19 July 2011

The World-Tilting Gospel pre-launch: interesting thises and thats

by Dan Phillips

If this seems unforgivably indulgent, please accept my sincere apologies. No everything's for everyone, and maybe this one for fewer than others.

I promise I'll get to von Steinkronff's thirteenth treatise on parabatical monastic election, or something weightier, in due course. This is all very new to me, and exciting; and I owe it in large measure to Phil, Frank, and you all. So let me share with you some of the "firsts" I'm experiencing as the launch of my literary firstborn gets under way.

So there I am, minding my own business. For some now-forgotten reason, I visited the Amazon page for my maiden voyage, The World-Tilting Gospel, due out August 1. I notice it's offered on Kindle — and I see the date: July 14, 2011. Huh?

So I Tweet it on Saturday, still not sure if it's really available. But various friends on Twitter and Facebook actually buy it, download it, and start reading it... so it must be real. I write Cat Hoort, Kregel's Trade Marketing Manager (handling getting the word out about WTG), and she confirms that booksellers generally ship preordered books when they receive stock, regardless of the formal release date.

Cool! So I announce it on my site and start getting reports of folks making their way through it. Tweets came from some sisters you will recognize:

What? Well, cool! That's fast! Exciting, surprising, impossible not to smile. But the first person I know to have purchased and finished the book was Megan Boneski (pronounced Bo-NESS-kee), and she absolutely made my day Sunday with an email, which she's said I could share with you. Here's an excerpt:
Hi Dan!

WTG on WTG! ;-)

I just finished the Kindle edition of your book, and I must say that it was money and time well-spent. The biggest "Ah-HA!" moment for me was your explanation of how God chooses/calls us, and not the other way around. The way you put it makes a whole lot of sense, and pretty much confirmed my Calvinist leanings (not that I was fully Arminian, despite my Methodist upbringing). Dead things cannot "choose life" either physically or spiritually. Makes sense.

I don't buy "churchy" books very often... I bought yours because I respect your blog writing, and have learned a lot from your posts over the years.

...Even though my own Christian walk has been a "whole Bible" approach, I really appreciate the way you tie everything together from THE BEGINNING. It's all about Jesus, from Genesis to Revelation, and your book explains it in a way that's accessible to those of us who aren't necessarily familiar with theological terms. It's not an EASY read, in that it made me stop and think, but it wasn't dry and scholarly. I didn't feel like I needed an M. Div. to understand what you were putting forth.

I am going to read it again with my Bible and notebook handy. If a straight read-through blew my mind, I'm sure a more thorough study will be even more O.O :-)

There's so much more that I want to say, but I'll save it for later. I pray that God uses you and your book to further His kingdom and add to His Church. Thank you so much for doing what you do. :-)
Absolutely made my day, moved me to praise and thank God. For folks like the book's endorsers (Johnson, MacArthur, Duncan, et al) to say the kind things they do, and then for Megan to say "I didn't feel like I needed an M. Div. to understand what you were putting forth" — I am a happy, grateful, grateful man. God is so kind and so merciful. Neither the Biblical worldview as a whole, nor the Gospel specifically, is for folks of one background and not another; and so by design neither is WTG. This is exactly what I prayed and hoped for.

Then I got an email from reader Chris Hobeck, wondering whether there was such a thing as "PDS" (Phillips Derangement Syndrome). He pointed me to the first customer review on Amazon, titled "Howlers heaped on incompetency." The review referred only to those parts of the book that are available on Amazon's preview. The writer's main complaint in effect is that, in a book subtitled Embracing a Biblical Worldview and Hanging on Tight, the author (me) seemed actually to embrace a Biblical worldview and, you know, hang on tight.

(Would to God that this were the worst charge anyone could truthfully lay against me, either as an author or as a person.)

He was kind enough to give it two stars nonetheless, as he felt I did "write with a clear and lively style," though he lamented that it was "too bad [my] ideas [the Gospel, Biblically framed] also do not display positive qualities."

So far, at this writing, 0 of 23 have found his review helpful. It's early, though. Actually, Stan McCullars did find the review helpful, in a way, as he added this comment (click to enlarge):

This review was followed by Megan Boneski's review, which was rather more positive.

Finally, our last little bit isn't as fun as it would have been if I'd gotten my first screen shot. You know how Amazon lists its alternate dealers and prices, like this?

Out of curiosity (this is all new to me), I clicked on it to see the alternatives. This is what I see now:

Kind or remarkable, isn't it, how out-of-step that fourth price is? It's not a special edition with my name in bacon grease or Peet's coffee stains, or anything. I don't really know what the deal is about it. But I do know this: it's a bargain compared to the first time I saw it a few hours earlier.

Then the price was something like $440.00. So thirty bucks is actually a steal.

When you look at it the right way.

At any rate, the book and its effort to present the Gospel as framed in a whole-Bible worldview is going out, and my earnest prayer is that it may be a tool used by God "that the word of the Lord may spread rapidly and be glorified, just as it did also with you" (2 Thess. 3:1 NAS).

Dan Phillips's signature


Nash Equilibrium said...

If it tweaked someone who has a problem with the message not being a treatise on positive thinking, but instead a Biblical message, then I'd say that so-called "bad" review was "winning."

Robert said...

I agree with stratagem. It is good to know that people aren't having their ears tickled. Not that we'd expect that from your writing, though. I'm sure that guy can find something he likes from the skinny, smily guy that gives pep talks to people here in Houston on Sundays.

Robert said...


You might feel this was indulgent, but if people follow the link over to the review thread at Amazon they can see Thomas and Frank go back and forth over the point of your book and Christianity in general. So not only can we read this post and share in your joy, but we can also go to the review thread and see how to defend the Gospel, as presented in WTG, and Christianity in general. Talk about "winning"!

Anonymous said...

One need only look at the rest of Mr. Thomas reviews to see how he thinks. Any book that presents faith as reasonable, logical, or true is dismissed out of hand.

I doubt if he actually considers what each author is saying since he has already made up his mind. He just has a personal ax to grind against Christianity and religion in general.

I don't think he is very happy. :)

Steve Lamm said...


I bought the Kindle version yesterday to read on the plane ride to the Twin Cities tomorrow (going to see my 6th grandchild!). I'm looking to see how best I can use the book in my church. We have several small groups, and I have 3 groups of men I disciple.

By the way, I suspect the positive reviews will multiply in the next week or two at Amazon.


DJP said...

Praise God, thank you Steve; I pray it's of fruitful use to you in your ministry.

DJP said...

And give a copy to your brother, Bobby.

< /extreme inside joke >

Rachael Starke said...

It's been such a fun, instructive process hearing little snippets here and there, and wondering just what kind of book this was going to be. E.g. the cover art - now it completely makes sense why that cover is the one you chose. And hopefully you've kept all your original notes and outlines so future generations can see your thought process as you edited.

Megan's comment about not needing an M.Div to understad or be enriched by it is spot on, too. But my sincere, earnest prayer is that many, many M.Div types will read it, repent, and apply its contents liberally (or should I say, generously) in their preaching. Some of them, sad to say, are the reason a book like this is so needed.

jmb said...

I'm happy for you, really, but I've been waiting a long time to hear your views on von Steinkronff's thirteenth treatise on parabatical monastic election. I'll even settle for your views on his twelfth treatise.

Jeri Tanner said...

Excellent! And funly put. Can't wait to read it and find out for myself that it's a great book to put into people's hands. If it's what I'm thinking it is, it fills an important niche.

Anonymous said...

My Kindle is complete!

Paula Bolyard said...

Commaphobes and raging God-haters aside, those are two excellent reviews with more to come (not to mention props from the likes of Ligon Duncan and Johnny Mac in the book itself!)

And as for Mr. Adams, you should wear his review as a badge of honor. We'd all disown you if the Dawkins/Hitchins/Biologos crowd gave the book an enthusiastic two thumbs up! : )

Still waiting for mine to arrive. In the mean time, Amazon tells me...

"Customers who viewed this item also viewed

BACON shaped themed band-aids Bandages by Accoutrements

Now what on earth is that all about? Is anyone here willing to confess to that?

Merrilee Stevenson said...

Amazon sent us notice that our copy is being shipped! It's like Christmas in July! Mid-summer excitement!

Gotta wonder why an actual hater would waste his time writing such a verbose negative review. Maybe he enjoys the sound of his own voice so much, he wanted to be first; knowing there would be crowds coming. Or, considering the other reviews I've seen of his, he sadly hasn't found anything better to do with the life he's been given than to praise man's intellect and taunt his Maker. Living his best life now, I guess.

Paula, haven't you discovered the healing power of a bacon band-aid? Must be the grease in the poultice! (That and the aromatherapy puts fat on the bones.)

Paula Bolyard said...

Haha Merrilee! My hubby does most of the repairs and maintenance on our cars and truly believes that getting grease and grime in a cut has some sort of healing properties. It must be the same with the bacon grease : )

Amazon says my copy is also on its way. DS said he'd like to take a look at it before he goes back to college. He's renting a house with 3 other guys, one a devout Catholic. They are planning to have a weekly Bible study and thinks the book might be the kind of thing they're looking for (well...probably not what the Catholic thinks he's looking for...but nevertheless...).

I think it would be an excellent choice for a college Bible study with kids from diverse backgrounds.

CR said...

A stinging rebuke by Thomas Adams of your book (for what he got to read) but not a surprise. Proof positive that the Bible is true when it says things like the things of God cannot be understood by the natural man and it is foolishness to the Gentiles.

If we're frustrated of Adams' review then we really don't understand the gospel. The Bible is clear - the natural man cannot understand the gospel and Thomas Adams needs the Holy Spirit just as much as we needed it when we heard the gospel.

I would count Adams' review as a positive review given what we know about the gospel.

Robert le Clus said...


I read Pyromaniacs all the time. Don't post often. But I just wanted to post and thank you for the book! It is brilliant! And I haven't even finished it yet! I finished Part 1 last night and I can already say I will recommend this book to all my friends!

Thank you for making it available on Kindle. And for worldwide distribution! (Alot of Kindle books I would like to buy are not available to me because I live in South Africa)

And I really appreciate the writing style! I didn't actually want to stop but I had to go to sleep. Work and all that.

I plan to post a review on Amazon just as soon as I am done!

Once again thank you very much for an excellent book! It is already blessing me and I'm not even done yet :)

DJP said...

Robert, how kind of you; thank you for taking the time to start my day off so happily. Glory to God.

(I hope I don't go astray in remaining parts!)