Thursday, July 31, 2008

Two Ways to Live

Some of you may have noticed the addition of the Two Ways to Live Gospel presentation link on the blog's right panel. It has been included on the homepage of Immanuel Baptist Church (where I serve as an elder) for quite some time.

However, I thought it was worthy of a post on the blog as well. Here is a description of the approach of this Gospel presentation from the Matthias Media website:

At the most basic level, Two Ways to Live is simply a memorable summary of the Christian gospel. Or to put it more accurately, it is the Christian gospel including ome of its necessary presuppositions and background.

In the New Testament, the word 'gospel' usually refers to the proclamation of Jesus Christ crucified. It is the announcement that God's kingdom has arrived in the person of his Son, the powerful Messiah, who inaugurates his worldwide reign by dying and rising again so that repentance and forgiveness can be preached to all nations. This Jesus Christ now rules at God's right hand, from where he will come again to judge.

In other words, Jesus himself is the focus of the Christian message or 'gospel'. However, Jesus does not arrive in a vacuum. He arrives as the culmination of God's plans, and their outworking in history. He comes and dies and rises, "according to the Scriptures". He arrives in the context of all that God has already revealed about himself and humanity.
All this is part of the background or 'worldview' that the biblical authors took for granted, but which many modern (or postmodern) people do not share. If we are to know and tell the gospel in a world where these basic assumptions about God and human guilt are no longer shared, or even common, then we need to fill in some of the rest of the story. We need to provide some of the background.

This is what Two Ways to Live seeks to do. It fills in some of the wider story of the Bible, some of the biblical theology, so that the message about Jesus makes sense.

On the same page where this summary is found, there is also this endorsement of the presentation from D.A. Carson:

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.
The Gagging of God, 1996, Zondervan Publishing House, pp 501-504, (used by permission).

Check out Two Ways to Live, and please let me know what you think. You can find a link to add to your blog or webpage here.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Pastor Throop. I do like their gospel presentation but I find it a bit weak with regards to repentance. I tend to use "the way of the master" a bit more. However, I do like the way matthias media has constructed "two ways" with the drawings and easy to follow gospel presentation.