“The Happy Gospel” by Benjamin Dunn

Benjamin_DunnThe gospel that Jesus revealed is not of this earth. It was birthed in the heart of the Father and contains the supremely good news of His unfathomable love and His eternally good purposes towards us. When you encounter this gospel, the hooks and lies of dead religion are revealed as inferior substitutes. The counterfeit cannot compete with the authentic because what is real is infinitely greater than anything man can make.

The apostle Paul was the first of us to really catch the gospel. It was given to him in a heavenly language of inexpressible words and he spent the rest of his life trying to tell us what he had heard (see 2 Cor 12:2-5). “It’s the power of God,” he said. “It is Christ and Him crucified.” “It’s measureless love.” “It’s reconciliation and much more.” “It’s new life.”

The scandal of the gospel – once we really see it – can leave us in stunned silence. How can we speak about so glorious a thing? How can we convey the matchless beauty of Jesus with mere words? Frankly, it can’t be done. But Paul tried and we are all the richer for it.

In The Happy Gospel: Effortless Union with a Happy God, author Benjamin Dunn follows in Paul’s footsteps by attempting to convey the light and joy of the gospel of grace. It’s a tough ask, but Dunn succeeds brilliantly. I dare you to read The Happy Gospel without grinning. It is is a joy-filled book that will leave you pumping the air in gratitude and praise.

Happy God, happy gospel

For the most part, the church has bought into an unhappy gospel. You only need to look at the faces of some pew-warmers to know this is true. But this is not the gospel that Paul preached. Taking his cue from Paul’s letter to Timothy (1 Tim 1:11), Dunn declares that a happy gospel reveals a happy God:

Yes, our God is the happy God! And His message is a message of supreme gladness. He is the Source of all true bliss and happiness; to be near Him is to be near to an atomic bomb of joy! Go ahead… press the red button. You know you want to! (p.155)

If God is happy, and the gospel reveals a happy message, then how come many Christians aren’t happy? That’s the $64,000 question! One of the reasons offered in this book is that many of us have not learned to speak the new language of grace:

You won’t hear from Paul’s lips some of the phrases that are commonly heard from many Christians. In the New Creation language, you won’t find longing and wanting. You will find endless praises declaring that the waiting and wanting is over. It’s a language and song of blissful fulfillment and ecstatic satisfaction. It is the New Song mentioned in the Psalms and Revelation. It is the song of men made into the home of God, the song of mortals transformed and swallowed by Life. (p.128)

The dead language of the old covenant

Sadly, many believers don’t know how to speak this new language. They’re speaking the vocabulary of the old covenant. Or, as Dunn says, “They are stuck in the undone, instead of floating upon the finished.” What does old covenant language sound like?

Some of the phrases of the old language are: ‘I must nail myself to the cross every day.’ ‘I’m just a sinner saved by grace.’ ‘Lord, You saved me but now come and cleanse me,’ or ‘Every day I’ve got to die to my flesh.’ Obviously the list goes on, and for the sheer fact that I hate hearing them, I will say no more of the faithless jabbering. This is a dead language! (p.129)

I have read books that have fired my emotions and books that have engaged my mind, but seldom have I read books that do both. The Happy Gospel does just that – it connects with your whole being. Your spirit soars, your mind gets fried, and your face grins. It’s not the book itself which releases this joy – it’s the gospel; it’s the revelation of the Father’s love. But this book will surely help you get it. It is a liberating antidote to dead religion and stuffiness.

One more thing. You know you have picked up an unusual book when the author bio begins like this: “Benjamin Dunn is known for his child-like joy and frolicking…” Frolicking, huh? What can I say? I may be known for many things but frolicking probably isn’t one of them. But you know what? Maybe it should be. One of the problems with manmade religion is that it makes us grow up too fast. Religion is so grown up, so deathly serious. Didn’t Jesus say something about coming to the kingdom like a child? As my friend Fini de Gersigney likes to say, it’s never too late to have a happy childhood.

And it’s never too late to have a happy gospel!
___
Related posts:
- The test of your gospel
- The gospel in one word, two words…
- see all E2R’s book reviews here

Comments

  1. If you would like to get some more snippets from The Happy Gospel, make sure you sign up to GraceQuotes.com. I’ve just put some choice nuggets in the pipeline and they’ll be feeding through over the next few weeks or so.

  2. I was raised in a church that taught the DBR of Christ and our identification and In Christ Realities with use of all the great translations
    So the insight from Benjamin was really great
    I just don’t understand the old tokin’ on Jesus videos with John Crowder-those really didn’t impart a good feeling about where he’s coming from

  3. I am gradually learning the language of the Gospel of Grace and now I will be learning to frolick!

    A great review Paul! Cannot wait to start frolicking!

  4. I’m interested in what you think of Ben Dunn and John Crowders “tokin’ the Holy Ghost” movement. I don’t know if he talks about it in his book, but he has plenty of videos online about it, eg: this one [VIDEO DELETED] with Ben (on the left), Crowder on the right and some other guy in the middle talking about being so “jacked up” and “high” etc. What do you think the other people in there are thinking (it looks like a restaurant or truck stop or something). They aren’t thinking “Jesus is so gracious”, but “are these guys on drugs?”.

    To me, that kind of behaviour does not appear to be Holy Spirit led self control, joy or peace. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not one of those “watchdog ministries” that do nothing but try to find error in everything and then post videos screaming “repent”. But I fail to see the profit in this kind of behaviour.

    Having said that, I don’t know if the book touches on it, and whether his definition of joy in the book is “drunken glory” and “ecstatic bliss”, but I know that I won’t be reading it – I only post this to get your feedback on what you think about his “tokin the Holy Ghost” stuff. There are plenty of other books on the finished work of Jesus and His grace that are not associated with what I perceive to be a horrible deception. There are many grace believers that I think fail to still discern error amongst their own because they think it would be judgmental. I do believe that leading people towards this man is guiding them towards a dangerous path however.

    • I stopped judging people on their behavior years ago. They’re God’s kids, not mine. I encourage you to read the book before you reject it.

      • I doubt I would disagree with anything in the book on the grace of God. God is happy, and the gospel is happy. I just find it difficult to recommend material or take seriously material that is written by someone who is behaving in an ungodly manner. For example, if Joseph Prince was an adulterer, then I would have a hard time taking him seriously when he speaks about grace. I realise we all have the propensity to sin, but for example, if JP was openly flaunting a life of adultery, and still saying “grace grace grace”, then I would think “This man has it wrong – grace frees us from that, not to it”.

        It’s the same here although I wouldn’t define his behaviour as sin. I think it is dangerous however and very similar to many eastern mystic rituals. I’m not trying to judge Ben Dunn as a person or question his relationship with Jesus. I don’t know him. But the behaviour he and others exhibit on the videos they have posted is very questionable.

      • Luke, I removed that video (I didn’t watch it) because I can see it’s becoming a distraction. You have you views; I have mine. I think it’s ridiculous to judge the quality of the gospel based on what we define as acceptable standards of behavior. The Bible was written by flawed men, including a fair few who exhibited “questionable behavior” (eg: being drunk) under the power of the Spirit. I’m sure if someone had made a YouTube clip of Acts 2, the world would be a very different place today.

        Consistent with my comment policy, I will limit further comments on this thread to those that relate to either the book or my review of it.

      • Limit the comments to those that agree with the heresy you promote? Typical. Pretty sad. You speak of not judging, but yet the context of 1 Corin. 5 IS about judging the Body of Christ. The context of when Jesus spoke of judging righteously had to do with hypocritical judgment. So if I (or the others who CAN clearly discern that Crowder and Dunn ARE false teachers) were teaching outright heresy and gutting scripture out of context like you and they do, then YEAH that would constitute a hypocritical judgment. Sorry that you cannot take scripture in it’s context and that you exalt mere men (false teachers) and follow their false teachings. Good luck!

  5. I will try and get hold of a copy to read. It sounds good. One thing I would like to know out of curiosity…

    • Tracy, your question on the Glory Movement is valid. I deleted it because this is not the place to ask it. I suggest you raise it on FB. I’m only going to publish comments here that pertain to the book or the review. Thanks.

  6. Ben Dunn and John Crowder are Godly men who carry the revelation of the gospel. They were both saved out of a drug culture and use words like ‘high’ on the holy ghost because these words imply the same ecstatic experience they enjoy in the Lord. For those who have a taboo in their minds about these words it can be hard to understand. God isn’t religious and I’m sure He likes the fact that the devils substitute for heavenly experiences, drugs, have met their match in the message Ben and John preach. I highly recommend all their teachings and books. They love the Lord.

    • How does this pertain to this particular book and its’ review?

      • See what happens when you start preaching law (as I did)? You get condemned by it!

        Grant, since an earlier commenter raised questions regarding Mr Dunn’s behavior, I thought it only fair to allow someone to speak in his defense.

  7. Interesting. Isaac was born out of God’s grace when Abraham and Sarah cannot conceive a child anymore. Isaac means Laughter in Hebrew. We are the children born of Sarah. No wonder we are happy people!

    Someone is going to criticize this message, because unhappy people mocks happy people

    grace and peace

  8. Sorry if I offended you Paul, didn’t mean to. Coming from an Independent Fundamental King James Only Baptist background, which I am only a few years out of, grace is such a marvelous concept to me that I sometimes wonder “am I going too far”. I used to constantly condemn homosexuals (while being an addict of other sexual sins), but under grace, I find myself wanting to love them because Jesus does, and love casts out all fear, and the goodness of God leads to a change of mind!

    I wasn’t intending to condemn Ben or John, but I was concerned about what I have seen from them on youtube (and have also been very inspired by some stuff I have seen of Ben in Africa and on missions). I did come on a bit condemny and law, but did not intend to. Many grace believers are very discerning regarding the preaching of the law, and will stay away from it, but can be less discerning when it comes to the grace message.

    • Luke, I am not offended. I write short blunt comments to save time. I hope we would treat law preachers no differently than grace preachers. Everyone matters to Jesus and love covers a multitude of sins and shortcomings. Be blessed!

  9. I am not “religious” but watching the video.Hmmm.I understand the laughter because I experienced it in prayer once and wasn’t sure what happened until later.I can’t swallow everything that’s out there.The snake handling video was to much.Perhaps the book would explain it.I dread softly.We do need more joy in our lives.Just wondering about counterfeits out there.Can’t say, don’t really know the man.

  10. Benjamin Dunn says:

    Hello Everyone, this is Benjamin Dunn the author, thank you for the great review! I just saw the comments about some very old videos and would live to try to give some insight. I think the most simple answer is that we were very young and fresh into a public platform. Lots has been learned since those days and I would hate for anyone to not read the book because of some old stupid videos that don’t reflect our direction, heart or the book at all. There are more relevent videos out there if you want to know what where all about and that will give you a clear picture of our message and mission to the poorest of the poor. Again thanks for the review!

  11. great review and great message of how happy we should be because the creator of the universe lives in us and loves us!!!! effortlessly!!! i have listend to HRS of both of these guys and been to a religious detox tour in atl…… was amazing…. BUT if you had any religion in you it would have ruffled your feathers….. RELIGIOUS DETOX!!!

  12. I have been tempted to read this book, but still don’t trust Benjamin based on what is in the videos, I don’t think much has changed they have just been a bit more creative in hiding it.

    • You don’t need to trust Benjamin… trust God to be your wisdom! :)
      ps. people really do change and grow when they are filled w/ the Holy Spirit…just ask the apostle Peter. ;)

  13. Sounds like a great book! I want to read it! In regards to the videos and Ben’s comment I say this: Don’t judge people for what they used to be, but who God formed them into and out of what they used to be. Benjamin Dunn has obviously made it a long way from where he was then, in those videos. Instead of judging who he was then, look at what God changed him into. We often hear stories at church of God changing lives for His glory. So why are you finding it so hard to believe that Ben is a different person than he used to be? Just listen to his music and read his book! There the proof lies!

  14. Marion Carter says:

    I’m gonna give it a read, God knows I could do with receiving more of His joy & grace!

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