Category: Biblical Studies, Spring 2013

About the Author: Matthew Jones, Th.M., is currently pursuing a Ph.D. through Regent University in Renewal Studies with a concentration in Biblical Studies while serving as an Advisor and Affiliate Professor at Colorado Christian University. Matt is married to Cathy Jones and loves hanging out with his three children, Hannah, Tyler and Kenzie.

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