Friday, March 8, 2013

Review of Faithmapping: A Gospel Atlas for Your Spiritual Journey

I saw a movie once—or maybe it was a dream that I had—where a bunch of people had been given a treasure map. This treasure map, like almost all treasure maps, was to help them find buried treasure. Each thought that they had the whole map. But as the movie—or my dream—unfolded everyone realized that they only had a piece of the map. They needed to combine all the pieces in order to find the treasure map.

Am I a loon? Isn’t there a movie with that plot? Maybe it’s about 4 movies combined into one awesome movie that only shows in the theater of my mind. Either way there is a book that makes a similar point. That book is Faithmapping by Daniel Montgomery and Mike Cosper.

Cosper and Montgomery believe that “we are navigating the Christian life with fragments of a map—bits and pieces of the good news—rather than the whole picture”. Faithmapping is an attempt to “put those map fragments together”. They argue that we ought to think of the gospel in a tri-perspectival manner. Rather than emphasizing the kingdom, the cross, or grace we ought to bring these all together into a whole gospel.

The churches identity and mission flow out the gospel. “…the gospel, the church, and our mission are a coherent, organic, interrelated whole, rather than distinct independent ideas”. That is why the authorial intention of this book is to map a “whole gospel for the whole church on mission in the whole world”.

The book is structured around these themes. First, the whole gospel is outlined. One chapter is given to each of the perspectives (kingdom, cross, grace) and then and argument is made that we need the whole gospel. The gospel informs the churches identity. The second section outlines these five aspects of “gospel-informed identity”. These five might sound familiar: worship, family, servants, disciples, and witnesses. The last section, only one chapter, makes the argument that it is within the whole world that the church lives out their “gospel-transformed lives”.

The book is well written. Jessica Thompson is correct when she says “it is theologically profound and yet very easy to read”. Though it may feel a little like being entered into the middle of a theological discussion, I do believe that the average lay person would have no problem navigating their way through this book. In the same vein a well seasoned theologian would not be bored.

With all of the focus these days on gospel-centered books I believe this book is a welcome addition. I appreciate that Cosmer and Montgomery tie together friends that are often treated as enemies; namely the gospel as kingdom and the gospel of the cross. I also believe every disciple would greatly benefit from a thorough exploration of the second section of this book. The Map It section at the end of each chapter would make this book pretty easily adaptable for a small group gathering.

Personally, I found myself convicted, challenged, and confessing as I read through this book. It helped me as a pastor to articulate points better. But even more than that it helped me as a disciple to be a more holistic follower of Christ.

I would recommend this book to anyone. Get it here.

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