"Gospel Brokenness" by Clay Werner. A Review
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Can any good thing come out of Athens, Georgia? Some would say “yes” because bands like the B-52s and R.E.M. arose from that city. But there’s another reason to answer “yes” to the question. Clay Werner, Lead Pastor of Good Shepherd Presbyterian Church in Athens, Georgia and author of “On the Brink: Grace for the Burned Out Pastor” has just presented to the world a darling little 130-page softback, “Gospel Brokenness: The Unexpected Path to Deep Joy”. This is a straightforward walk through Psalm 32 written for moms, dads, bachelors, bachelorettes, widows, widowers, pastors and parishioners. Simple, but substantive!
Werner guides his readers on a hike across Psalm 32. He takes them to the depths of sin, and all of its foolhardy ways. But also welcomes readers to revel in the unexpected grace of God found solely in Jesus Christ. As The author puts it, this book “seeks to help you along in the journey of knowing gospel brokenness and experiencing the deepest joy that it brings as you walk through Psalm 32” (xiii). He inaugurates the trek by mapping out the four prominent principles to be pursued when reading any Psalm: (1) seek God with the whole heart; (2) listen to God with a meditative heart; (3) rely on God with a humble heart; and (4) ask God for a transformed heart. The author does a masterful job exhibiting the way these principles are used while examining the Thirty-Second Psalm.
Throughout this dossier, Werner does a lot of addressing of sin and guilt. He shows us the known-as-and-known-for masks we wear, teases out the ways we deceive ourselves about ourselves, God and others, how we are expert image managers, and the risky forms of false repentance. On the flip side, the author also adroitly describes what genuine repentance – gospel brokenness – looks, smells, and feels like! He clearly shows how “grace catches sinners off guard with a hair trigger mercy” (62). When you have finished the volume, not only will false repentance and sin be exposed, but the reader whose heart has been softened will know that “strong love, forgiving grace, and deep joy of the Father’s heart are awaiting you” (100)! The final chapter will likely kick down any remaining uncertainties and obstacles one may have left.
“Gospel Brokenness” is a delightful read that gives a solid sense of what Psalm 32 is addressing and how it applies healing hope. This manual is just what any men’s or women’s Bible study could use. It is ideal for personal devotional times as well. Campus ministers will find it a good source for getting their students through a short, 9-week course. And I am confident that if you are working with a person who is not a Christian, this book can be a perfect foray into the gospel. I highly recommend the book.
My thanks to the author who sent the book used in this review as a gift. He made no demands or stipulations on me, but only asked if I would consider evaluating it. After glancing through the manuscript, I was hooked. Therefore, this analysis is freely made and freely given.
Want to obtain a copy of the book? Go here: Gospel Brokenness
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