THE WORLD WE ALL WANT, Chester and Timmis
I’ve been looking at this excellent and innovative bible study series again lately. Let’s call it TWWAW. It’s designed as an intro to the Bible course, over 7 weeks.
One of the course’s strengths is how it deliberately tackles gospel issues from a creation-wide perspective. In our massively individualised evangelical scene, that comes as a breath of fresh air. It also starts from a place of connection with ordinary people: there is a world you wish for, what is it like? The punchline of the series is not just you dying and going to heaven – it’s a restored humanity in Christ – brilliant!
Yes folks, the theology at work here is significantly superior to that of other similar courses. And it’s not just the breadth of its scope. Chester and Timmis have grasped that God is committed to this creation, and that his salvation is designed to redeem and rescue it, not throw it away. The world we all want is only going to arrive as God makes it through Christ. Let’s call it big picture or big S Salvation. This message shapes the course from week 1 to 7. Finally – a biblical storyline maintained throughout an intro to the Bible course!
Of course the creation-focus is not only biblical, it is also engaging for 21st century post-modernists who care about social and global issues. It gets traction where a traditional ‘God-is-angry-with-you-but-Jesus-can-fix-it’ approach would not. That’s not a bad thing, is it – traction? Why not start where people are at and head towards Jesus?
The concept is creative, insightful of our culture, and nicely presented. Each study presents several decent sized chunks of Bible reading (all reproduced in the booklet) and just a question or two to follow each. This is a long way from the proof-texting approach we at the Grit dislike so much. The Scriptures get more of a chance to speak for themselves.
The first study is particularly good, using two passages from the end of Revelation to give people God’s vision of the world he is planning. It just works. This approach, starting at the end, has a lot of power to it. It creates the forward thrust that gives the whole series momentum. It sets up right from the start the framework of God’s ultimate purposes for his creation (i.e. eschatology). And that’s where eschatology belongs: as a big-picture framework for the gospel message. I love it.
These are the main plusses.
Tomorrow: the minusses