Gospel Allegiance: What Faith in Jesus Misses for Salvation in Christ; A Book Review

I recently read a book that makes Christianity make a lot of sense and is an active and dynamic faith. This book fits my lived experience and studies over the past five and a half years.

This book is 

“Challenging popular misconceptions about the biblical gospel, Matthew Bates shows that it is different, wider, and more beautiful than we have been led to believe.”

I was given a hard copy by my fellow nerd friend, Brian, since he had two. Then I marked it up. I have so many I don’t know where to start. So I will quote the Gospel Allegiance Summary in Appendix 1. 

“The point of this summary is to disentangle the gospel itself from closely related concepts.

The Gospel

The gospel is that Jesus, the king

  1. preexisted as God the Son,
  2. was sent by the Father,
  3. took on human flesh in fulfillment of God’s promises to David,
  4. died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures,
  5. was buried,
  6. was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, 
  7. appeared to many witnesses, 
  8. is enthroned at the right hand of God as the ruling Christ,
  9. has sent the Holy Spirit to his people to effect his rule, and 
  10. will come again as final judge to rule.

Short Gospel Summary

Jesus is the saving king.

Expanded Gospel Summary

The gospel is the true story of how Jesus the Son was sent by God the Father to become the saving king who now rules forever at his right hand through the sending of the Holy Spirit, fulfilling God’s promises in Scripture. 

The Purpose of the Gospel

The purpose of the gospel is allegiance to Jesus the king in all the nations. 

Our Response to the Gospel

Allegiance Alone. Allegiance is expressed in repentance, trusting loyalty, and baptism. Repentance from sins means revoking other allegiances so as to live as in the way Jesus commands. Saving faith is loyalty to Jesus as the forgiving king and includes good deeds done through the power of the Holy Spirit. Baptism embodies allegiance. 

Benefits of the Gospel

We must not confuse the gospel itself with its saving benefits. The gospel proper announces possible saving benefits. But only those who respond to the gospel by giving allegiance actualize these special benefits. These include forgiveness of sins, righteousness (justification), adoption, glory, and so on. Special saving benefits are received personally only when we give allegiance and receive the Holy Spirit. This unites us to others who already possess these benefits-the true church. There are also general social and political gospel benefits-for example, healing, liberation from oppression, and poverty relief that will be experienced even by the nonallegiant when the gospel is proclaimed.

Backdrop of the Gospel

The gospel assumes God’s creation of the world, human disobedience with cosmic consequences, and the rest of the Old Testament story. There is a special emphasis on God’s promises to Israel via the covenants with Abraham and David. These backstories are not the gospel proper. Select portions of the Old Testament story become gospel when fulfilled and brought to a climax in Jesus the saving king.”

That’s the TL;DR version summed up. It’s worth reading as Matthew goes through the meaning of faith, grace, the different faith tradition’s perspectives, and what part do works play. 

The book lines up with the term I like to use that I got from Dr. Heiser, “believing loyalty.” That’s a big part of my testimony. 

I cried out to God for help when I was at my most broken and lowest point. Then over the course of a year, things fell into place in a way that I can say “only God.” (I’ll finish the book chronicling that one day. One kid and another on the way, plus blog posting schedule is my latest excuse for derailing that.)

It was after the realization that He had come through that I said, “Okay, you got me, I’m Yours. I believe and will follow you.” 

I began walking away from allegiances that would conflict with following Jesus, both good and bad. He has my loyalty. 

This book gets 5 stars. 

3 thoughts on “Gospel Allegiance: What Faith in Jesus Misses for Salvation in Christ; A Book Review

  1. I don’t suppose you could expand on the “Then over the course of a year, things fell into place in a way that I can say “only God.” part so that we don’t have to wait for the book? It doesn’t hurt to ask! Just saying …. Blessings!


    • In 2013 my godson was killed in an accident in my home with my firearm. It turned out I had bought a stolen pistol to use for my concealed carry.

      I was charged initially with negligent homicide, receiving stolen property, and child endangerment. The entire family was traumatized, my future was up in the air as was my wife’s for a short time. We couldn’t live there anymore. We moved in with my godson’s mom, and grandmother.

      I was put in touch with a lawyer in our church. We couldn’t afford him.

      I had been going to church, but not involved or paying much attention. One Sunday, soon after, the choir sang Just As I Am. I prayed the chorus, I come broken to be mended, I come wounded to be healed.

      We began counseling, and my Deaf wife needed an interpreter. Our pastor volunteered since she was a certified interpreter and when we stopped therapy, we continued with her.

      Another lawyer took our case pro bono. The Prosecutor asked my godson’s family what punishment should I receive. They showed mercy, I could have, should have, gone to jail.

      It was the easiest case he’d ever taken on according to my lawyer. Probation and a fine, along with giving up my carry permit. After a year my record was wiped. (How so much like the cross) The charges ended up being child endangerment. hey found who stole the gun and sold it to me so the theft by receiving charge was dropped.

      I learned what grace was during that 12 month time. I keep a journal and was looking back and seeing God’s hand move. Okay, Jesus, you got me, I’m your’s, and I haven’t looked back.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you Vance for sharing that. I obviously had no idea what you and your wife were going through and as you have indicated, that would shake anyone’s world. It is amazing the grace that God extends to us when we are in our deepest despair. So happy for you and yours. Thank you again for sharing, may God’s grace, peace and blessing be with you and yours. – Bruce


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