Volume 39 - Issue 3
Faithmapping: A Gospel Atlas for Your Spiritual Journeyby Mike Cosper and Daniel Montgomery
All of us have been faced with directional challenges whether driving or seeing ourselves as Christians. We have signs to follow. Montgomery and Cosper enter the conversation on the challenges that every Christian faces regarding their “spiritual atlas” that is needed to make correct biblical decisions. They provide a picture of their own confusion of directional challenges and the experiences that shaped their ministry at Sojourn Community Church in Louisville.
Faithmapping directs Christians to discern the competing voices of our culture. The cultural milieu contains mutually competing voices seeking to serve as our “reliable guide” (p. 13). The guide is the diverse voices of our culture. They suggest that with multiple guides emerges greater “confusion” (p. 13). Montgomery and Cosper establish four cycles that the church must contend against: confusion, hype, division, and instability (p. 13). Their desire is to provide a faith map for living and helping the reader move from the “familiar territory of self-centeredness” to the “glorious wilderness” of worship of God (p. 12).
The first competing message is confusion. The confusion that the Christian faces goes back to the Tower of Babel (p. 13). The authors say the gospel is oversimplified and has become watered down. They suggest better “definitions” on the gospel, the church, and the mission can be provided, and that these should be “sharp and clear” (p. 13). They suggest the gospel should be threefold: (1) The gospel is about Christ himself—his life, death, and resurrection, atoning for the sins of his people. (2) The gospel of sonship has to do with the adoptive nature of God’s grace, transforming us in light of our new identity as his children. (3) The gospel of the kingdom refers to the renewal of the whole world, a renewal launched through Jesus and his people, the church, and a renewal that will one day be completed when Christ comes a second time (p. 21).
Second, the church must deal with the hype of the culture. The authors suggest that the Christian is faced with promises from the culture that compete with the promises of God. The Christian searches for clarity for the “good life” (p. 14) and often accepts the “loudest voices” of the culture (p. 14). But the loudest voice leaves the congregation “dizzy” with a “spiritual hangover” (p. 15).
The third competing voice is division. Opposing trends disrupt unity and bring about opposition in the church (John 17) (p. 15). The church should pray Jesus’ prayer for unity rather than division.
The fourth competing voice is instability. The Christian finds little stability in the church as messages do not align with the gospel. They must wade through the various roadmaps and directional points that prevent one from the “following the ancient paths” (Jer 6:16). The Christian listens to the competing voices of “gurus, consultants, and armchair theologians” that do not help the kingdom person through the wilderness (p. 16).
The authors tackle the four cycles through three helpful sections: “The Whole Gospel” (chs. 1–4), “The Whole Church” (chs. 5–9), and “The Whole World” (ch. 10). The sections provide the Christian a careful map that will lead them to greater kingdom ministry (pp. 30–31). At the close of each chapter, other than chapter 10, the authors suggest practical helps called “Map It.” The “Map It” sections give the reader practical hands-on suggestions for their Gospel Atlas to be put into action (pp. 43–44; 67–68; 85–86; 96–99; 120, 141–142; 157; 174–175). Chapter 10 finalizes their thoughts on the kingdom value of grace. Grace directs the Christian to see the gospel through their location (p. 202), their vocation, (pp. 206–7), their recreation (pp. 207–10), their restoration (pp. 210–12), and the call to multiplication (pp. 212–13).
The authors are correct to suggest that Christians face many choices on their spiritual journey. They do not provide, however, helpful distinctions from the ecclesiastical traditions which help clarify their message. Many of the book citations emerge from opposing ecclesial traditions that could unwittingly lead readers to greater confusion. Nevertheless, this wise book will provide helpful guidance for Christians as they wade through this perplexing, fallen world.
Crossroads Bible College
Indianapolis, Indiana, USA
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