Welcome to the soulwinnersr.us website. Remember again Proverbs 11:30 that says, “He who wins souls is wise.”
Last week we discussed Evangelism Session #3 by Dr. Barry Jones, a Dallas Theological Seminary professor. I entitled the post “God’s Unfolding Cosmic Story!” Dr. Jones talked about the term “evangelism”, and how it plays a major part in God’s cosmic story.
Session #4 this week is entitled by Dr. Jones “What is the Gospel?” I especially want to focus on what Dr. Jones talked about toward the end of his session, so I entitled my post, “Sharing the Gospel: Synchronic, Left-Brain Approach Versus Diachronic Right-Brain Approach”. We'll talk about what these mean a little later.
Dr. Jones first explained what the gospel “is not”.
- It’s not merely that “life gets better with Jesus”. This he termed as a “consumer product” gospel, and that we can’t just buy what Jesus sells, and things will get better for us.
- It’s not merely “the minimum entrance requirement to get into heaven”. He said this is a “reductionist version of the gospel”, only taking into account what will happen when we die, and ignoring the broader aspect of what will happen while we live.
Dr. Jones then explained that the gospel is the “good news” of what God has done in Jesus Christ to accomplish his mission to “rescue and renew His broken creation”, and “to create and sanctify a people for His own glory who will one day dwell in His uninhibited reign characterized by justice and peace”. Dr. Jones uses this definition repeatedly throughout the series.
He discussed four of God’s original intentions for humanity:
- God wanted humankind to have a loving relationship, or shalom, with Himself.
- God wanted humankind to have a loving relationship, or shalom, with each other.
- God wanted humankind to have a sense of harmony, or shalom, with God’s creation, or created order.
- God wanted people to have a personal sense of shalom in themselves, and he wanted them to flourish on the earth.
Instead man went his own way into what one French theologian called a “cosmic rebellion”, or “treason” to the point where it “corrupted” and “ruptured” God’s plan for shalom. After this corruption nothing could ever make us good enough to restore that shalom. Only what Jesus Christ did for us as a sacrifice for our sins, and his death and resurrection could atone for the corruption.
Dr. Jones said there are three fundamental considerations of the gospel that we always want to communicate in any gospel presentation:
- “The reality of the human predicament."
- “God’s provision to address the predicament.”
- “Our response to God’s provision.”
Also, there are three fundamental points, or “nutshell” of the gospel, which is God’s provision to address the human predicament, are the following:
- “Jesus died for our sins.”
- “Jesus was buried.” (Proof that he really did die.)
- “Jesus rose again.” (Resurrection.)
Dr. Jones emphasized the importance of the title Jesus had of “Christ”. He said that Jesus was like a first name, but Christ was His title which means “Anointed One” who came into the world as a “liberating king”. Jesus didn’t, however, come to liberate people from government oppression, but He came instead to liberate the hearts of people from the bondage and corruption of sin.
Dr. Jones talked about Dr. Timothy Keller’s “Synchronic” versus “Diachronic” sharing of the gospel message:
- Synchronic: is like the gospel in bullet point form. It includes more of the nuts and bolts elements of the gospel like what Paul wrote, such as “justification by faith”, “salvation by grace”, and other “personal” components.
- Diachronic: is like the gospel in story form. It includes the “Kingdom of God”, and the “cosmic” trajectory of the Gospel. (Note: Stephen in Acts 7 used what I would call a diachronic storyline presentation of the gospel.)
Dr. Jones said that both synchronic and diachronic presentations of the gospel are very critical components of the gospel message. But he believes that the diachronic, gospel in story form might be a more effective way to initially share the gospel with an unbeliever, especially in a world where storylines and imagery are very prominent.
Dr. Jones said that the synchronic, gospel in bullet point form is very good in unpacking the gospel elements AFTER the conversion of a person. He compared it to unpacking a suitcase at the end of a journey when one reaches his or her destination.
Lastly, Dr. Jones said that we sometimes look at understanding scripture like a lab worker cutting up a dead frog, trying to understand its pieces and parts. This is what he called left-brain thinking.
Instead, he said that scripture is alive, and we can be inspired to encounter its beauty, emotion, transformational power, and the cosmic implications that come with it. This is what he called right-brain thinking.
Up to this point I realize I’ve been using a synchronic, bullet-pointed, left-brain presentation of the gospel. My Roman Road tract and systematic approach to sharing the gospel are prime examples.
I really don’t want to bog myself down with changing approaches midstream. But, I very well may want to give a diachronic, storyline, right-brain gospel presentation a try.
What do you think? I’d like to get your perspective on what you think is the best way to share the gospel.
See you next time,