What is Truth?

A surprising answer to an ancient question

(Part One of Two)

Never in history has there been a greater flow of information and never before have so many questioned what is actually the “truth.” We find ourselves swamped with experts, many of whom contradict each other. As debates rage over the pros and cons of various approaches in this pandemic, many more wonder which “expert” is actually telling us “the truth.” I mean, after all, who really knows? People are left mired in doubt and justifiably full of suspicion to any truth claims.

Then the Bible believer shows up claiming to have The Truth. In its defence, we often start with the absolute reliability of the Bible. This can be very appropriate, as any truth claim is only as good as its source. In fact, it is very good to know how to defend the uniqueness of the Bible. We even wrote a booklet about that subject!

In communicating our beliefs to others, especially the skeptical, it seems reasonable to look to Scripture and see how it approaches evangelism.

“…it seems reasonable to look to Scripture and see how it approaches evangelism.”

Looking at the Bible evangelistically, Scripture does not begin with arguments addressing the reliability of Scripture. You don’t find passages on archaeology or manuscript evidence. No time is dedicated to the intricate detail and carefulness with which scribes copied and recopied the autographs. Much could have been written on these topics, but nothing is said.

The Apostle Paul, when dealing with the scholars in Athens, did not start his evangelistic message with a defence of Scripture. Nor did the Apostle John begin his evangelistic gospel with an argument for the reliability of God’s Word. And the book of Genesis simply starts with, “In the beginning God”–the ultimate Source of truth. (1) Over and over again we find that Scripture takes us directly to two spheres of information necessary to trust God: his Identity and his History. In this first of a two-part article, we will look at that first sphere of information, the issue of identity.

“Knowing the basics of God’s identity is key to grasping the Gospel.”

The issue of identity looks at who God is and what he is like. Knowing the basics of God’s identity is key to grasping the Gospel.

Jesus asked his disciples, “Who do people say that I am?” The answer to that question is the ultimate statement on truth. One might respond, “Jesus is God,” and think that communicates sufficiently. But think again. Who or what is God? If a person’s idea of God is something like, “Let the force be with you,” or is mingled with other gods including oneself, then it becomes very important to take a few steps back and allow the Bible to fill in one’s understanding. But is that how evangelism is commonly done? Not usually. 

Most of our gospel presentations are based on 40-year old methods. Back then, assumptions were safely made that people knew who the God of the Bible was. We could say, “God loves you,” and people immediately thought of the God of the Bible. They clearly understood the basics of his identity. But that is not the case today. Today we still say “God loves you,” and we still assume people know what God is like, but more often than not, they don’t. I need not quote statistics to show what we all know from our own experience: that people today have a very garbled perspective of God’s identity. It is a problem in every aspect of our culture and society. 

In such situations we need to imitate what Scripture itself does: take the time to build a picture in people’s minds regarding the identity of God. We must recognize that a big chunk of Scripture is dedicated to defining the character of God. And how does it do that? Not with a dry list of attributes, but through stories that reveal God’s nature. 

“…we need to imitate what Scripture itself does: take the time to build a picture in people’s minds regarding the identity of God.”

That is where the Bible starts, declaring the power and knowledge of God through creation. That is where the Apostle John begins his book, declaring the God who is the creator. It is where Paul began with his esteemed crowd in Athens. As ambassadors of the gospel, we need to make sure people know a little bit about the identity of the God of the Bible before we leap to the events of the cross and tomb. Otherwise we may find that our “convert” is not trusting the biblical God, but rather an impersonal force or a very corrupt concept of Jesus. (2)

“What I believe in my heart must make sense in my mind.”

Ravi Zacharias

Sharing the gospel in the context of the biblical story line, from creation to the cross, declares a personal, supernatural God at work in history. It clearly defines who God is and what he is like—his identity. More often than not, in today’s world, that is where we must start.
With the passing of our brother in the Lord, Ravi Zacharias, we are reminded of the importance of knowing not only what we believe, but why we believe it. Ravi spoke again and again to the importance of bringing reason to what we believe: “What I believe in my heart must make sense in my mind.” (3)

It is only when we have the nature of the biblical God clear in our minds that we can make sense of the world around us and understand what Scripture has to say to mankind. We will look at that in our next post.

(1) In the Bible, the truth of what is written is assumed and taught as such. Only prophecy seems to be used as an apology for the reliability of Scripture (Isaiah 42:8-9).

(2) For example, Islam, Hinduism and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormonism) all speak of Jesus, but the Jesus they present is not the Jesus of the Bible.

(3)”Bridging the Heart and Mind”. Interview with Danielle DuRant, rzim.org. July 28, 2011

New Chinese Translation of “What are Christmas and Easter all About?”

GoodSeed International has linked with Ambassadors for Christ to make this online booklet available over the Easter Season. For the next two weeks, you can download this booklet at no charge and share it with your friends and family.

Download PDF of Chinese edition

圣诞节与复活节的真正意义
这本书到底说了什么?
这本书的目的是讲述了圣经里面最重要的故
事。它告诉我们圣诞节与复活节的真正意义。
然而这本书并没有因着节日故事的结束而停
下来,它告诉我们更多关于人生、死亡以及
死亡以后的生命。它帮助我们了解,圣经是
怎样的一本书!

More information about the English edition of “What are Christmas and Easter all About?”

Redeeming the time

The coronavirus crisis has cancelled sports. What will we watch?
It has cancelled meetings. Where will we go?
It has limited travel. What should we do to keep our minds busy?

Perhaps it’s a good time to strengthen ourselves in God’s Word…

Churches and families can be proactive and launch their people on a survey of the Bible. For years, I began Bible courses by asking students to fill in an 80-question survey of the Bible. These were not complicated questions; they were questions every believer should ace. The results of the survey were troubling. Often the Old Testament portion was almost blank. One middle-aged lady who had been a believer for many years, wrote across the blank Old Testament portion in large letters, “This is why I am here.” A pastor looking at the survey results from his own church remarked, “I didn’t realize my own elders knew so little.”

 

Now might be a good time to launch your congregation on an in-home study. Here is what we have to offer:

  • Salvation:
    • Deep dive with By This Name, a 374-page book covering 1,570 fully quoted verses, plus 66 video clips, giving a creation-to-Christ survey of the Bible.
    • As an alternative, No Ordinary Story covers the same material in less detail. (Eleven booklets, each 48 pages. Chapters can be read in 5 minutes or less. There are also 64 video clips to compliment the teaching in the books. There are no workbooks available for this series yet.)
    • For the non-reader, The Stranger on the Road to Emmaus VideoBook. Eleven hours of watching, broken into chapters and sections. We also have this material available in book format, as well accompanying workbooks.
  • Sanctification:
    • Firm up your own, your family’s, or your congregation’s understanding of what it means to walk with the Lord by faith. The Captive and the King’s Will takes you on a journey with the Apostle Peter as he learns and teaches the ABCs of the Christian life. This book will take you a lot deeper than you can imagine.

**For Those Experiencing Financial Hardship: Coupons for many free e-books are available for those who cannot afford them otherwise. Also, the videobook mentioned above can be watched without cost on our website.

80 Basic Bible Knowledge Questions

For years, John Cross began Bible courses by asking students to fill in an 80-question survey of the Bible. These were not complicated questions; they were questions every believer should ace. The results of the survey were troubling. Often the Old Testament portion was almost blank. One middle-aged lady who had been a believer for many years, wrote across the blank Old Testament portion in large letters, “This is why I am here.” A pastor looking at the survey results from his own church remarked, “I didn’t realize my own elders knew so little.”

This quiz does not test a person’s general Bible knowledge. Rather, it reveals one’s understanding of biblical foundations specifically related to the message of the Gospel. This includes the reliability of Scripture, the identity of Jesus and the purpose for the cross and the tomb. Many key stories, concepts and trivia are not addressed, as they are not central to understanding the Gospel.

View the 80 Questions: 80 Questions Quiz

View the answer key: 80 Questions Quiz – Answers

Sharing hope in uncertain times

In these uncertain times, as we watch people at all levels of society struggle to cope with the fallout from COVID-19, those of us at GoodSeed want to do all we can to help you present hope and answers to those around you. Many people who were resistant or indifferent to the Gospel before are suddenly much more receptive at this time. Let’s be ready to provide the answers to those who are seeking.

First of all, please do take advantage of the many e-books we have on our website, available in many languages as well. These are great to send electronically to friends near and far. We don’t want financial considerations to limit your ability to reach out to those who need it, so please utilize the code GOODSEEDFREE if you need to.

Also, the VideoBook for The Stranger on the Road to Emmaus is available for free viewing on our website. While great for personal study, this course would also be ideal for online Bible studies or Sunday school classes. Churches may wish to utilize this course for taking their congregations through an overview of the Gospel.

In all other ways, here at GoodSeed we are continuing to do our jobs, doing what we can to help make the gospel known around the world. We are available by phone and email to answer your questions and we are on hand to fulfill orders to the best of our ability.

If there’s anything we can do to assist you as you seek to reach out to others, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

When all is said and done, may we be known for the love we have shown and the hope that we have offered as believers during this incredible time.

Ideas for using “The Lamb”

The Lamb can be used in so many ways

Every once in a while we get an order that piques our curiousity as to how our evangelism and discipleship resources are being used. When a woman ordered 16 copies of our Children’s book, The Lamb, we noticed she had ordered another case just a few months previously. When we asked her why she was ordering so many Lamb books, we received this:

“I have never had my hands on a more thorough gospel message.  It’s beautifully written and illustrated. I’ve used it in Sunday school and used it with my own kids to share with them the story of the gospel message and what God has done for us. God spoke to me about these books recently. He impressed upon me that each of our church members should have one. I ordered one case earlier on and realized we didn’t have enough to give each family so I’ve ordered another case to be here in time for Easter [so] each family will get one book. They may choose to keep it or give it away to someone who needs the gospel message. Thank you for providing this wonderful book.

We have heard from many people who give copies of The Lamb at every baby shower or to new parents in their church, and many more stories of grandparents giving the books to their grandkids.
We love hearing back from people about how they use these books! Share your story with us at [email protected].

Pregnancy Care Centre Resource

We also had a large order of several cases of The Lamb from a pregnancy care centre in Alberta. We asked them about what they plan to do with 100+ books, and they give one to each of their clients in a layette, a gift basket of supplies to help these expectant new parents. We think this is a wonderful outreach idea!

We have also heard from those who purchase a case of books at a discount to donate to their local centres as part of their personal ministry to their community.

Does your community have a faith-based pregnancy care centre that could make use of these books as part of their ministry?

Practical steps to share your faith

In the last week, I have read two articles, one having to do with the dropout rate of young folk from attending church and the other on the fact that most church growth is by transfer rather than by conversion. These are not new trends.

Are we assuming our children will just “somehow” absorb the gospel message? Do we lack the know-how to lead them to Christ and ground them in the gospel? Do we even share the gospel with anyone?

Evangelism doesn’t seem to be a big priority in many churches. If you can find a Christian bookstore (many have closed), check out the evangelism shelf. It is quite small and stocked with material written for audiences 40 years ago. By contrast, check out the self-help section. It shows the priorities we have as a church.

GoodSeed has developed an easy-to-use evangelism curriculum that starts with simple steps and moves progressively to t he more complex. Designed for Sunday Schools or Small Groups, “TERM for small groups” will challenge your spiritual life with proven methodology right from the Word. Consider the first two modules:
Module A: Lord, how can I grow in faith when I am stuck? Seven 50-minute sessions that build confidence in the gospel to change lives, including your own.
Module B: Lord, how do I share my faith when I don’t know where to start? Five 50-minute sessions using a crawl-walk-run approach to sharing your faith.

If you wish to go deeper there are three more modules. Every lesson comes with full instructions: an intro, the video component, a time for discussion, a thing to do and a take-away to remember. Lessons include both a Facilitator’s Guide and Student Worksheets.  Learn more at goodseed.com/term_for_small_groups_bible_study.html

No Ordinary Story now available

Over the course of three years, GoodSeed has developed a new series of booklets adapted for the Secular Worldview—the “No Ordinary Story” series. Maintaining a Creation-to-Christ approach, the Bible’s core message has been divided into eight small booklets. Chapters are short, taking 3 to 5 minutes to read. Sprinkled throughout the series are video clips that enhance the written content. This basic 8-booklet set can be rounded out with additional books that include a pre-evangelism booklet and two follow-up booklets for those desiring to go deeper.

The “No Ordinary Story” series has been wrung out across a spectrum of audiences, with many people coming to the Lord even during the trial stage. We trust the Lord will use this little tool in a mighty way to bring many to Him.

In the coming weeks we will be sharing multiple ways to use this new tool.

No Ordinary Story

Created for the Secular Worldview

“I’m a ‘None.’” Had I heard him right? Had he said he was a “nun”?

I was taking a taxi across a large city, giving me time to engage the driver in conversation. Soon we were talking about the Bible. “I’m a ‘None,’” he repeated. I was puzzled. “N-O-N-E,” he spelled for me, and then went on to explain that it was his way of saying he wasn’t into religion and stuff like that. It took up too much headspace and besides, it just didn’t interest him.

The truth is, “Nones” have become a recognized norm, and are now very common. The “None” worldview is really a popularized version of the Secular Worldview.

This is the group for whom “No Ordinary Series” was written.

Big Ideas in Bite-Sized Books

The core message is presented in eight booklets :
No Ordinary God: Who is the God of the Bible? What is he like? (introduction to God’s character as revealed through the creation account)
No Ordinary Evil: Why is there so much evil in the world? Where does it come from? (the fall of man, sin and its consequences)
No Ordinary Faith: Why is faith so important? What’s the big deal about trust?
No Ordinary Rules: Does God keep his word? What is the right way to live? (Abraham and Isaac, Moses and Exodus, the giving and purpose of the Ten Commandments)
No Ordinary House: Is there a way out of this mess? What’s with the tent? (sin, works won’t do it, the sacrificial system, the Tabernacle, the Prophets)
No Ordinary Birth: Who was Jesus anyway? How can we be sure? (birth of Jesus, start of his ministry)
No Ordinary Death: Why a cross? Can a dead man live again? (death, burial and resurrection of Jesus)
No Ordinary Plan: Why the lamb? Is it really that simple? (putting it all together)

Background booklet:
No Ordinary Book: What’s the big deal about the Bible? A pre-evangelism booklet building the case for the Bible.

Going Deeper booklets:
No Ordinary Verdict: Am I still guilty? What about shame?
No Ordinary Return: Where is Jesus now? Is he coming back to earth again?

Looking for evangelism resources to give away at Easter?

Every Easter new people visit our churches looking to know more about this unique Christian holiday.

The Story that Matters is an ideal book to give away to those who want to know more about the Good News of Easter. Inexpensive and easy to read, consider giving them away to those who cross your path this Easter season.

This 64-page booklet explains the gospel in a chronological manner from creation to the cross. Using expressive line art illustrations and carefully controlled text, the core message of the Bible is explained in simple-to-understand English so that even someone who uses English as a second language can clearly understand.

With case discounts, this book is priced so it can be given away in large numbers. Churches can present these booklets to visitors or they can be given out at concerts or church programs. Individuals can also give the booklet like a gospel tract to family, friends and neighbours.

Order soon to ensure delivery for Easter.

 

Features:
• Chronological: Begins with the creation of the universe, and then progressing sequentially through key Old Testament stories, it moves into the New Testament to reveal the meaning of the cross and the tomb. The main story of the Bible is tied together into one universal, all-encompassing drama. The content is brief so a reader can complete the book in approximately 45 minutes.
• Assumptions: Assumes reader has little or no prior knowledge of the Bible.
• Fully illustrated: Expressively drawn line art brings the gospel story to life.
• Written for those with limited language skills: Using EasyEnglish, it is suitable for children, teens, ESL readers and those who are not generally readers.

The Captive and the King’s Will

Last month we marked a major milestone–our new book was sent to the printers!

The Captive and the King’s Will is a follow-up book to our evangelism books.

For years, people have been reading these books and asking “What’s next?” We trust this book will answer many of those questions.

While our other books are dedicated to salvation – explaining the Gospel and justification – this new book focuses on sanctification and the Christian life.

We see the Lord preparing the way, as two donors have already paid for the initial print run of the book. Read more and pre-order at: www.goodseed.com/the-captive-and-the-kings-will.html

“I have read your book “All that the Prophets have Spoken and I love it! I was wondering if there were any more…”

The above was part of a letter received from a woman in Ohio. Her letter reflects a question we have received often over the years.

“Your book changed my life! But what’s the next step?”

“I led a “Stranger on the Road to Emmaus” study with a couple ladies and they became Christians. What do I teach them now?”

“I’m discipling a young man who became saved through reading “By This Name,” but I’m not sure where to start. Do you have a follow-up book?”

Now we can say, “YES!”

After many years of field-testing and reworking and more testing and polishing, we are happy to announce that “The Captive and the King’s Will” is on its way! You can pre-order* your copy now on our webstore. http://ca.goodseed.com/the-captive-and-the-kings-will-english/

This book is geared toward those who have read one of our main evangelistic books (The Stranger on the Road to Emmaus, By This Name or All that the Prophets have Spoken). No assumptions are made of any other exposure to Christianity.

Following the life of Simon Peter, The Captive and the King’s Will guides the new believer into the next steps of what it means to follow Christ. Assuming the reader has little or no previous exposure to church or Christianity, The Captive endeavours to touch on key sanctificational truths, grounding believers in their new-found faith as they pursue a walk with the Lord.

For more information, click here.
To preorder, visit our online store

*Expected release date is 5th Dec 2018. Orders of other GoodSeed materials that include this book will not ship until stock arrives in our warehouse.

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