Monday, July 2, 2007

Well, here goes....! Reviewing 2 ways to Live.

Delaying the reviews of these websites can't wait for ever if I am to be true to my word. So I thought I'd start with the site built around my favorite gospel outline, Two Ways to Live.

This is a gospel outline based around 6 pictures with stick men and crowns.
I. We are created to live under the rule of the holy God.

II. We rebel against God's rule

III. God will judge and punish our rebellion

IV. In his love God sent his Son Jesus who lived under his rule but received the punishment sinners deserved when he died as a substitute for sinners on the cross

V. God raised Jesus from the dead to rule. He gives life and will return to judge.

VI. We all face a choice. Will we continue to live for ourselves and face God's judgment, or will we trust in Jesus' death on our behalf, and turn from our rebellion to live under his rule?

I first came across the Two Ways to live gospel outline as a teenager when one of the leaders at a Christian holiday that I was attending taught it to me to help me with my evangelism. I found it personally very challenging at the time, for though I knew all about Jesus dying for sinners, and assumed that I was a Christian, I hadn't been struck so clearly before that salvation is given to those who repent and believe.

This isn't however only my favorite gospel outline because it has been significant in my own life, but also because I think it does such a great job of presenting the gospel. (Only today as I was having a conversation with someone over lunch about how to share the gospel more faithfully, it was this outline I had in mind)

But, these posts are not merely to evaluate the gospel outline, but the website. So let's put to the test...

1) Faithfulness of the gospel.

God, man, Christ, response all there, all explained well. All not only talked about, but backed up by Scripture.

2) Clarity
This is another reason that I love 2 ways to Live. It is so clear! the six pictures are straightforward enough that an artistic Philistine like me can draw them, but give great clarity to what is being talked about. The gospel is about the rule of God being rebelled against, yet, restored in those who trust in Jesus' sacrificial death.
Only in light of God's perfect rule does the seriousness of sin, the rightness of judgment, the need for a Saviour and the call to repentance and faith make sense.

3) Applicability
Though there is a clear call to repentance, I wish that there could have been a little more about what repentance looks like. A little more on the cost of discipleship would have helped with this.
Another question that I have about the site is that there is little about the fact that to follow Jesus is not merely an individual pursuit, but we are called to follow Jesus in fellowship with others. The only mention of the need for fellowship is about how to continue living for Jesus if someone has already come to faith "and he’ll provide brothers and sisters to encourage you along the way (as you meet with other Christians)."
This seems a little weaker than "Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates his brother is still in the darkness." 1 John 2:9

4) Responsibility
There is a contact page at the end where people can get in touch with people, whom I trust will follow up. Those who are not ready to repent & Believe are encouraged to investigate thoroughly.

all the things on the investigate thoroughly links are great things to do.
a) Read a gospel
b) attend a course such as Introducing God
c) Read a book such as John Chapman's A Fresh Start
d) speak with a Christian.

But strange, again, that attending a church is not mentioned.

5) Usability
The site is very simple, which is to its advantage. Each of the six pictures has it's own page, and each links to the next page, so that the gospel is well presented in bitesize chunks.
It's not too flashy, which again I like, as it is clear that the message is far more significant than the graphics.

So, 2 ways to live remains my favorite gospel outline.
The webiste presents that outline well.
I'd love to have sites present the gospel well, but also to point people to the community where that gospel is going to be displayed not merely in transformed individuals, but in the body of Christ.

So, if you are looking for a link to put on your church's website then this would work extremely well. 2 Ways to live would point them to the gospel. The church website would point them to the gospel community. What a great partnership!


Anonymous said...

Don't forget to mention that the material comes out of an orthodox Anglican church in Australia. It's a great outline of the gospel, just beware that they likely hold other positions with which you may or may not agree (infant baptism, consubstantiation, etc.)

Mike Gilbart-Smith said...

I agree that they will believe in infant baptism, but they will not believe in consubstantiation. Anglicanism where it remains evangelical is calvinistic not lutheran on the Lord's Supper.

Anonymous said...

Are you able to research as to why on the website of Two Ways to Live, there is an option that refers to The Essential Jesus? As I looked into The Essential Jesus, I came across references to John Dominic Crossan who is part of the group behind The Jesus Seminar. Is there is a link between Crossan and Two Ways to Live, in particular to their theologies? At first glance, I am not seeing any thing apparent...