- Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church (Pastor: D. James Kennedy)
- Covenant Life Church (Josh Harris)
- Grace Community Church (John MacArthur)
- Harvest Bible Chapel (James MacDonald)
- Mars Hill Church (Mark Driscoll) - In the menu, choose: Who We Are > What We Believe > The Gospel
- Second Baptist Church (Ed Young)
- Willow Creek Community Church (Bill Hybels)
Friday, June 30, 2006
Wednesday, June 28, 2006
My only concern with the book was that there was no clear presentation of the gospel. This postmodern method of evangelism can be effective, but only if it includes the gospel! My concern was alleviated, though, when Glenn Lucke sent me the following in an email. "The 3 key missing words on the last page are 'To Be Continued.' Book 2 is largely done but needs revision as MacGregor continues to teach Brad and Jarrod more deeply about the Christian faith and to explain it to skeptic Lauren." Common Grounds is only the first chapter of the story. I look forward to reading the continuation of this fascinating dialogue. I echo Al Mohler's endorsement where he writes, "If you want to reach the postmodern generation, read this book and give it to your friends."
So it appears the sequel will present the gospel in a dialogue form. I'm looking forward to reading that (after I pick up Common Grounds and read it).
Monday, June 26, 2006
1. God the Eternal, Sovereign Ruler and Creator
2. God’s Holiness, and Man’s Sin and Depravity
3. God’s Provision of Redemption in Christ
4. God’s Requirements
5. The Consummation and Judgment
The last point is not something you see very often. Nesbitt says:
We know that not all those who we talk to about these deep and wonderful things will be positive in their response to God or us. Many may openly reject our words as being foolish and offensive....
Therefore it is incumbent upon us to tell the “rest of the story”! We must be open and honest with our hearers to tell them of the coming judgment. There is a price to pay for rejecting God’s Christ, the only way to Him. The fact is we are under condemnation even now, if we are outside of Christ (John 1:19; 5:24; Rom. 5:18). God’s patience and long-suffering towards all of us is meant to lead us to repentance (2 Pet. 3:9). But if we refuse to heed the call, the end will be a dark and fiery day.
Sunday, June 25, 2006
It is amazingly difficult to write a Gospel page, which:
1. Does not sound religious and churchy, or use long words.
2. Shows that God is not a hard remote capricious Being, a killjoy, as another major religion would suggest, and yet is not tolerant of sin.
3. Portrays God as generous and loving, without presenting the Gospel as "easy-believism".
4. Emphasizes that becoming a Christian is not the same as living by a set of rules, attending church, starting a self-effort program, or indeed 'switching religions', but that it is a relationship, not a religion.
5. Explains that unlike every other belief system, where religious commitment equals salvation by works, we offer something which is totally free (by grace – but don't say "grace" – it's another religious jargon word) and yet commitment demands your whole life.
6. Will not be misunderstood by those whose concept of "god" may mean a pantheistic vague power of nature as in New Age and other religions, or the myriad local 'gods' which must be constantly placated that we see in India.
7. Shows that the Gospel is for every culture and is not a Western religion.
8. Does not explain the Gospel from a Western cultural view-point.
What do you think of their concerns? Do you think the concern about "religious jargon" is overblown? I think we should take the time to explain religious terms without being afraid of using them.
Friday, June 23, 2006
I would qualify his point about not saying too much with the counterpoint that there are times when we do need to spend more time clarifying and teaching basic theology and Bible.
And here's an interesting point about invitations:
When someone decides to respond to any kind of invitation, it seems logical that he or she is already trusting in Christ and just desires to express it somehow. An invitation gives people an opportunity to tell others about their faith, something they should be doing the rest of their lives. Such an expression can help affirm them in their faith.
There are other factors that may lead a person to respond to an invitation. And as the parable of the soils teaches, not all are genuine faith.
Wednesday, June 21, 2006
On March 20, 1531 in the Netherlands a Baptist named Sicke Snyder (proper name, Freerks) was beheaded for being baptized as a believer. In the Criminal Sentence Book of the Court of Friesland, it reads: "Sicke Freerks, on this 20th of March, 1531, is condemned by the Court to be executed with the sword; his body shall be laid on the wheel, and his head set upon a stake, because he has been rebaptized, and perseveres in that baptism."
Maybe this is a ludicrous question, but let me ask it anyway: Are there doctrines worth dying for but not worth separating over?
Whenever we talk about the gospel, it is helpful and important to remember the four essentials: God, man, Christ, response.
There are four slides (link to first slide) explaining these essentials. They are followed by two slides showing four "hills to die on": the virgin birth, deity of Christ, substitutionary atonement, and physical resurrection.
[These] historic fundamentals represent a few of the more important theological underpinnings of the gospel, and therefore of evangelicalism. So if you find yourself or someone else denying one of these tenets, the Biblical gospel has been compromised and the bounds of evangelicalism have been overstepped.
Monday, June 19, 2006
Dennis has his own tool & die design company. On his website he has this gospel explanation.
Dennis is convinced of the covenant theology/presbyterian position. I'm more of a dispensationalist/baptist. So naturally there are a few things that we don't agree on. But we agree on the essentials of the gospel. And it's tremendously encouraging to see his passion to follow Jesus.
Sunday, June 18, 2006
Friday, June 16, 2006
My recommendation is to use all of Christianity Explained and insert the session on sin from Christianity Explored. That would result in a seven week course. One further note—Christianity Explained is great in that it can very effectively be used in one-on-one relationships, which are the best way to share the gospel. There is no retreat to be planned, no monologue to be given. The truths of the gospel can be discussed easily sitting over a table at a coffee shop.
I have the material for a few of the courses mentioned above. However, I haven't used any yet. What I've done in the past is take people through the Gospel of John, but now I'm looking for something I can use that can also be a training tool for others to learn how to lead a study.
Another course is called Introducing God. I just found it and haven't had a chance to examine it. Anyone out there have experience with it? What caught my attention is that it is supposed to be based on Two Ways to Live. It promotes itself as "a new way of introducing the true and living God to a post-Christian society. Introducing God is a relational course that introduces our friends to God in a relaxed culturally appropriate way." See also this comparison page.
We received news today about the response of the Fellowship of Evangelical Baptist Churches in Canada to the earthquake in Indonesia. Funds will be directed through FAIR (Fellowship Agency for International Relief) to provide aid where needed.
Wednesday, June 14, 2006
The original story was written in the Greek language. In the Bible it is called the Gospel of John.There is an invitation at the end of the twenty-one pages:
What you are about to read is the same story, but put into contemporary English and told as a first person account. Where John uses the pronoun "we/us/our" he is referring to himself and the other disciples.
Before each new section there is a short introduction to the story that follows. These comments are in red and are not part of the Bible.
Jesus began his ministry here on earth by choosing twelve disciples. Jesus is still calling disciples. He wants you to know the story of his life so you will believe it and put your trust in him as Savior.
It is not by chance that you have read his story. It is not an accident that you may at this very moment be considering the claims he made to be the Son of God.
Can you see yourself as one of the characters in the story of Jesus?
Jesus wants you to realize that just as Lazarus was physically dead, you also are spiritually dead in your sins. He wants you to know that he stands ready to call you out of that place of death and give you real life.
Jesus wants you to see yourself as the man born blind. He stands ready to give you true sight.
Jesus wants you to see the deeper meaning of why he miraculously fed the 5000—that is, that he is the true bread of life. He wants you to believe in him so that you will never be hungry or thirsty again.
Jesus wants you to look at the cross on which he was crucified and ask the question. “Was it for me, Jesus, that you hung there and died? Was it my sins that caused you all that pain?”
Jesus wants you to consider the empty tomb and ask yourself another simple question? “Who but God has the power to raise a person from the dead?”
The same God who came to earth and lived the sinless life that you could never live, and die the death that you deserved to die, wants more from you than just to consider his story. He has arranged this encounter so that you might believe in him and have eternal life.
[HT: Justin Taylor for highlighting the materials at BiblicalTraining. It could be a great equipping tool in house churches also].
Tuesday, June 13, 2006
When we move away from the one-time gospel presentation to longer studies of the gospel, Firm Foundations is an example of chronological Bible story-telling. It is "a 50-lesson Bible study [which] systematically follows God's progressive pattern of revealing His character and His plan of redemption within the context of history. The lessons begin in Genesis and progress through the life of Christ, highlighting key themes."
My guess is 50 lessons is a bit much for Western society. But the story of the Mouk tribe shows this idea in action. Their story is told in the video EE-Taow. As this written version explains, it is the story of the beginning of the Chronological Bible Storying movement by New Tribes missionaries, Mark and Gloria Zouk. They taught the Old Testament stories for two months before introducing Jesus and his death and resurrection.
Mark then went back through the Old Testament stories, starting with Abel and his sacrifice that was accepted by God. When he got to the story of Abraham and Isaac, Mark shared that just as a real lamb was substituted for Isaac, Jesus’ death and blood was shed as the Mouk’s substitution. “At that point, the lights really went on,” Mark said. “I could see and hear them responding all over the crowd. “Ee-Taow! Ee-Taow! It’s true. It’s true. I believe,’ they shouted. Mark stood in their midst and asked them what they thought.” From all over came their responses. ‘I believe! I believe!'
Sunday, June 11, 2006
It is based on Romans 6:23 and builds on these six words: Wages, Sin, Death, Gift, God, Eternal Life.
This is from Navigators, so (of course) it includes the Bridge illustration.
Friday, June 09, 2006
The Greatest Gift is by CBH Ministries. It goes from Eden to heaven. I'm not keen on the invitation (open the door of your heart).
The North American Mission Board has several flash presentations, including, Split Time, The Kristo, and many others.
I don't know anything about the group that puts this out: The Walk is based on John 3:16.
As I said with the more traditional presentations, use wisely.
[Update: Wow, how could I possibly forget the grand-daddy of gospel presentations ... The Four Spiritual Laws. How many of you can recite the immortal opening words: "God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life." One of my friends calls me on rare occasions, and when he wants some help with something he opens with the line, "God loves you and I have a wonderful plan for your life...."]
Wednesday, June 07, 2006
1) God created us for his glory.
2) Every human should live for God's glory.
3) All of us have failed to glorify God as we should.
4) All of us are subject to God's just condemnation.
5) God sent his only Son Jesus to provide eternal life and joy.
6) The benefits purchased by the death of Christ belong to those who repent and trust him.
Tuesday, June 06, 2006
Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you--unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me (1 Cor. 15:1-8).
Monday, June 05, 2006
1. God created us for himself.
2. We have all rebelled against God.
3. The wages/penalty of sin is eternal separation from God in hell.
4. Jesus Christ came to this world and lived a life of perfect righteousness.
5. Jesus Christ died on the cross as our substitute to fully pay the penalty for our sins.
6. We become right with God through repentance and faith in Christ.
N. expressed faith in Christ last night! We're happy along with her and her family.
Sharing a basic summary of the gospel with people (and I don't do it nearly enough) usually brings a few things back to my mind:
First, the simplicity of the gospel. It really is simple - and yet it is hard (the Bible calls it a stumbling block). A friend of my brother refused to believe because he couldn't grasp how something so great as a right relationship with God could be had for free. After all (as he said), you don't walk into a car dealership and get the keys to a new car handed to you.
Second, as simple as the message is, it's amazing how many people don't get it. They may say they understand, but usually you can tell by the eyes. I think most people tune out because they assume their Christians. In that respect I'd rather talk with an atheist.
Third, in light of the above, I am reminded that genuine repentance and faith are the work of God's Spirit. I'm just a messenger. That's also one of the reasons I'm not very concerned if they "pray a prayer" or not. A prayer can be a way of expressing faith, but without God's work in them it's just empty words.
Fourth, there is no greater joy in this world than to watch God work in a person's life and give them "the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ."
Fifth, it's not just a one-time profession, but it's a lifetime of growing in faith and hope and love . Generally, I've found - I don't know if anyone else notices this - that people who come to faith after they've been reading the Bible for a while will continue on with Christ. One-time presentations of the gospel followed by a response often do not produce lasting fruit.
Saturday, June 03, 2006
1) Who we are.
2) Who God is.
3) What we must do.
Keller also asks and answers three questions:
Why do I need to know God?
Why should I seek God?
What if I’m not ready to proceed?
Thursday, June 01, 2006
This month I plan to link to some web-presentations of the gospel. Yeah, the four spiritual laws will probably end up in the bunch. You may not like all of these. You may have your favorites. Please share experiences.
Warning: I am not trying to encourage an evangelism that focuses on these presentations as the sum of our outreach. Please use wisely.
I'm going to start with one that I believe I linked to last year. Two Ways to Live comes out of Australia. One of the reasons I like it is because the Australian spiritual context is more like the Canadian context than the U.S. There are training resources available with this.
D.A. Carson says of Two Ways to Live in The Gagging of God (pp. 501-504):
At the risk of oversimplification, most evangelistic tools in the Western world are subsets of systematic theology. By this I mean that they tend to ask atemporal questions, and give atemporal answers… There is nothing intrinsically wrong with this pattern, as long as the people to whom it is presented have already bought into the Judeo-Christian heritage…
But if you present these atemporal outlines of the gospel to those who know nothing about the Bible's plotline, and who have bought into one form or another of New Age theosophy, how will they hear you?…
In short, the good news of Jesus Christ is virtually incoherent unless it is securely set into a biblical worldview… In the last few years, several evangelistic tools have been created that are far more sensitive to the Bible's 'story line'.
The first of these to be prepared is still one of the most effective: Two Ways to Live presents Christ in six steps, the six steps offering, in contemporary English, something of the Bible's plot-line as the necessary framework in which to understand the gospel.
If you just happened by this site and are seeking God, I hope the above link to Two Ways to Live will help you with your questions.