Gps: God's Plan For Salvation
Allan Chapple Aquila Press 2014 ISBN 9781922000965
Reviewed by Neil Walthew
Allan Chapple's book, 'GPS - God's Plan for Salvation’ is a guidebook or map to the whole sweep of salvation history presented to us by God in both the Old and New Testaments. It is the product of many years of teaching the big picture of the Bible and as such is a very accessible book for the person who has never read the Old Testament in detail and who wants to know more so as to understand the New Testament better, through to the person who would want to use the book as a resource to teach others.
In the introduction Allan makes it clear that he sees the Bible's centre of attention is Jesus. The Bible is the word of God about the works of God. Three words to sum up the Bible are Creation, Covenant and Christ. So having set the centre, Allan's book now begins by taking the Old Testament, literally in your hands, and showing the relative parts that make up the Old Testament, later Allan will do the same with the New Testament. He then makes a simple diagram of the Old Testament using events around entering and leaving the land either from or to Babylon/Assyria and Egypt. The books of the Old Testament, significant Old Testament figures and dates are then placed on this diagram.
Working our way through the Old and New Testament Allan chooses to focus on the covenant with Abraham, Israel and David and finally in the New Testament seeing the new covenant in Jesus, which is where the previous covenants have pointed us. As we look at each covenant and how each is focused into the next, we also learn how God relates to us, and how we respond, using memorable couplets: Grace - Faith, Saving love - Serving love, God's work and word - Recognising God's worth.
As GPS now turns its attention to the New Testament, the Old Testament is characterized as Preparation for Jesus and the New Testament as Proclamation of Jesus. The Patterns, Promises and Prototypes of the Old Testament all point to Jesus. As Allan points out these are identified by the New Testament itself and not arbitrarily picked out.
The map of the New Testament is defined by the first and second coming of Jesus. Allan progressively builds up the picture of salvation in Christ helping us to understand the characteristics of this salvation, our responses to Jesus and how this looks, set between the two comings of Jesus. The already and not yet nature of salvation is examined and what this means for the Christian.
From the point of view of a parish minister the genesis of the book from a course run many times means the book is written in a way that is easy to teach to others. GPS encourages the reader or learner to engage with the Biblical text. The use of simple diagrams are helpful and could be put on PowerPoint as they give a clear summary of the points made in the text of the book. The questions at the end of each chapter are also a good resources, either for an individual reader to revise or as a resource for an instructor using the book either in a growth group or larger learning group in a church.
The clear nature of the book and the consistent focus on Jesus as the goal or focus of Scripture means this is a book that can be highly recommended. It is a useful book to give to someone wanting to understand the Gospel better or to read the Old Testament more meaningfully. Equally it can be used as already mentioned to teach a course in the parish. GPS is worthy of adding to your church resources.