Thursday, May 31, 2007

Circles?

From six boxes to eight pictures with circles, from a colleague in UCCF. This is a work in progress and he'd appreciate any constructive feedback. May I suggest starting by encouraging the good wherever you can find it in this, and then offering critique.
Click to enlarge:

13 comments:

  1. Hmmm....

    If the chief critique of the 6 boxes of Two Ways To Live is that is presents too many concepts and those in abstraction....

    Is this an improvement in accessibility?

    Nick

    ReplyDelete
  2. Here, we were critiquing the individualism of 2WTL... eight is complex! - though it took God 66 books to tell us...

    ReplyDelete
  3. > humanity breaks its relationship
    > with God and God has to respond by
    > putting them under a curse

    The way this sentence is mentioned, it sounds like God is cursing mankind for breaking a relationship, when the punishment is for our sin, offence against a holy God. The word "sin" isn't mentioned in the text, only in the diagrams. The text is too simplistic, and almost makes God sound vindictive (which of course is untrue, w/respect to PFOT, etc).

    Also, I don't like the diagrams. They're too complicated. Sorry, I prefer Two Ways To Live. But keep working on new ways to present the gospel. I just think this diagram requires more work, otherwise it could be misleading.

    ReplyDelete
  4. As far as the eight points go, they do solve 2W2L's individualism, which is a great thing. However, the circles made me more confused than anything. I thought I'd understood the points until I looked harder at the pictures and they made me wonder whether I really had or not. With new diagrams, however, this could work well. Or (crazy idea) no diagrams at all!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Biblical: I agree with jonathan - there is a hobby horse theology of emphasising 'curses' that is being read into things. I think that the repetition of the word 'curse' gives that away. I like the emphasis on humanity, but I think it goes too far the other way. Is the first person singular sinful? Making something personal, is quite important, otherwise, Jesus died for 'abstract' humanity, and I'm left wondering hmmm.... that's nice, but does it mean that I need to do anything? For example slide 6 seems to leave me with a universalistic verdict. Humanity is saved, great. Since I don't need to do anything I think I'll go home now then...

    Relevance: Language and pics great :) Use of 'curse' as a way of explaining the fall, God's judgement on mankind and the need for Jesus to go to the cross isn't a culturally relevant bridge. It's the 'language of zion' if you ask me. How much do we talk about curses now? Are people who put curses on people good or bad people in our use of the word? Is God like a wicked witch?

    Asthetic: It's not intuitive like diagrams need to be. It looks unattractive and convoluted. E.G. 1-3 establish that whatever is at the top is the highest being (in terms of ontology) then in 4. this is confused by Sin becoming superior to God. Also, the diagrams confuse the balance between Jesus being God and human. Some overlap, some have the God circle eclipsing the human circle (E.G. 6). One circle seems to even make humanity God (see 3)!

    I applaud your effort to communicate, that is a marvellous and RARE thing to see. May that passion burn brightly in you. I'm sorry if my crit was a bit strong.

    T

    ReplyDelete
  6. Correction

    "Some overlap, some have the God circle eclipsing the human circle (E.G. 5)."

    ReplyDelete
  7. Was Jesus raised from the dead because he pleased God?

    ReplyDelete
  8. It's great not only to have corrected the individualism by including the church in point 8, but to have included sanctification / Christian growth - though I suppose 2W2L gets across sanctification slightly by speaking of living with Jesus as King.

    I find these circles really not clear though; if I really twist my head round it I can work out some of them second time round, but some I still can't 'see' what's going on. Confused. Sorry.

    My reservation with 2W2L, much as it can be helpful, is that Jesus doesn't appear until box 4 of 6 - one solution is to speak of Trinity in box 1, à la Colossians 1.15ff. But hey, it's a tool, not a master :) They say they've translated it into a few languages now (about time!)

    ReplyDelete
  9. Here's my instant thoughts.

    What I really like about it is

    a. Humanity rather than just individuals. Contra Tom re. box six. Also surely box 8 helpfully applies what is being said to the individual

    b. The forensic (justification) and the participatory in joyful (biblical methinks) union. Justification and sanctification flowing from the same central reality which is union with Christ. I love it!

    c. connected to a. we share in Jesus' not-guilty verdict. Love it! Imputed righteousness properly understood. Bring it on!

    d. The Holy Spirit! Hooray! A trinitarian gospel! Hooray!

    Unfortunately, the complexity of the concepts that are being covered raises lots of problems...

    a. Box three could imply/leave the impression that Jesus comes and does this off his own back i.e. nasty old God, nice Jesus, type thing. Jesus is not just able to represent both parties, rather God sends him to represent humanity etc.

    b. The diagrams are way too hard to follow and don't really explain anything that well

    c. Related to b. the diagrams aren't uniform enough. One of the strengths of 2W2Live is the way the diagrams are consistent (until creation gets missed out for some reason at the end of 2w2L).

    d. Where is creation?

    e. Quite a lot of jargon which you might not understand (and which even many Christians won't understand if they've never read e.g. Tom Wright)

    f. Box four is quite messy. I think I know what it is trying to do (show that Jesus as the God-Man takes the curse) but I'm not sure it isn't just confusing.

    g. Repentance?

    In short, keep going, I loooove what is being attempted here. The gospel is deep, wide, multi-faceted, beautiful in its simplicity-within-complexity, and this embryonic gospel outline attempt tries to capture some of the beauty of the gospel often omitted elsewhere in the same genre.

    But, just as Rome wasn't built in a day, neither are gospel outlines. But then I'm sure whoever did this knows that.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I really admire this effort, however flawed it might be(see above). It is good to keep thinking how we can come to timeless truth in a frsh and creative way.

    I found it a bit confusing, and I would echo the use of the word "curse". I see what is being said, but if I weren't a christian and new nothing about the bible then I would think God is some sort of wizard/witch who goes around cursing people. ALso in connection with this is as said before, no explanation of Gods wrath and judgement.

    On individualism, I wonder if we are becoming a bit obsessed and dare I say it a tad neo-orthodox in relation to how we explain the gospel. I know that we have we are saved to a new community of worshippers, but I also think it is very important that we dont ignore the point that the gospel is personal. We have something to as mentioned above.

    God saves individual people. There is no corporate salvtion that does not include individual salvation.

    Maybe instead of throwing 2w2l out it just needs a slight modification pointing out that the whole world is under judgement, but when we turn in repentance we ome into a new community wher we live as Christ as Lord.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I like TWTL, but I'm going to go against the flow and say that I quite like this one. I think point 2 is really flawed in it's wording, but all the other points I like. I think the different gospel outlines in existence are great - the more the merrier - unity in diversity!

    I love the emphasis on the new and old humanity in the last 2 points - I think in our modern world there is few more daring things to say than that the church is the 'new humanity' or has 'regained' it's humanity. Also much more than 'coming under the lordship of Jesus' (or not) it emphasises God's work even more.

    I like 'innocent and favoured' too, and although the biblical definition of 'curse' is difficult to explain so is the biblical understanding of 'judgment'/'punishment'/'wrath'. The unusual language may even force engagement more than the others (having said that I would probably put 'curse of death' in my ideal world).

    Final observation though, is that God took 66 books to give us the gospel but somehow I can't help feeling that all our outlines ignore 38 of them (Exodus-Malachi). I wonder if something's amiss....

    ReplyDelete
  12. Dave K, the Genesis 4-Malachi absence from most of our gospel presentation is a problem I think - given that it's these scriptures (and not just Genesis 1-3) that Timothy was wisened for salvation from...

    Maybe we don't need to worry about full outlines, and can just explain little bits of the story when we only have a short bit of time - and tell the story in more detail when time allows...

    Or from another angle, would it be enough to proclaim the rule of Jesus - "Behold your God / Jesus is Lord" - stating his claim on everyone, and then let people respond...

    ReplyDelete
  13. I agree,

    "Jesus is Lord" is how it's all summed up so many times in the bible after all.

    ... but still, if we are going to embrace a variety of outlines then while we can't expect all to talk about the law and the prophets, perhaps we should expect a good few to do so. The only one I can think of that does is TWWAW.

    But still... we can't get too het up about it can we? God gave us the scriptures and doesn't want us to produce some final and self-sufficient summary to replace them, just so things are more accessible, less paradoxical, and handier to carry around in your pocket.

    ReplyDelete