I just finished running a 4 week course at church introducing people to an summary of the Christian faith called God’s World.
I really enjoyed getting into the material.
There’s a real depth and theological sophistication to it — although some of the key claims and distinctions might be a little too open to misunderstanding (I’ll reflect more on this in a future post).
But it was a conversation I had with Ben yesterday that crystallised what I appreciate most about God’s World:
It sells the benefits of the good news about Jesus (without selling out in terms of faithfulness).
What do I mean?
Well … according to Ben, Apple do this superbly. They don’t tell you that your iPod has an 8 gig or 16 gig capacity. They tell you that it holds 5000 songs or whatever.
And God’s World is a lot like that.
It’s like that because it pays attention to the problem of evil, a problem that almost everyone has a nodding familiarity with.
Better, it integrates it with the basic gospel outline (as it is in fact integrated in Scripture — you’d have to say that the gospel of justification as Paul presents it in Romans at least includes God’s self-vindication, the demonstration of his justice).
So it doesn’t just say, ‘Here’s the message about Jesus and some context in which that makes sense, would you like to believe it?’
Instead, it says:
You know this problem that you already feel more or less acutely? Well, the Christian message actually takes it seriously. It has something to say. And what it says is that God hates evil even more than you do. And, in his love for us, he’s done something decisive about it — he’s sent Jesus to live, die and rise again to defeat it. All that remains now is for him to implement that fully… Do you want in?