EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the third in a series of 10 articles on Bible Storying being published by Baptist Press and Baptist Press en Español. The series, which is appearing each Friday in BP and BP en Español (www.bpnews.net/espanol), is adapted from the book, “A Bible Storying Model” by J.O. Terry. To access the BP story collection thus far of this series in both English and Spanish, go to http://www.bpnews.net/BPCollectionNews.asp?ID=183.
FORT WORTH, Texas (BP)–In the previous article in this series, we presented barriers and bridges to the Gospel based on the book, “A Bible Storying Model” by J.O. Terry. In this article we want to focus on basic Bible truths.
The following list is not for teaching verbatim as a propositional witnessing plan. It covers the issues which generally need to be covered in order for people to fully understand their position before God as a sinner, the love that God expresses toward mankind, and what God has done for mankind in Christ Jesus. It would be good to go over the list and reword it in your own words, even combining some of the issues or expanding them as you understand the need.
The amount of attention to each of these is dependent to some extent upon the worldview issues of the listeners. In the Philippines, for example, most people have some understanding about sin and have a strong desire to go to heaven and to have a good relationship with God -– to be a part of God’s family. Further, they already know about Jesus and the Bible and attend worship services of a certain church.
Among Muslims, sin is seen as of little consequence due only to man’s ignorance of God’s laws. God is so great that for man to think of having any relationship with Him is blasphemy. And besides, salvation is chancy depending on Allah’s will and their prophet’s assistance.
Others like Hindus see Jesus as another avatar or appearance of one of their god saviors. And they see all religions as leading to God, while acknowledging literally uncountable gods among their country and village deities which they worship for various reasons. In all of these cultures and others, it is important to pay attention to the question: What are the basic Bible truths that are absolutely necessary for a person in order to understand the concept of salvation?
Animists fear the spirit world which exists all around them influencing their daily lives and needing more attention than a far away God. So the story list will need to vary but it is still based mainly upon the list of truths which follows:
1. God is one God, sovereign, creating and acting in history.
2. God is all powerful, all knowing, the source of all grace and provision for all people’s needs.
3. God is ever present in His Creation yet is holy and separate from His Creation.
4. God communicates with people by His Word, He is faithful to His Word, keeping His promises.
5. God loves all people, wants fellowship with all.
6. God is righteous, hating sin.
7. God’s righteous nature demands that sin be judged and punished by eternal punishment (separation from God).
8. Men and women are accountable to God for all they say and do.
9. Men and women are sinners by inherited nature (birth) and by freewill choice, and are separated from God by their sin.
10. People can do nothing to save themselves from God’s judgment and ultimate punishment for sin.
11. A person can be reconciled with God (and sins forgiven) only through the justifying means God has provided through a perfect (acceptable) substitute sacrifice (Promised One who died in the sinners’ place).
12. Jesus the Son of God (the Promised One come from God) is the only perfect sacrifice for sin.
13. Salvation for all people involves turning from sin, seeking God’s forgiveness, and having faith and trust in God’s provision by believing on Jesus as the only Savior to restore the broken relationship with God and redeem one from God’s eternal punishment.
Daniel R. Sanchez is associate dean of the Roy Fish School of Evangelism and Missions at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and director of the Scarborough Institute of Church Planting & Growth. J.O. Terry, who is mentioned in the Editor’s Note and first paragraph of this article, is publisher of the Bible Storying Newsletter and the Journal of Bible Storying. He was media missionary in Asia with the Southern Baptist International Mission Board from 1968-2003.