“…speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ,” -Ephesians 4:15
In his book, Gospel Fluency, Jeff Vanderstelt wrote the following referencing the verse above:
…if we are to help one another grow up into Christ in every way, we need to learn how to speak the truths of Christ into everything—every aspect of life, every situation we face, and every issue we address. (pg. 30, emphasis mine)
This is where his concept of gospel fluency comes in. We typically use the term “fluency” when it comes to speaking a second language. A person can learn some of the vocabulary and grammar of a second language. However, they will not become fluent in that language until they can sit with native speakers and have a smooth conversation.
To be a Christian, one must know the gospel. Yet, as we grow in the gospel we become more fluent in speaking gospel truth into every situation we and our fellow believers encounter. Let me hit pause for a second. If this sounds strange to you, it shouldn’t. As we say at Redeemer, we don’t graduate from the gospel, but rather we press deeper into it. After all, the riches of Christ are inexhaustible.
Ok, back to gospel fluency. Vanderstelt wrote:
You gain fluency in a language when you move from merely translating an unfamiliar language into a familiar one to interpreting all of life through that new language. It happens when you can think, feel, and speak in a language. (pg. 40)
I believe such fluency is what God wants his people to experience with the gospel. He wants them to be able to translate the world around them and the world inside of them through the lens of the gospel—the truths of God revealed in the person and work of Jesus. (pg. 41)
Just as you need conversation partners to become fluent in a second language, so you also need them to become gospel-fluent. Where are those partners found? In the local church, of course! Vanderstelt emphasized the local church when he said:
You become fluent through immersion in a gospel-speaking community and through ongoing practice. You have to know it, regularly hear it, and practice proclaiming it. (pg. 43)
Gospel fluency begins in you, gets worked out within community, and is expressed to a world that needs to hear about Jesus.
Your ongoing development in the gospel best occurs through involvement in a gospel-proclaiming church—a people who gather regularly to hear the good news of Jesus spoken. Please, if you want to grow in gospel fluency, gather with a church that regularly preaches the good news of Jesus Christ. (pg. 43)
Let’s strive to press deeper into the gospel together in hopes that we indeed gain gospel fluency. This fluency, speaking the gospel to one another in every situation, is exactly what we need as we seek to help one another follow Jesus.