Monday, March 09, 2009

Gospel-less, really?

Now really...I don't go looking for this stuff. I'm actually a little bit bummed out that I found it.

The internet gives a voice to anyone, and occasionally I come across these "Christian" web pages that are devoted to telling its audiences why every popular Christian leader is somehow a false leader.

James Choung, a graduate of MIT, and now a divisional director for Intervaristy, has popularized a diagram for evangelism called, "the four circles." Here it is, read below for one website's critique:

So what's your response to the diagram?

The authors of "a little leaven" wrote:

Not too long ago Christians used the "4 Spiritual Laws" to explain the Christian faith. Today we now have an Emergent influenced witnessing tool that utilizes 4 circles to try to explain the Christian faith (this 4 circles presentation is all the rage among college students). The big problem with this new tool is that it completely misses the point about Biblical Christianity and sinful man's need for a savior and Christ's death on the cross for the sins of the world. Instead, this is some squishy eco-friendly Jesus presentation where you can choose to make Jesus the leader of your life so that He can work through you to bring healing and restoration to the world.

And one of their readers surprisingly wrote:
All I could do was yell WHAT???...WHAT???...WHAT??? at the screen. Excuse me, I have to go pick my chin off the floor.

Did this diagram really miss the point about sinful man's need for a savior? Is a diagram meant to exhaust the entire conversation about a relationship with Jesus?
Which diagram, if any, would Jesus have been able to recognize?

Regarding the four spiritual laws, James Choung writes:
Well, what was missing from the diagrams I had learned was anything substantial about one of the most important themes in Jesus' own preaching: the kingdom of God. I was reading a lot about the kingdom of God, in the Bible and in recent scholarship, but when it came to sharing the core message of the faith, I'd always fall back on an evangelistic diagram that didn't include it. And it dawned on me: Even though there are tons of books out there about the kingdom of God, very few people will be able to share it with their friends unless they are given some tool or aid—some icon—that will help them remember the key points. So even though I'm not a fan of canned presentations, I felt that creating a diagram was essential to help us understand a bigger picture of the gospel that Jesus taught.

You can find an interview by Andy Crouch with James Choung here,
and the Christianity Today article, "From Four Laws to Four Circles" here.


Christine H. said...

Okay, well besides the other comments I read below the video, I just have to say this:

He sucks at drawing stick-figures!
: )

Z Mom said...

No fair not putting your opinion out their first Ryan....

I liked that he began with the hunger, thirst associations which would gain a "common ground" on which to begin. Obviously the "green movement" is so big so being concerned about the "planet" would be another huge common ground.

I think people like a diagram so I won't argue about using a diagram...however, in a true conversation you would already have the non-believer nodding his head in aggreement well into the second why not leave the diagram there at the third circle with the drawing of the cross and really explain who Jesus is, what he did in life, and on the cross and do it straight from scripture? The Holy Spirit works almost always through scripture, if not always, so the power is in God's word, unto salvation.

John Piper said the best advice he ever recieved was, " to preach a sermon that would not make a Muslim feel comfortable."

I don't know anyone that would be offended by the diagram, even a Muslim believes that Jesus was a good man and a good teacher.

The gospel offends, let us not be ashamed of sharing the Good News.

Where I really disagree with the diagram is in his switch from number 3 to 4.....It really seems like he is saying Jesus is our helper. This is not the Gospel.

D Gonzalez said...

I am so relieved...Now I don't have to read that huge, confusing book they stick in the pews at church!