Tuesday, July 14, 2009

A Better "Gospel Presentation"

by Ben

If you had five minutes to explain the gospel, what would you say? I think most of us might present the gospel like the diagram below: We sinned, therefore we are separated from God, God bridged the gap through Jesus, now we can be with God.

There's nothing unbiblical persay about this presentation, but I think it doesn't do justice to the gospel as it is presented in the bible and it causes a lot of problems. First, it skips the entire the whole Old Testament -- or it jumps from Genesis 1-3 (Adam and Eve sinned) to Romans. Second, it makes it seem like the "gospel" is all about how individuals are saved. But what about all of the created world around us? Is the bible just about rescuing individuals out of a sinful world and sending them to heaven while the world around us rots away? The bible's answer is a resounding "NO!" (this would be another blog post) On the other hand, it's true that the gospel is also NOT just about making the world a better place without preaching individual salvation through Christ. I recently came across this gospel presentation from these guys in Britain called the "Crowded House" and it's the best, clearest one I've seen so far. Here it is:

Summary: God promises the world we all want; Jesus shows us God's new world.

1. We have spoiled God's good world.

2. God promises a new world.

3. We cannot create God's new world.

4. We can enjoy God's new world because of Jesus.

5. Christians are God's people waiting for God's new world.


ayee said...

That is a lot of draw-wings in 5 minutes.

bpun said...

I guess Christians also need to learn how to be better at drawing. ;) haha, you're right. It is more complicated. Maybe there's a way to do all the drawings with just a stick figure and a tree and a cross. This diagram just shows the stages.

JonLau910 said...

interesting. i've pondered how I'd convey the gospel without doing an injustice to the Bible as a whole ... 10-15 min later I was like "this is taking quite a long time."

Jason said...

My concern with that new presentation is that it suggests man's biggest problem is bad gardening when the Bible is clear that it's rebellion against God's good rule. It's not clear why Jesus had to die. The cross would be considered excessive cruelty if bad stewardship were only in view. The personal (individualistic) aspect of the gospel must not be lost for sake of the corporate. Let's find one that balances both.

bpun said...

Good point. I would push back and note that the first block is titled "creation and rebellion," and I do think that this presentation does make it clear that Israel/humanity cannot create God's good world on its own strength -- we are utterly helpless. Perhaps this does not get across the full severity of our sin -- but I think the brokenness in our world we experience (both on a corporate and individual level) is a consequence of our rebellion. But I'm always on the look out for a better presentation. Perhaps there is just no way to combine them in one presentation -- both the biblical theology presentation (creation, fall, redemption, restoration) and the systematic theology presentation (man, sin, justification, sanctification).