What is Truth? Part Three

In this “What is Truth?” series, we have seen how vital it is to know sufficient information about the identity and history of Yahweh in order for a person (or ourselves!) to have confidence in God and his Word.

Many presentations of the gospel focus mainly on Jesus’ work on the cross. But then comes the question, “Who is Jesus?” It is not sufficient to say, “He is God,” because then you must explain what God is like. In this series, we’ve seen that it is vital to explain God’s identity and history if we expect people to trust him.

The same principle extends to trusting Jesus for our personal salvation. We need to know the identity and history of Jesus before we will trust him. We sort of intuitively know this but we often skip to the story of the cross without really nailing down the identity of Jesus. The identity of Jesus is that he is the Creator God. We simply cannot assume a person knows or believes that to be the case.

It is no coincidence that the identity of Jesus is the one area that cults and other religions most commonly assault.

It is no coincidence that the identity of Jesus is the one area that cults and other religions most commonly assault. They make Jesus out to be a lesser god, a prophet or maybe a good man, but not the Creator God of the Bible. It is also no coincidence that the Apostle John began his gospel with the clear statement that Jesus was the Creator God. He then reinforces that identity with eight miracles that confirm his deity. Only once that is nailed down can we really explain the historical reality of Christ.

The history of Jesus Christ centres around the events of the cross and tomb, but here, too, we benefit immensely from having a little background. Many ask, “Why did Jesus need to die on the cross? Why didn’t he just pronounce forgiveness on our sins? Did he have to die the way he did?” Those kinds of questions, gone unanswered, have been often cited as reasons why people leave the faith. They simply didn’t understand the identity and history of Christ and so begin to question their own faith. Clearly it is vital that we have a firm grip on the identity and history of Christ.

Those kinds of questions, gone unanswered, have been often cited as reasons why people have left the faith.

Dr. Andy Woods, author and teacher, says the whole reason for the necessity of the cross and tomb can be found in Genesis 3, where God gives his first promise of a Messiah to the newly fallen Adam and Eve. Dr. Woods quotes W.H. Griffith Thomas when he says, “[Genesis 3] is the pivot on which the whole Bible turns.” (1)

“[Genesis 3] is the pivot on which the whole Bible turns.”

W.H. Griffith Thomas

There in Genesis 3, we read of the sad history of mankind. We learn of the choice to trust Satan instead of God, the first human sin. We also learn about the shared identity of all humanity – our sin nature – and the consequence of that sin – eternal death. In Genesis 3, we also learn the early history of the Promised Messiah when God says to Satan, “I will put hostility between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring [the Messiah]. He [the Messiah] will strike your head [a fatal blow], and you will strike his heel [a temporary wound].” (2) This then becomes the first of many prophecies pointing to a coming Saviour.

“If you don’t understand what happened in Genesis 3, you have no idea what the rest of the Bible is really talking about.”

Dr. Andy Woods

Dr. Woods goes on to say, “If you don’t understand what happened in Genesis 3, you have no idea what the rest of the Bible is really talking about. You have no idea why Jesus had to come into this world to die on a cross if you don’t understand Genesis chapter 3.” (1)

Let’s be sure we take sufficient time and care in our gospel presentations to ensure our listeners grasp the identity and history of their Saviour. Doing so can make all the difference in the faith walk of a believer.

  1. “Revelation 072-Identification Through Omission,” last modified February 23, 2020, accessed June 22, 2020, https://slbc.org/sermon/revelation-072-identification-through-absence/#transcriptlink.
  1. Genesis 3:15.

20th Anniversary of The Stranger on the Road to Emmaus

It’s amazing the sort of impact one book can have. 20 years ago, in 1997, the book The Stranger on the Road to Emmaus was published. At the time, author John R. Cross and the men working with him had no idea that it would be the catalyst for a global ministry and how many people would come to faith in Christ through it. It was just one book with a simple message: a straightforward, systematic presentation of the gospel from creation to the cross.

The writing of The Stranger was drawn from decades of missionary experience of those working among tribal people in Papua New Guinea and elsewhere. These tribes, previously unevangelised and ignorant of the Bible’s message, responded well to a chronological presentation of the gospel. So well, in fact, that whole villages were putting their faith in Christ, without the age-old problems of syncretism and “rice Christians.” When the Bible was presented from creation to Christ, it made profound sense. The people would understand and believe. Lives were transformed.

But was it only tribal groups who responded so well to the creation-to-Christ method? What about the Western world? As John and his colleagues interacted with people back home in North America and around the world, they realized that some of these people were just as ignorant of the Bible as the tribal people. They knew nothing about God. They didn’t understand who Jesus was and why he came. We live, for the most part, in a post-Christian culture.

The Stranger on the Road to Emmaus was, in a sense, an experiment. It was a book that used the same method that had proven so effective with tribal groups—a chronological approach to explaining the gospel—except this time for the Western world. It was designed so that it could be given away or used to guide people to a clear understanding of the Bible. But would it be relevant and effective?

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Using the Worldview Survey, Part II: Discovering your friend’s worldview

In Using the Worldview Survey, Part I: Sharing the gospel when time is short, we shared how the Worldview Survey questions can be used as a springboard to sharing the gospel when you only have a short time with an individual (perhaps in a waiting room, interacting with a door-to-door salesman, or in a street evangelism context). In this second article, we share more specifically on how you can use the questions to discover the beliefs of the individual before moving on to share the gospel.

The conversation was going so smoothly. The young woman in front of me seemed to be eagerly digesting each point I made as I walked her through the gospel message. She was nodding her head, agreeing with me when I’d ask her questions and assuring me she understood. Great! Next up, the sinner’s prayer, right? We’d been conversing for some time when she finally began to open up more about her own worldview, extinguishing my optimism. Apparently she was exploring a pagan religion. She worshipped the earth. She wasn’t terribly bothered by her sin. Surely God could be expressed in many forms and there were many ways to seek him.

It was surprising to me that she could both agree with what I’d been saying, while at the same time hold to these very opposing viewpoints. She was, by definition, a post-modern thinker.

As she walked away from me a little later, I realized that I’d spent a long time sharing the gospel to a woman who did not have the foundations in place to understand it. While I knew God could still bless and use my feeble efforts, surely I could be more effective if I’d had an idea of the worldview of my listener before I dove into sharing the Bible’s message.

I realized I needed a method of quickly determining one’s worldview and finding a way to discern their true understanding of the Bible’s message, so that I could know how to proceed with the truths of the gospel

The Worldview Survey (originally published in the book And Beginning with Moses), a list of nine simple and objective questions, is designed to give a person a good idea of what their student believes. It’s a helpful tool for many situations, but especially handy if you’re not sure how to approach sharing the gospel with an individual or what tool would suit them best.

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Using the Worldview Survey, Part 1: Sharing the gospel when time is short

Five full days of street evangelism! Under normal circumstances, if someone had suggested this idea as a potential evangelistic pursuit, my response would have been, “No thanks! Not for me!” However, here I was in a large van heading to the big city. My husband, Troy, and I were the designated leaders, no less, for a dozen or so college-aged students. And we’d be standing on a street corner in no time at all, attempting to get into deep spiritual conversations with all kinds of scary strangers.

The first day went by much as I expected. Many were closed to hearing about the Lord, a few were willing to get into a discussion and most walked by completely indifferent. That week on bustling city streets was quite the adventure, arming us with stories and experiences that still effect our approach to sharing the gospel when time is short.

Even if you never participate in street evangelism, it’s good to be prepared for the moment when you have a quick opportunity to share the Bible’s message with a passing stranger. Your brief opportunity may come while sitting in front of your hairdresser, or with the salesperson at the door, or while you’re passing time in a waiting room. No matter the scenario, there are certain common obstacles that brief interactions present, as well as good ideas to navigate those obstacles.

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Quietly passing along the gospel

20160609-twj_8268Ken and Maryanne Stacey* are a couple of volunteers who live in an area with a high volume of internationals who desire to learn English. They are often in contact with a mostly male population from the 10/40 Window of Asia.

For the last 12 years, the couple has been effective by simply befriending the internationals who came to study English. Maryanne said, “We do what we as believers would consider to be normal kindnesses and then let them see the love we have for them. [They often] start to wonder why we love them when there is no ‘payback’ for us. All through this process we are open about our faith in Jesus, and we are looking for open doors to conversation about him.”

And often those doors do open. Maryanne says that when that happens, she and Ken gladly share the good news of the gospel with their “sons.” But it’s not necessarily a simple matter to do so. Many of those they interact with come from cultures very hostile to the gospel. For them to be seen with a Bible or any Christian literature could invite persecution.

So the Staceys have discovered that quietly passing Christian materials to these men via thumb drives is very effective. The couple is even careful to use a flash drive that looks discreet, so as to not draw unnecessary attention to their method of relaying the materials. In this way, they have passed on Bibles, Christian teaching, and more recently, All that the Prophets have Spoken, GoodSeed’s tool written specifically to those from an Islamic cultural background.

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New translations: “By This Name” in German, “All that the Prophets Have Spoken” in Farsi

By This Name German; All The Prophets Farsi

With thanksgiving to the Lord, we’re excited to announce that two major translations are now available:

Our translation teams have worked on these two books for a number of years. Though there were challenges and occasions when the work had to halt, we’re thankful they are now ready to be used in discipleship and evangelism.

New Translations

Additionally, these other translations are now completed:

If you have friends or family who would appreciate learning the message of the gospel in these languages, please do tell them about it or better yet, share it with them.

Do note that not all our offices have copies of all these new translations. We are working hard to make them available on all our stores.

If you have any questions, please contact one of our offices.

A message from Bethlehem

bethlehemThe faint sound of the Muslim call to prayer from Bethlehem’s mosque blended curiously with the warbling of a bird outside the open window. Nasir’s* fingers hovered over the computer keyboard. He looked at the screen and read what he had written so far:

“Dear sir, I am so honoured and glad that you wrote to me. What I said about the book was not just nice comments. It was the truth.”

Now how to articulate just what he felt. He thought back to when he had first received a copy of All that the Prophets have Spoken. He remembered meeting Dale at a wedding of a mutual friend. They got to talking about how Nasir had come to Christ. As a parting gift, Dale gave him a copy of All the Prophets, saying it was written with the Islamic worldview in mind. This immediately tweaked Nasir’s interest. While Nasir had not been raised Muslim, he lived in the West Bank, in the heart of the Middle East, and knew from experience that reaching Muslims with the gospel was a challenging task.

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New: All that the Prophets have Spoken Interactive Edition and Leader’s Guide

All that the Prophets have Spoken Leader's Guide and Interactive EditionToday, we’re excited to announce the launch of two new resources: All that the Prophets have Spoken Interactive Edition and All that the Prophets have Spoken Leader’s Guide.

All that the Prophets have Spoken Interactive Edition

As the influence of Islam becomes more widespread, we meet more Muslims. But how do we communicate with them the central message of the Scriptures? While it is true that many Old Testament stories are mentioned in the Quran and that it refers to some of the same prophets, there are significant differences in interpretation and understanding.

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QR codes for “All that the Prophets have Spoken” Interactive Edition

All that the Prophets have Spoken video websiteWhen GoodSeed published its first audiobook, it came on cassettes (remember those?). Now, the soon-to-be-released interactive edition of All that the Prophets have Spoken will come with 98 video clips that can be accessed via QR codes.

While the book is packaged with an accompanying DVD, we recognize that many people have smartphones and tablets. We wanted to marry the effectiveness of video with the convenience of watching on a mobile device. So now, readers will have a choice of watching the video clips on DVD or on their smart devices.

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Evangelism with internationals at state university–an interview

Screen Shot 2014-06-26 at 12.54.56 PMEditor’s note: One of our GoodSeed staff recently interviewed Veronica,* who spends much of her time teaching English as a second language (ESL) and doing evangelism Bible studies with Asian international students at a large state university. So, how does she do it?!

Read this inspiring interview that is chock-full of typical examples of how GoodSeed tools are used to lead people to a clear understanding of the Bible…

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