Wednesday, May 16, 2012

THE GOSPEL & chronological teaching

"Evangelism must start with the holiness of God, the sinfulness of man, the demands of the law, and the eternal consequences of evil."
Dr. D. Martin Lloyd-Jones;
Studies in the Sermon on the Mount, p. 235
There is often an immediate misconception that arises at the outset of hearing this term. Indeed chronological Gospel teaching does, in part mean teaching the Gospel from Creation through to Christ and the New Testament Church. But to state it this simply is to miss a vital part of what the chronological Gospel is.

The Gospel begins with God and His holiness, this part of chronological Gospel teaching cannot be over emphasized. It then it teaches of man, who man is and our relationship to God. Teaching of man begins with creation and our relationship to God. We cannot talk of creation without teaching of the fall and of sin and of separation from God. Teaching of the fall then naturally leads into teaching just what sin is. That everything that is not of God is separation from God and is then sin. Teaching of the lost state of man and our need for redemption is a recurring theme throughout the Old Testament. Every story in the Bible, and all of the Law, points to the over arching meta-narrative of the Gospel. All of God's Word points to the Gospel, man's depravity and lost condition without a savior. Once it has been clearly taught, and understood; God's Holiness, sin and separation from God, and man's depravity and need of a redeemer, then teaching begins about the beautiful redemptive work of Christ, coming as an infant, living, teaching, suffering, dying and rising again from the dead as a propitiation for our sins.

The chronology of the Gospel begins with God, is filled with God and ends with God!

The chronological Gospel is about God, it does not meet physical or felt needs, it does not satisfy hunger or illness or sadness; it clearly teaches of God and asks of us to sacrifice, to surrender our lives and our sin to the Good and Holy God. The chronological Gospel presents the Gospel completely and in truth as taught in Scripture, it meets the very real need for a savior and for redemption.

To present the Gospel simply by beginning with the redemption of Christ is to presuppose that everyone already has a clear and complete understanding of God. Yet, if they did have such an understanding, they would already be reconciled to Him. This highlights just why beginning by teaching of God is so vital.

So, as you can see, the chronological Gospel model is not simply about teaching from Creation to Christ, although this is a part of it. It is about teaching the chronology of God and mankind and sin and redemption. I think it's important to note, that this teaching does not conclude with the resurrection. Chronological Gospel teaching is a discipleship and must continue even after someone has made a profession of Faith. Teaching through the New Testament and God's desire for the life of the believer and the Church is also a vital part of discipleship and the Chronological Gospel.

When someone asks; "What does it mean to be a Christian?", the answer must always begin with God!

New Tribes Mission, with whom NCEM has begun to hold missionary training, employs the chronological Gospel model. You will see in the movie below that not only does NTM strive to present the Gospel clearly through the chronological approach, but they actively strive to labour diligently as stewards of the Gospel by engaging in cultural worldview study. This documentary is called EE-TAOW and tells the true story of Mark Zook and his work among the Mouk people of Papua New Guinea, I strongly recommend taking thirty minutes to watch it. It will perhaps clarify for you the use of chronological Gospel teaching, and will no doubt be a blessing and encouragement.

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