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« What's Not So Great | Main | Do We Need a Different Perspective? »

October 30, 2007


I found his explanation mostly adequate (for the average person). I actually found the pitcures disctracting (not the sequence but the individual sectors) because I couldn't tell exactly what it was he was drawing. I thought his conclusion about how you view the world a nice way to "bring it home" so you actuallty had to evaluate what you think about the world. the presentation was not flawless but I love the fact that people are being creative on how they communicate the gospel.

Well...I have a mixed reaction. The story format is wonderful. The outline is good:

a. We know things aren't right.
b. Creation was good.
c. Man fell
d. God wants to fix it & redeem the world to himself.
e. Jesus came and taught about the reign of God.
f. Jesus died and resurrected, for new life.
g. We need that new life.
h. Why do we need Jesus?
i. Challenge to the listener.

I did have a problem with some of the wording he used. At 1:00, when he describes the Fall, he starts well with "we decided that we were gonna run the show," but then unpacked it poorly with "chasing our own needs above caring for other people or the planet, started damaging the planet...and ultimately we damaged our relationship with God." Sure, that's a good description of much sin and poor stewardship, but the Fall was a sin directly against God. It wasn't a matter of ultimately damaging our relationship with God, as though that were the side-effect--it was direct. Rejecting God's rule was the center of the event.

He talks about "the planet". It's good to emphasize that God is reconciling the entire created order to Himself--that the kingdom ultimately includes everything, new heavens and new earth. But it comes across as simple environmentalism.

I like that he uses the phrase "reign of God" instead of the more common "kingdom of God". Reign seems to be valid (, and emphasizes that the kingdom is as much a state as a location.

When he starts talking about our response at 2:00, he talks in terms of Jesus asking us to be healed ourselves in His name (among other things.) It's good to talk about it in terms of healing, but not if you leave out talking in terms of repentance.

At about 2:30, when he's explaining why we can't just go from Fallen World to Reign of God, he says it's because the world's problem are infinite, and it would overwhelm us. Again, that's too much in terms of environmentalism, and too little in terms of our guilt. He talks about us needing Jesus' resources so we can become the kind of good we're supposed to be. Yes...But that phrases it all in terms of sanctification, leaving out the justification purchased on the cross. Importantly, it leaves out that justification & right relationship with God is by /faith/, through the blood of Christ. It comes across as works-righteousness with Jesus' help.

So, I think the presentation has potential, but /really/ needs tweaking at a few places.

Time, does not permit to list the so many things wrong with this "gospel" presentation. The fact that we even have to have this discussion shows how far people have strayed from the true biblical gospel. If you get the atonement wrong - and this presentation gets it way wrong - you don't have the gospel. Christ died for our sin - Paul calls this a matter of "first importance" (1 Cor. 15:3). This presentation is CLEARLY another gospel. There are many other things wrong with it, but as I said, if you get the atonement wrong - you get the gospel wrong - period.

Phew, I thought maybe that if I reject Jesus I would face God's judgement on my own and end up in Hell.

I already do my bit for the environment, so it looks like I'll just miss out on becoming totally selfless. That's okay - I like me!

I agree with Denis and Trevor. Anytime a "gospel" presentation doesn't include the atonement and the need for salvation from the wrath of God, then we haven't heard the gospel Paul preached.

Well, perhaps if I do enough good deeds I can purchase a bigger global footprint!

The main problem with this is that it looks lie the ultimate goal is helping poor old God fix the planet. It detracts too much from the more important message about God's sovereignty and dominion. It also blames man for bringing evil into the world, when evil already existed. Man sinned. He actuated and added to the evil. Humankind became incarnate rebellion.

Over all - quite hokey, and plays to the many unsubstantiated claims of the global alarmists. The only thing really lacking is an Al Gore Damascus road experience!

I was all set to tear this video apart until I saw his description: "Here's an attempt to explain the Christian faith... in three minutes. (It was tough, but I was asked to do it.) Clearly, many details will be left out in such a short amount of time."

So he admits that he's not giving an adequate explanation of the Gospel, so what else needs to be's inadequate.

The problems I have with it, at first glance are:
1. His explanation of sin is insufficient.

2. He says Jesus taught us a "better way to live", but he ignores the need for salvation. "Living better" won't get you saved. (1:33)

3. He seems to be suggesting that Christianity is a social reform movement, a revolution (like the American Revolution) that will make things better. Only the return of Jesus Christ will make this world better. (2:05)

4. He seems to suggest that we can make the world better ourselves with "Jesus' resources". Jesus will make things better, with or without us. (2:33)

And worst of all...

HE NEVER STATES HOW A PERSON CAN BE SAVED! So if he doesn't do that, what's the point?

Excellent thoughts, I agree. The over-all feel of the presentation was that the point of Jesus coming to earth was for world-wide improvement. His exact words were that, by Christ's death, "everything is being restored for better". This is the exact position that a friend of mine holds. He also believes that we de-emphasize Jesus' message of heaven (or the Kingdom of God) here on earth, and over-emphasize salvation, repentance, and the reality of heaven and hell.

Unfortunately, I think the Bible shows the trend of the universe will be in a downward spiral until Christ's return. The universe is breaking down, society is devolving, consciences are numbing. Promoting a little social improvement in a world full of sin is like putting a band-aid on a cancer patient. It only makes you feel better and hides their need for healing inside.

I think that the presentation would resonate well with today's culture. Unfortunately, I don't think it goes far enough in explaining the reason for the Gospel in a-cultural terms. In other words, drop the environmental hype and focus on the atonement issue. However, I think that 3 minutes is way too short for such a presentation. I recall Francis Schaeffer saying that if he only had 1 hour to speak with a "modern man", due to the cultural context of that time (1960s - 1970s), he would have to take the first 50 minutes to explain to the individual just why he needed to be saved. Then he could take the last 10 minutes actually presenting the Gospel.

Despite the apparent need to "explain" aspects of the Gospel to today's society, it seems that, many times, we get too concerned with presenting an "appealing" Gospel; one that entices the sinner with the supposed perks and benefits of becoming a Christian. The notion that God is sovereign, that He is worthy of worship, and that we are obligated to worship Him, might not go over too well to a culture obsessed with itself (indeed, has such a message ever gone over very well?). How much more foreign is the notion that we have sinned against such a God and that, through His love, He commands us to repentance?

With Jesus' help we can fix the planet. I just hope that those who are inspired by this will dig deeper. What is glaringly absent is what will happen to us personally, forever, if we don't take Jesus' "antidote".

Making the world a better place and repairing relationships are not our primary objective. Our goal is to primarily seek the Lost and spread the gospel and the good news of salvation from Hell, and in turn people will hate us for it. Of course, that doesn't mean we'll be ignorant of our surroundings, it just means we need to focus on the primary objective and put our priorities in order.

I must not have the gift of discernment, because I thought the video was ok. I liked that it focused more on the meta narrative of God's salvation plan than the ‘Jesus as personal saviour’ aspect as the latter seems to be what people are most familiar with and the former tends to need more explaining (in my limited experience). The ‘holistic’ presentation may not place due importance on the most important aspects of salvation, but this may only be a temporary corrective measure because of the general impression of Christianity in North America. We need to move from Christianity as ‘full-coverage fire insurance’ (ala The Simpsons) to a clearer picture of God’s intentions and involvement in human affairs.

Hi -- I was pointed to this blog by a comment on my website. It's great to see the conversation, and to see the clear passion everyone brings to the heart of Jesus' message.

I'm surprised that many were hung up on the environmental issue -- I didn't think it was emphasized much. When I use the word "planet," I was also referring to many things in the intro such as violence, war, racism, etc. -- systemic evils that permeate the world. Aren't Christians supposed to address these things? We have throughout history, though many of us lost sight of it in the 20th century.

The need for salvation is both personal and global: people need to be saved/healed/delivered (what the word means in Hebrew and Greek), but so do our relationships and the systems in the world. Where I think the common ground can be found is that the diagram doesn't exclude an individual's reconciliation back to God. The diagram can be used to highlight individual salvation as well as something more global and missional. It's not either/or, but both/and.

But check out the book (True Story: A Christianity Worth Believing In) when it comes out -- I think you'll find it more comprehensive than what you find in a three minute presentation.

Thanks for the conversation!

"Thanks for the conversation!"

James, just to clarify, this isn't a conversation, it's a criticism. I don't want to hear more of your perspective, I'm here to give you mine and be done with it. So if you respond to me you can just say, "Thanks for the criticism" or "thanks for the judgment" and I'd be comfortable with that.

The presentation you gave was anything but clear. It's gooey, essoteric and the illustrations didn't clarify the Gospel of the Bible. It actually adds a step of obfuscation that is in the scripture.

Recently, the author Thomas Wolf said that the Four Spiritual Laws probably won't cut it with our PostModern generation...that they need a compelling story. So it's entirely possible that you can't get your story boiled down to a 3 minute presentation, but a good story teller should be able to do this. I write plot and structure and the outline of your story should be a lot simpler...and you don't have to go all the way back to Adam to talk about the individual's sin:

1. We all have sinned and have been separated from God.
2. God sent his son Jesus to die for this separation.
3. We follow Christ, accept his forgiveness, and produce fruit as an outward demonstration of an inner truth.

I think the title of your 'story' is a little deceptive, because you just assert that it's true. The modern secular mind finds it easy to dismiss the claims of your story because they want to know if it really is true. You provide no evidence, apologetics or syllogisms (that Christ and Paul provided) that might help the listener actually see that you have good reason to call your story true, instead of just the same opinion that everyone has that whatever story they believe is true.

Your Brother,


"You provide no evidence, apologetics or syllogisms (that Christ and Paul provided) that might help the listener actually see that you have good reason to call your story true, instead of just the same opinion that everyone has that whatever story they believe is true."

Are you suggesting that when someone sets out to create a 3-minute presentation of what the Gospel is, we should fault that 3-minute presentation for not including a good apologetic defense of why the Gospel should be believed?

Ah...Were you referring to the subtitle of the book, "A Christianity Worth Believing In"?

What's so disturbing to me is the fact that Jesus comes across as a means to an end. From, the instructions:

"Draw 2 parallel lines that block the path between the 2nd and 4th circle. Then draw 3 arrows: the 1st is unable to reach the other side. The other 2 show a path to the 4th circle that is only through Jesus…Would you like to let Jesus be the leader of your life and join his movement to heal the planet?...Jesus also wants to give you resources for this mission. Have you ever asked to receive the Holy Spirit? Can I pray that you receive the Holy Spirit?"

So, our goal is the 4th circle, not God. We need to fix our planet because it's gone wrong, but the only way we can do this is through Jesus, so that's why we need Him. He'll help us get to the fourth circle (our real goal) where we fix our institutions and our planet. And by the way, we need to have the Holy Spirit to do that, so be sure you ask for Him so He can help you on your way to your real goal of the 4th circle.

God is simply not the center of this. He ought to be our focus, our goal, our ultimate end. We're reconciled to Him, and everything we do to help others and do good to the world is meant to glorify Him, not the other way around. There is no sense whatsoever of this in this presentation.

I apologize that this comment is off of the original topic. I normally just browse through these comment sections without responding but I was a little bothered by the response to James (the person most of these comments are directed toward) by Doug:

"James, just to clarify, this isn't a conversation, it's a criticism. I don't want to hear more of your perspective, I'm here to give you mine and be done with it. So if you respond to me you can just say, "Thanks for the criticism" or "thanks for the judgment" and I'd be comfortable with that."

I hope this was said in a joking fashion but it certainly didn't communicate that way to me. I think James was simply trying to contribute to the dialogue and clarify/defend his presentation. What I find really ironic and somewhat bothersome about Doug's comment is that this is a comment section to the "Stand to Reason" blog, a show which champions dialogue and encourages people to disagree in an agreeable manner.

If this was intended to be tongue-n-cheek you might think of trying using smiling or winking symbols like :-) or ;-) to communicate this. I just went back and reread it and it still communicates that way. It seems an ineffective to frame "constructive criticism".

Frank, it's wasn't tongue in cheek. I wanted to communicate that I was angry.
When a brother confuses the Gospel with Environmentalism I stand to reason with my hammer. Didn't you read the boilerplate?

"An ambassador is loathesome and respulsive."

That's what they said of Jesus when he winsomely drove the money-changers from the temple.

I felt the presentation was condescending, something that you would do with a child. If I were an atheist/agnostic and were approached this way, I would respond with subtle hostility.

And yes, I know this was not the intent.

I thought we called them the Doctrines of Grace for a reason? There is no mention of faith, grace, or God's holiness in this presentation, thus, another gospel.

We've created a response to this presentation and posted it on our website You'll find a link to it on the homepage, it's called "the Best Story"...

I like thwe diagrams, but don't care for the "fix the planet" aspect. Jesus Christ came and gave Himself for our sins. Creation is damaged because of Adam's sin, and because we are sinners. We can no more fix the planet than we can save ourselves. God will fix the planet one day when He purges it by fire, and a new Heaven and new earth are created. Until then, Christians need to go on preaching Christ and living like Christ. You will not see Jesus - when He walked this earth - organizing sit ins against the methane that the beasts of burden (donkeys, sheep, cattle, oxen) were expelling through their waste. Stay with the Gospel!

To most:

While Mr. Choung's video might not have been as comprehensive as it could have been and many have been quick to label it as "inadequate," what I find even more inadequate is the presentation of Christianity propagated by most (though not all) in this discussion board, which was epitomized by doug t's abrading of a man doing his best to relate the Gospel message to college students in a very abbreviated manner. I don't think any of us could give a perfect presentation of the Gospel in that period of time, so a little more grace and a few less stones for a fellow Christian might go a long way. No wonder the lost are so put off by Christians. This board is filled with "righteous” indignation rather than gracious, constructive explanations that contribute to the ongoing CONVERSATION, not criticism. I find Mr. Choung's post to be very humble and inclusive, which I would argue might be quite difficult in light of the combative posts about his video to which he was responding. If only we could have been so gracious in response. Instead, this is what we get:

“ ‘Thanks for the conversation!’

James, just to clarify, this isn't a conversation, it's a criticism. I don't want to hear more of your perspective, I'm here to give you mine and be done with it. So if you respond to me you can just say, ‘Thanks for the criticism’ or ‘thanks for the judgment’ and I'd be comfortable with that. ”

I have no idea how this fits in with Christianity at all. Look at Christ's example. Jesus didn't close doors on people; He opened doors for everyone to come to Him. He didn't trump conversation by stating "I am God; I am right, just deal with it." Instead, He lovingly poured His life into people, into people who had been ignored or castigated by the elite (albeit white-washed) Pharisees for centuries. Jesus used a bunch of fishermen (whose theology was undoubtedly a bit flawed, just as yours and mine is bound to be) rather than the religious elite for a reason. Jesus didn't teach a Gospel of legalism; He taught a Gospel of grace that came to fulfill the law. Maybe we should leave "standing to reason with [our] hammers" to the One most qualified to do so, and not take it upon ourselves to reinstate an atmosphere in which we find our incomplete, imperfect selves suited to judge harshly in a holier-than-thou manner—one that Christ saw as problematic in the Church and sought to overturn it. Just as many of you proposed that Christ doesn’t need our help to restore the environment, He certainly doesn’t need our help condemning one of His own.

And as an aside, there is nothing wrong with taking care of God’s Creation. In fact, it’s our duty. Of course, witnessing and evangelism is first and foremost, but if one’s passion is caring for the environment, certainly he or she could use this forum to present the Gospel to many people also aligned with that cause.

Ultimately, we need to stop constructing intractable differences by digging our heads close-mindedly in the sand and refusing to listen to other people’s perspectives. At the end of the day, we might still disagree with them, but there is nothing wrong with listening, and perhaps learning a little something in the process. Thus, we must make this a conversation, not an deconstructive criticism.

1 John 4,

Hey! Any of you have ideas for good Gospel presentation resources?

Steve posted an idea here. There are also some helpful ideas in this book. And the STR stuff like the Tactics material is great, too.

Gosh you people!

Are you trying to sell the Gospel to the saved or to the soiled?
Is it rigor or results with you folk?

I'm a non-believer, and spending even 10 seconds in this web site I know why.

Wisen up you believers!!!

Get it together! It's not about your precious souls, your shiny metallic doctrine or your prissy theological nit picking. It's about the people you quote evangelists unquote may not have heard of - the billions of unsaved.

Do I have to spell it out:
I.t.s. n.o.t. a.b.o.u.t. Y.O.U!

Get a life!

It's not about the 14 volume exegisis of Matt 12 v 19 by Fairbrother.

It's about clear, balanced, non-threatening explanations of relief to the many wary, hurting people you guys have just chased screaming from web sites such as this.

(And shame on you - really!)

...And yes. Believe it or not I posted the above after flicking quickly thru the posts but before reading Kate.

God bless you Kate (ooops I'm not a Christian but you'll please forgive me?)

"so a little more grace and a few less stones for a fellow Christian might go a long way. No wonder the lost are so put off by Christians..."

Indeed maam!!

Come on you God guys. Give your redeemer, benefactor and protector a reason to be proud of you just this once. And make not the non-believer flee in terror from the temple simply because they came into contact with you barrelheads.

(Sites like these make me - frankly - relieved to be a non-Christian. In Sunday School they never told me church would involve fist fights. Heeeelp! I was just a poor questing individual seeking an explanation for suffering that didn't involve I guess I'll now have to go visit somewhere outside the green zone in Baghdad.

Oh yes.
I watched the J Choung presentation.
And I thought it wasn't too bad, lapsed that I am.
And as I was his target audience and you weren't I think I (and not you) have the final say.
So...well done (in 3 minutes)!

Again sheeeesh!

The other Lords Prayer:

'Dear Lord.
Please save me from some of your your followers.

(And I do not joke.)

Hi Kate.
You are right and they are not.
(And everyone knows it, deep down. Even they do.)

They always just try to sell to me that Jesus was a totalitarian bigot and I keep resisting them on the grounds that I don't, yet, share their degree of fascism.

Oh yes that's right. I'd join a religion with the lead character having those characteristics. Of course I would.

(I'm still looking or some useful evangelism, people...)

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