Theology and Practice of Evangelism - Lesson 1

Introduction to Theology and Practice of Evangelism

In order to share the Gospel, you must know what it meant, and how people are understanding what you are saying. The gospel core is the least you can believe and still be a Christian. If the least you can believe is sufficient to get you saved, then the least you can believe is the most you can require of anyone.

Robert Tuttle, Jr.
Theology and Practice of Evangelism
Lesson 1
Watching Now
Introduction to Theology and Practice of Evangelism

I. Introduction to Theology and Practice of Evangelism

A. Defining Evangelism

B. Theological Foundations

II. Biblical Basis for Evangelism

A. Old Testament Examples

B. New Testament Examples

III. Historical Perspectives on Evangelism

A. Early Church

B. Reformation and Beyond

IV. Methods and Models of Evangelism

A. Personal Evangelism

B. Church-based Evangelism

C. Mass Evangelism

V. Challenges and Opportunities in Evangelism

A. Cultural Context

B. Obstacles to Evangelism

C. Future Prospects

  • In order to share the Gospel, you must know what it meant, and how people are understanding what you are saying. The gospel core is the least you can believe and still be a Christian. If the least you can believe is sufficient to get you saved, then the least you can believe is the most you can require of anyone.
  • Christianity is the only world religion with an understanding of grace. Your most important ministry will be helping people understand how much God loves them. The heart of the gospel is that God loves you. Sin happens when we attempt to live as if there is no God. God, since the fall has done everything he can to establish relationship. God wants to make himself known to you in a way that you can understand.
  • At the Fall, Satan gained control of the world. Jesus takes it back in Revelation 5 because he meets the qualifications. The core elements of the sermons of the apostles are authoritative proofs, prophecies fulfilled, God’s activities described, apostolic eyewitnesses and miracles proclaimed. You will be heard with authority to the degree you are willing to put your life on the line. You die spiritually when you rationalize sin. Wind moves from high pressure to low pressure. We access the power of the Spirit by repenting and believing. Two sins mentioned throughout scripture are self-reliance and oppressing the poor.
  • The lesson tells the story of a professor who faces personal struggles and overcomes them with the help of faith, healing, and learning to overcome sin, ultimately showing that it's possible to prevail over life's challenges with God's guidance.
  • Through this lesson, you learn the core components of the gospel message, its theological themes, and how to effectively communicate it for evangelism purposes.
  • In this lesson, you gain insight into leveraging your personal, church, and wider spheres of influence to effectively share the Gospel, overcome challenges, and expand your evangelistic reach.
  • Gain insights into ministry experiences and the power of faith, prayer, personal testimony, and baptism stories to navigate emergency situations that are bigger than yourself.
  • You will learn from this lesson that you are uniquely equipped to minister to those in your sphere of influence and that the church is indispensable for your survival. By treating others with respect and recognizing each person's importance, the church can become the living, breathing body of Jesus Christ.
  • In this lesson, you will learn that people are often hurting, angry, lonely, or tired, ministry requires dependence on God and rejection is important, preaching the text is key, our weaknesses can be our strengths, and close community is crucial for doing the work of the kingdom, while leading someone to Christ without providing ample opportunity for growth and nurture is a mistake.
  • In this lesson, you will learn about Charlie Haley, a man with a pastoral background who is currently involved in retreat ministry and considering going into the mission field abroad. The lesson covers topics related to evangelism and ministry, including tract ministry, follow-up and discipleship, and the importance of love and forgiveness within one's sphere of influence. The lesson also discusses the importance of building relationships and addressing felt needs with spiritual solutions.
  • This lecture begins as Dr. Tuttle is relating a story about a lady he met on an airplane. Jesus chose people as disciples that he could demonstrate by showing and telling them, and then depend on them to reproduce what they had been shown and taught. When Jesus gets too close, we raise the religious question to change the subject. As a result of the sin in the garden, we lost our ability to perceive reality beyond the senses. The Holy Spirit came, not to compensate for the absence of Jesus, but to guarantee his presence. We hold the truth, but the world sets the agenda and has the right to ask its own questions.
  • Often, it is implied that once you commit your life to Christ, all your problems are solved. The Hebrew concept of soul is body, mind and spirit. The Greek concept is that soul and body are separate, and that soul is good and body is evil. Prophecy and spiritual gifts are essential for the body of Christ to function. In the teaching in mainline churches, there is sometimes a disconnect between faith and life.
  • Trusting the Spirit of God is the key in this lesson. By remembering and trusting the Spirit, one can be utterly dependent upon God and do the hard work in preaching. Dr. Tuttle shares his personal experience of trusting the Spirit and provides context for Paul's second missionary journey, including Paul's conversion and early ministry, Peter's vision, and the conversion of Gentiles. The Spirit of God also taught Saul how Jesus fulfilled all of the Old Testament prophecies about the Messiah.
  • Through a deep exploration of Wesley's Methodism and Calvin's Reformed tradition, you gain an understanding of their respective theological frameworks, evangelistic strategies, and lasting influences on modern evangelism.
  • Through this lesson, you grasp the significance of Wesley's Societies, their organizational structure, theological practices, and the lasting impact on modern church practices.
  • By exploring the Ethiopian Eunuch story, you gain insights on divine guidance, Scripture's role in evangelism, and early church inclusivity, while learning to apply practical evangelistic lessons.
  • Through this lesson, you learn to effectively share the gospel through action evangelism by understanding its theological basis, applying key principles, employing various methods, and overcoming common obstacles.
  • You gain insights into action evangelism's importance, principles, and various methods, while learning to overcome fears and obstacles, and equipping others for effective Gospel sharing.

Dr. Tuttle teaches three critical points around evangelism: how to share your faith story, what evangelism is and how to approach it, and that God has more invested in evangelism than we do – He is in control. God is at work. He wants us to, "show up and pay attention [to the Spirit]," and to care about people enough to "press" them by asking probing questions about what they think and what's going on in their lives.

Evangelism is essentially about the core of the Gospel, ministering in your sphere of influence and sustaining those you reach.

Recommended Books

Can We Talk: Sharing Your Faith in a Pre-Christian World

Can We Talk: Sharing Your Faith in a Pre-Christian World

Those who serve on mission fields in areas where Christian faith is not the dominant religion quickly come to understand a central truth: when one is sharing the gospel, one...

Can We Talk: Sharing Your Faith in a Pre-Christian World

Dr. Robert Tuttle, Jr.
Theology and Practice of Evangelism
Lesson Transcript

[00:00:00] I'm going to give you a devotional from numbers 23. You know, when someone starts with the Old Testament, you know, especially the Pentateuch, you know, they've got to be real serious about God. Try not to take myself too seriously, but I want you to know I'm dead serious about God. You may be looking at the most nonobjective professor you ever met in your whole life. I don't have an objective bone in my body, and quite frankly, no one worth their salt does. I'm here for one reason and one reason alone. Are you listening to influence you for God? I think you have every right to expect to learn something in this class that will better prepare you for life in ministry. And if it doesn't, I'd ask for my money back. I'm not going to stand up here and give God and the devil equal time and ask you to make the right choice. I will assume that most of you have already made the right choice. I got a Jesus bias out to here. I teach world religions. I just spent two and a half weeks in Tibet researching Tibetan Buddhism. Interesting, too. I learned a bunch. But if you want to be convinced of the truths of Christianity, please learn about other religions. Jesus Christ is a piece of work. I'll put him on any table and any culture around the world straight up. And when Christians do what they do best and the world does what it does best, Christians will win every time. It's the only way I know I'm not into Christianity for the pain. I'm into Christianity because it's the only way I know how to access the power or the Holy Spirit to enable me to overcome the stuff that would attempt to swallow me whole.

[00:02:02] Now you got something doing it better than Jesus. You let me in on your secret. You may have a convert. I just showed guy on the plane my wallet, and he said, What you got God in your wallet for? I said, Listen, I'm not saying I'm right and the rest of the world is wrong. I simply saying I believe I'm right. And if Gandhi is in hell, he's given the devil fits and hell is a better place. And I would imagine about once a week, the devil calls up Saint Peter and says, Can you take this guy off my hands? He clearly doesn't understand the concept. He said, I'll trade you. Trade Anybody? Trade me. Sell it to me, Falwell. Anybody but Gandhi. Lighten up. That's a little joke. I was converted my senior year at Duke University as an undergraduate. And I'm the son of a son of a methodist minister. I met a woman at the Grand Canyon who I kind of liked, and she was a senior at Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois. You ever heard of Wheaton College? I'd never heard of Wheaton College. Thanksgiving. I hitchhiked from Durham, North Carolina, to wait in Illinois to visit this woman and had a Thanksgiving party. And at the party, this woman comes up to me and says, How long have you been a Christian? I said, That's a hell of a question. I'm an American, for God's sake. My father father's a minister. I was born a Christian. And rather than picket that picket that she just walked away from, it said, Oh, that's interesting, walk away from it. Which gives new meaning to the phrase You put pressure on, but taking the pressure off. I went back to Durham, North Carolina, walked the streets asking myself, Do I have to do something in order to become a Christian? I didn't know.

[00:03:49] I called my daddy, who was the pastor of the biggest Methodist church in the state, Morris Park and Charlotte, North Carolina. I called my daddy and said, Dad, do I have to do something in order to become a Christian? He didn't know. He just no liberal Methodist roads got an IQ of 160. I thought he ought to know. He didn't know. He sent me a King James Bible. I read the Darned Day. And halfway through the New Testament, I'm saying, Whoa, there's stuff I got to do in order to become a Christian. About two weeks later on the fifth floor of a dirty house at Duke University. I prayed this prayer. You will not be impressed. God, if there is a God and I wasn't real sure, Christ, if there is a Krishna, I was even less sure that I give my whole life to your God. Even if you do not exist. From this moment on, I'm going to live my life as if you do. You know what God call that? Prayer. Faith. I went to bed and black and white and got up and Technicolor. I mean, to tell you, I have not I repeat, I have not been the same since. Matter of fact, it's getting better every day. It was better yesterday than it was the day before. And it was better today than it was yesterday. I mean, Christianity. It's where it's at. But that doesn't make me right. And the rest of the world wrong. That's just simply what I believe. Don't accuse me of being wishy washy. If you can convince me I'm wrong, I'm a dead man. You'll have to ship me home in a basket on Saturday. Flesh will not clean the bone any longer.

[00:05:27] I believe this stuff. I forbid my students to ever allow anyone else to think that they think they're stupid because they disagree with them. You understand? So all I ask you own what you believe. I'm simply saying what I believe. That doesn't make me right. And the rest of the world wrong. If gods are trying and I think God's a circle, God should not become a circle to accommodate who I believe God to be. Truth is never changed to accommodate what I believe, truth to be. That's why I spend so much time in this. I'm not a fundamentalist. I tend to make fundamentalist nervous. We'll talk more about that later on. And there are some fundamentalist out there who are a whole lot smarter than I am, by the way. It's not a matter of intelligence. But there's no fundamentalist who believes any of this any more than I do. It's the only absolute truth. I weigh all truth in light of this truth. And if you're smart, you will weigh everything you hear me say in light of your own understanding of this. And if you don't know this, the task is clearly before you, young woman. Get into the word of God for 40 years. I have read four chapters a day. Didn't I drive you nuts on our trip reading those four chapters a day? I have to get up at 5:00 in the morning sometimes to sneak a read a mile. My wife thinks I'm crazy. Haven't you read it enough? I buy a new Bible every January. January one, I start Matthew one and read the New Testament. By March six or seven, depending on leap year, and then March seven or eight, depending on leap year, I start Genesis one.

[00:07:04] Then I read the whole Bible and you test me twice. The Old Testament. What? Mark it up. Every page, every paragraph. And then I give it away at the end of the year and start over. I've given away 35 of these. I don't recommend that I'm not laying a trip on you because what's freedom for Some people can be bondage for others. Do you understand what I mean? You don't have to do that to be spiritual. Matter of fact, that might take more out of some of your bucket than goes in. It just happens to work for me. But I'm simply bearing witness to what works for me. I'm not trying to tell you that's what you have to do in order to be spiritual. You understand what I'm saying? But because I read this. I think I get inside. I travel a lot through the Middle East. I go to I've been to Jerusalem. To Israel. I don't know. A time or two a year for 30 years. I just like the land. I've taken sabbaticals there. I've been there during war. Watch the Scuds go over. Almost got murdered one time. And I probably had it coming. Kind of like being beaten up by the Klan in the rural South. Back in the mid sixties, I had half of it coming because I went in with the ashes before I knew what the questions were. You folks are smart enough not to do that, aren't you? I can tell by looking at you. I read all of it and it's wonderful. It's just wonderful. I had a student write me this week. One of the smartest smart students I ever had. And she's associate pastor at Lee Church in the state of Florida and says her senior pastor is complaining that she's too biblical in her preaching.

[00:08:52] And I wrote her back and said, To what? I happen to be United Methodist. I know you're not. But most people in my denomination do not think theologically. They do not weigh the effects their words have on a person's relationship with God. They think behaviorally they weigh the effects their words are having on a person's relationship with another person. Now the two are not exclusive. Mutually exclusive. But at some point you need to think theologically. I am a theologian. That is my discipline. I finished Ph.D. and Dog Maddox on my 27th birthday. It's a long time ago. It took me about ten years to get over it. But I finally got over it. I started my teaching career at Fuller Seminary in Pasadena, California. I was the first Wesleyan Armenian ever hired at Fuller Seminary. There were only 17 on the faculty. Every one of them prima donnas and all 17 interviewed me. I was 29 years old. I didn't know. Sit down from sitcom. Did not know enough to be intimidated, had a ball, had a blast. I could still be teaching at that place. A great seminary. But anyway. They taught me to teach theologically. Then I went to Oral Roberts University. My theological throat from ear to ear, thinking I was an oral. God bless him, he was a man of God. I wept when he died. He said Tuttle had had more one on one time with you and all the rest of the faculty. Faculty combined 400. I said, Why is that? He said, We fight like cats and dogs. He threatened to fire me on national television. He did twice, and he loved me like a son. When I went to Northwestern, a Garrett where I spent most of my career, he wrote me a letter and said, Tuttle, two years after I'd been there, I just read in the paper was awfully cold in Chicago right now, if not nearly as cold in Tulsa.

[00:11:08] Ha ha. Love the world. Anyway, he taught me how to. How to think. With regard to spirituality. The former taught me really how to teach. Theologically reformed theology is a good way to do that. And I finally started to realize that if you can't say no, your guess is meaningless. And I know some of you folks anyway. How many of you folks are reformed in your in your basic understanding? It's okay to be that way. This church on Stan is pretty Armenian and its basic approach. But reform theology begins with the sovereignty of God. God really is sovereign. God really is in control. We do know the ending. It's a really good ending to. And I know things may seem to be out of whack, out of kilter. But if you trust God, are you listening to me? You trust God. Life won't be easy. You do not have to die to go to hell. I've been there. George Clinton. We're going to hear from him in July. He was one of my dearest friends. He's a church consultant. And I want him to share with you some things that will give you a fresh insight into evangelism. He knows me well enough to know that I speak the truth. You don't have to die to go to hell. You don't have to die to have a foretaste of heaven. Life's not always easy. But if you really know how to trust God. Life is always interesting. I've never been bored for one minute my whole life. I have had to go to therapy because of that. You suspected that no therapy gets the volume on history tapes low enough so you can hear the voice of God. About half your half of you could use a dose.

[00:13:03] I can tell by looking at. Looking at you. Don't mess with me. I'm too old. Numbers 23. You love this. If it gets too good, just reach out and grab onto somebody. You got to go up, for crying out loud. Take somebody with you. Okay? What I'm doing now. I'm giving you an opportunity to get used to the sound of my voice. That's what we're doing. Don't ever think I stand up and ramble. You will accuse me of that once. Rarely. Twice. You may go to sleep only once. Some of you have been driving all day. You have every right to take a nap. I understand that. But rarely twice. Let me give you the context for this. Numbers 23. I really enjoy going to Egypt. I'm doing it in January again and start in the land of Goshen and follow the children of Israel across the desert, down under the Suez Canal and down into the peninsula, stopping at all the places where they stopped ending up at the mountain, climbing the mountain, getting up. 2:00 in the morning. Three or four people a week die doing that. Can you believe that? Of course, 308 I make the attempt and they say, Well, it's only so many thousands of steps. If you start at 3000 feet and it's 9000 feet and you you can ride a camel two thirds of the way is the best $18 you'll ever spend. I insist the people I take ride the camel two thirds of the way up and then go across the Negev and then cross the Dead Sea on a hydrofoil over to Aqaba on the Saudi border, then go up to Petra from the south through Sodom and Gomorrah. And then on into Amman and then to Nebo.

[00:14:58] Or I get up 5:00 in the morning, go to Nebo in the class, out at the church abroad, or at most just look out over the promised land. Moses finally got the Promised land. You know when. Absolute. God bless you. What's your name again? You're going to make an A in this class? I can tell at the transfiguration. I've never had anybody come up with that answer. Brian. Wow. Whoa. I had to be I had to get a lot older than you are to be as smart as you are. I have. Anyway. And then go down to Masada and getit. Come run, Jericho. Three nights in the Galilee. And then four nights in Jerusalem was a great time. The reason I do that is it gives me a feel for. But there's hardly a place in the Bible where I haven't been. And so when I read about the children leaving the land of Goshen, I've been there. I can kind of. Image that. Picture that in my mind. And then at the place where the water was bitter. You remember that and where they had the whole Moses's arms up during the battle. Been there. I think go down there. There's some debate as to whether that mountain and that's in the peninsula. There's the Mount Sinai, but I'm sure it is. Personally. That one in Saudi Arabia is just a molehill. Climb the mountain. They gathered around the mountain for 18 months, during which time they got organized into their 12 tribes. And they received the loan not once, but twice. After. 18 months. God speaks out of the cloud. And says it's time to go. It's an 11 day journey to the southern reaches of the promised land that was promised to Abraham.

[00:17:07] But there are 2 million of them. So it took a couple of months, will cut them that much slack. So they saddle up, they camp down near Beersheba. Then there it's a great place. And they send the 12 spies into the land. I've never been able to figure that out. Whether it was God asking them to do that doesn't seem like that's what God would do because God says. I go before you, you know. Other battles might. But depends on how you read that passage. But ten of these spies came back with a bad report. They lied. They said there were Nephilim in the land. Nephilim? That's a cross between some kind of angelic spirit and a human. And if there was such a thing, those things would have died out in the flood. We'll talk more about the flood a little later on. But there were Angry Birds. There were big suckers, big people, probably eight feet tall. You know, the ten came back with a bad report. I go around the world offering people $100 cash. I won't do it to their students because you probably know not doubt it, you know, But if you can name they're all named here. If you can name one of those ten that came back with a bad report, I offer them $100 cash. Never had anybody take me up on it. I can think of one because I named a whale after him at SeaWorld Shamu. You know, that's about the only one I can come up with. Now, the two that came back with a good report, we name our cats and dogs after them were home. Joshua and Caleb. Bold and courageous. But the ten that came back with a bad report discourages the people.

[00:18:49] And so God judges them all. They made some kind of abortive attempt, you know, to do it after they realized how wrong they were. But it was too late, too little, too late. And so God judges them to 38 more years flopping around desert sands. You've been there. Some of you been there during which time a whole generation died out. The only two over 21 years of age who cross through the sea of rays. Ah, the Red Sea, however you want to talk about it. Or Joshua and Caleb. All the rest of them died. To the man. Our woman. 38 years later. They've worked their way. Now, see if you can picture this from the mountain to Beersheba and then wandering around the desert, the Negev first, and then through the desert. Up through Petra. You've been to Petra. Any about? I've been to Petra. You've been to the Middle East? Who's been to Israel? You got to go and change your life forever. Please. I'll take you myself. I'm going in January. Place. You can get credit for it. I'm not recruiting either, because we already have enough. But I'll take you. It'll change your life forever. The Bible will never be the same. Through Petra and up to the plains of Moab. Around Mount Nebo. God speaks once more out of the cloud. What do you say? Do it time. And one of the people say. God. Are you sure? I mean, well, we're second generation. We're working from memory here. Are you sure the contract is still valid? The covenant still own. God. Are you sure? And you know how God answered them. You'll never believe how God answers. It's amazing how wonderful God is. The king of Moab is a man named Balik.

[00:21:01] He's worried about all these Israelites camped on his plains, too many of them to fight. So he gets on the horn and he calls up an internationally known pagan prophet and ayatollah. Named Baylor has said Baylor. I want you to come and curses Israelite. Too many modified. You can do it better. I've heard stories about you. Your good and bad says I've got no. I've got. I've got no truck with the Israelites. But Pollack is so insistent. After three times, Balan finally relents and he gets on his donkey. And he's riding to Moab. And he approaches. Have you seen have you seen Indiana Jones movies and the Holy Grail or something where they were? Petra is the setting for this movie where you go through the narrow valley. Have you seen that? Remember that? Sandstone cliffs straight up a thousand feet. And it's no whiter than this room. The little passage sometimes about leaving left as wide as this room. You've been there. You've been to Petra as Batum on his trusty donkey approaches the sick SRK there suddenly at the head of the fic, there's. There's an angel. Whenever the Bible mentions angels, you know what it says. It says, Fear not. Almost every time the Bible mentions angels, it says, Fair enough. Would you like to know why? Because they're the meanest, fearsome looking suckers I ever saw in my life. I mean, they got to be ten feet pole. They got tattoos, you know? Philly. Okay. Ann Arbor and theater goes across both tits. You know, it's amazing. They're amazing. Look, soccer's this great big old angel. Standing there with a drawn sword and the donkey sees the angel, but the prophet doesn't. And so the donkey understandably barks. Whoa. And the prophet doesn't see the angels beating this poor donkey.

[00:23:12] And finally, the donkey gets over to the side and scrapes the prophet's leg on the side of the wall. And the prophet's just beaten that poor donkey and find the donkey to sit down. And then God listen to this. God opens the donkey's mouth. Now, he doesn't say anything terribly profound. We give that donkey far too much credit, but he does say words to the effect. Listen. Also, don't you realize I'm out of character here? Have I ever sat down on you before? And the prophet says, What? Well, you know this. Well, as a matter of fact, no. And the donkey then says, there's the biggest, meanest angel standing there with a drawn sword. And he's just about to take out both of us. And then get this here's the miracle. Not that God opened the donkey's mouth, but the God opened the Prophet's eyes. And when the Prophet opens his eyes, he sees the angel. And the angel says, What? You go, but you speak only what I tell you to speak. Okay, you're ready. That's the context for this. Balance it. Bail me seven. Altars here. Bail on the internationally known pagan prophet Palimpsest bill. May seven alters in and prepare seven bulls and seven rams for me. Ballack did as Batum said, and the two of them offered a ball and a ram on each alter. Then Bayern said to Ballack, Stay here beside your offering while I go aside. Perhaps the Lord will come to meet with me. Whatever He reveals to me, I will tell you. You say you remember what this angel said to him. Then he went off to a barren height. God met with him, and Balam said, I have prepare seven altars on each altar. I have offered a bowl and a ram.

[00:25:00] The Lord put a message and balan's mouth and said, Go back to Bangkok and give him this message. Balam has been called to what? Curse the Israelites, right? What's the big question? What are the Israelites asking? Is the covenant still on? Is the contract still valid? Are you sure? Take the land. Are you sure you're going to go before If the battle is your battle. Are you sure? God, we're working from memory here. We're second generation. He opens his mouth to curse the Israelites and what comes out. You will not believe it. What? But how many? I am still with you. Are you listening? I am still with you. The second blessing. Oracle is the first place in the Bible that makes reference to Yahweh as the nation sovereign out of the mouth of an internationally known pagan prophet. The God is not converted. I mean, within chapters he's teaching them all about how to tempt the Israelites to sin, and eventually God takes them out. I am still with you. I am still with you. The fourth Oracle is the first reference in the Bible to the Messiah. The root of Jacob. What do you think of that? Out of an internationally known just no better than his donkey. He's just a mouthpiece. I am still with you. You can pick a series of sermons on the first four. The last three are attached there. But I am still with you. I am still with you. Our God. Are you sure the contract is still valid? The Covenant. The Covenant still valid. The contract is still on. Are you sure? I am still with you. I am still with you. I am still with you. I am still with you. I am still with you.

[00:27:07] I am still with you. I am still with you. Why would I start a class on relational evangelism or interpersonal evangelism with a story from the Book of Numbers? Because some of you folks, I don't know who you are, have been flopping around desert sands long enough. And you are have in the past? I asked God. We were called a ministry when we were a long time ago. And somehow you were discouraged. Our distracted. And then. Down the road. Once again, you sense the call of God on your life and you've got all the stuff you've been doing in the interim. And you're saying, God, are you sure? Sure the contract still valid. The covenant still on. Are you really sure? She'll go before me. That The Battle of Jaws. Are you really sure? And what does God say? God? God speaks out of the mouth of an internationally known pagan prophet and hides that text and the book of numbers, for crying out loud. And tells you what? Take this very personally. I've never lectured for someone who would never hear it. Don't you dare sit there and wish. Oh, what's your foot was here? This is for you. Take this very personally. I am still with you. I am still with you. I am still with you. I am still with you. I am still with you. I am still with you. I am still with you. So what do they do? They appoint someone from each tribe. To go along with one of the Levites. They take the Ark of the Covenant a couple of miles out ahead of them. So two, 2 million people can get perspective. And God says, what? The minute the food of the priest and of the River Jordan.

[00:29:29] I will stop the water so that you can cross over on dry land. It was in flood stage. And the minute the feet of the priest into the River Jordan. Now we know ten miles upstream at Adam, the Jordan used to undercut its clay banks about once every 100 years, and the clay bank would fall in on it, dam it up for a season. You know, theologians say, well, that's what happened. No miracle. Well, what are the odds of that happening exactly when the feet of the priest enter? Don't mess with me, folks. What are the odds that when the feet of the priest I don't care how it happen, when the fate of the priest entered the water, the water was dammed up ten miles upstream at Adam and the entire nation. 2 million people crossed over on dry land. You know what the moral that story is? If you want to get your feet wet, got to pile up all the stuff that would attempt to swallow you in that good news. Impressive stuff. You can preach the book of numbers. It'll help your people. Will you get your feet wet? God has more invested in your ministry. Aren't you tired of hearing that phrase? God has more invested in your ministry than you do. Your ministry is more important to God than it is to you. Your life is more important to God. Your children are more important to God than they are to you. My wife's a grandmother. Do you have any idea how important grandchildren grandmothers are? You know what God does when a grandmother prays? Costas Gabriel. Get over here. Take a note. Don't miss any of this and give it. Go ahead and give in early. This all woman will drive us nuts.

[00:31:18] That's what grandmothers do. The perfect will of God is constantly being updated, refreshed and renewed. The perfect will of God is constantly being updated, refreshed and renewed. And oh, all that stuff that had happened in the interim becomes grist for the Holderness Mill. The moment you're willing to say yes to God. Even if you had disobeyed God for 38 years. The moment. Are you listening? The moment you say yes to God and mean it. And. And I want you to do that right now. The moment you say yes to God, you are at that that moment where you would have been had you said yes to God 38 years earlier. You know why? Because the perfect will of God is constantly being updated, refreshed and renewed. That's who God is. I can give you chapter and verse all over the Bible. You are at that moment where you would have been had you obeyed God 38 years earlier. Although the gospel has not changed so much, our understanding and presentation of the Gospel is always changing. This evening will talk about. The gospel core and then the baggage. The gospel core is the least you can believe and still be a Christian. And the least you can believe is sufficient to get you saved, then the least you can believe is the most you can require of anyone. Otherwise you require more of people than God would require. I was once on a faculty meeting at Oahu for the people in the room, and Oral said the only way to pray in the spirits, to pray in tongues. He said, have to tell. I said, You don't believe that. I don't care if it's Latin. If you're praying, you're praying in the spirit. He said, Well, yeah.

[00:33:26] I said, Well, why would you say such a thing? He said, I didn't want to have the people in the room off the hook with placards seeking the prayer language. Whoa. And I said or you may be require more people than God would require. And a farmer, you. I wouldn't do that anymore. He thanked me very much. I sought out his crony run up afterwards and said it was a great meeting. Total opened his mouth. The spirit went out the window. He got to stewing on that overnight. Next morning. I'm in church. And there's a tap on my shoulder. I turn around all and everyone's sitting there and he said, We got to talk. I think. Sure, it's tough, he said. Tomorrow morning, 8:00. City of Faith, Room 210. I said, I'll be there. Showed up at 8:00. The room ten by ten. A table, two chairs and a black board are a white board. And we shouted at each other. Right. By the way, the next man he threatened, I'm sure forgot to tell you, hit the next morning. That was Friday night. Saturday morning he threatened to fire me. On national television, he said one of my favorite professors stabbed me in the back last night and I'm going to deal with him before the end of the semester. Everybody in the world knew who he was talking about. And then the next morning, by Sunday, that's when he tapped me on the shoulder. Monday we're in this room. Little Tim Martin room shouted at each other for 5 hours, wore me out. I had to go home and go to bed. I'm asleep and the phone rings. I pick up the phone and Aurel says, Bob, that was so much fun. We're going to do it again tomorrow morning.

[00:34:59] So we had to do it again the next morning. Warming out. Don't require more of people than God would require. The core of the gospel, I think, is Jesus is Lord. And whatever it takes to communicate that Jesus is Lord. Is the gospel. I sometimes talk about the power of the Holy Spirit available through repentance and faith, or the power of the Holy Spirit available through personal faith in Jesus Christ. You understand that, don't you? Of course you do. I live in two neighborhoods, one in Florida and one in North Carolina. The mountains of North Carolina. And almost none of my memory are My neighbors have any Christian memory. They have been the church for 30 years for weddings and funerals. And so I'm the village priest. They like me. Can you believe that? They don't have any. Almost none of my neighbors has any Christian memory. And they like me. Of course, my wife's a great host and we're always having people over to eat. It's a great minister, by the way. When we first moved into this neighborhood, one of our neighbors, a medical doctor. And this guy was not the enemy. No Christian memory, but he's not the enemy. He gives five days a week to the Asheville Clinic free as a medical doctor. He's sitting across the table from me and he said. What do you do? I always say I'm a teacher. If you want to know more, you have to ask the next question. And he said, What do you teach? I said, History and theology. He said, Oh, that's interesting. Tell me more. This guy is pressing me. I'm afraid. I've got a great big tape recorder that sits on my left shoulder. So, yeah, it's got a great big play button.

[00:36:58] If you're not careful, you'll hit that play button. And when that play button gets hit, this tape starts to roll. And it's a really good tape. It worked for 30 years. My wife's eyes are going to minister to this tape. I'm looking at this guy across the table from me and I'm realizing there's not a whole lot going on here. So I said, Tom, are we communicating? He looked at me and said, Bob, I don't have a clue what you're talking about. You know, when I told him. Just what I thought you understood. I told him about the power of the Holy Spirit available through personal faith and Jesus Christ. Would you like to know as a medical doctor, what he understood by that statement? He understood a little bit about power as a medical doctor. Personal meant none of your business. Faith meant trying to believe in something you can't quite believe in. Holy Spirit was cosmic fluff and Jesus Christ was a curse word. Right. Then I said, Tunnel. Bless your pointy head. You need to retool. So you know what I've done for the last 12 years? I've become an anthropologist and a better theologian as a result of it. And that's why I pray for Obasanjo. You probably you may not remember Obasanjo, do you? Do you know him? You know the man? I like the man. I know people who knew him. Spent time with him. I liked him, but not because I'm an actor. I think it's really important to know what's going on in your mind. If I'm going to communicate the gospel in a way that you can understand it and hear it for what it's you cannot be going to talk to light. You cannot know what it means.

[00:38:45] And do you know what it meant? People like Bill Maher said, we can't know what it meant because it's so infiltrated. Well, of course we know what it meant. It is in culture. But you can understand the culture. You know what it meant. Tell you the truth. But man says the scriptures cannot carry the weight of absolute truth. Why? Because it's true. And culturally, we never know. We had no idea what it meant. I know what it meant. I know what was going on when Balam showed up with his daughter. I've been there. I wrote a book on it. You're reading the story of evangelism. Not for this course. That's another course. I wrote a book. 500 pages. 200,000 words. Weaken the springs to my home. Ashamed by thousand years of church history. Why am I telling you this? I prayed this morning. I got up this morning, begged God to help me. I said, God, if you don't give me an anointing, my rear end is going to surface like the harvest moon. Help me. Abbington wrote me. Thank you, Lord, for my preview. Prayed for made in Abington, wrote me and said, You can't assume historical Abraham. I said, Well, I know it's difficult extra biblically. To prove historical. Abraham, I can show you a little mirror tablet that talks about my name, Abraham. I believe there was a historical Abraham, by the way. Don't get your noses out of shape. I cannot prove easily. That there was a historical Abraham. But you know what I can prove? Are you listening? I can prove historical covenant. I can show you thousands of little Kate Clay tablets which give the conditions for covenant where you divided the animal. And the two parties of the covenant wall between the hands of the animal, vowing that if either of us betrays this covenant, might the same fate befall us? I am a covenant theologian.

[00:40:50] My students at Northwestern Garrett Evangelical, used to say, You talk too much about covenant. You make sound God, gods and blood thirsty. I'm saying grow up, for crying out loud. God didn't admit the concept of covenant. That's the way you establish a relationship with someone in Abraham's day. You cut a covenant. I can prove it. I can show you thousands of these little Murray tablets which show the conditions of covenant and how it worked. It had to be a sacrifice. Without what? There's no forgiveness of sins without the shedding of blood. It has to be a sacrifice. With what? Without what? Blemish and it had not been for the covenant. There would have been no need for a cross. Because once you buy into the concept, you have to be faithful to the principle. Now that we serve a great God or what? God anticipating that before the When was the lamb slain? But for the foundation, that means God, God redeemed you before God created you. Rejoice. That means God loved you before God made you. I don't blame him. I think God is. I got a lot of people got mad at you. Why in the world God make it make you. Knowing would cost you. You did it. If you are the only one to have since at the beginning of time, Jesus Christ would still have gone to the cross. You know it's true. You cannot denied. Why in the world would God do that? Why would God? You're going to create something knowing it'll cost you the price of an only child. Not likely. God. What do you think? Well, this is the difference between Armenians and and communists. By the way, Calvin had recurrent kidney stones. That's why I believe in total depravity.

[00:42:42] He died sitting on a toilet seat trying to pass one of those suckers. Bless you, sweetheart. Oh, John. Carl. You didn't know that, did you? That's what you get when you teach your Fuller Seminary reform theology. Belief that original sin related to Adam sinned. Original sin can relate to, Adam said. It relates to Adam Nature, Wesley said. We're not condemned for Adam said alone. But Adam said, plus actual scenarios were condemned, Brown said. I believe that Jesus was fully human. I hope you do. And if you don't we've been I'm tell it we've been name and Harris is after that for 2000 years. Don't give me a hybrid Don't give me a Jesus with a fifth gear. I believe. Jesus, Get this. No one leaves the room till I finish this thought. This is really important. I believe that Jesus had original sin. Now, what if I said. Don't panic. Original sin relates to out of Nature, which after the after the fall, he became mortal in sin prone. Jesus was born mortal and central. I have colleagues at Asbury who believe that Jesus hadn't died on the cross. He would have never died. I'm saying whoa, behind me by name. And Harris is after that for a long time since Pentecost. You Gnostic. What's original said. Calvin believes that original sin relates to Adam Sin. Jesus never had Adam's sin, for crying out loud. He was sinless without blemish. I mean, according to First Corinthians 15, Sam came into the world by humankind. Sin can only be taken out of the world by humankind. But you got to have a human sacrifice without blemish. Show me a nail without blemish and I'll worship him or her. Go around the world. Find me. Jesus was full of human moral had me debate a guy named Ken Copeland.

[00:44:44] You ever hear Ken Copeland have a debate of God? He came. Copeland And on on a are you campus? In the middle of the debate, Copeland said. Donald, don't give me a Jesus and a hair shirt and a sheep under his arm. He now wrote that the right hand of glory. To which I said, As long as you don't give me a Jesus in a pinstripe suit and a Wall Street Journal under his arm, because the Jesus of glory still bears the marks of the incarnation, and not only in his hand and his side, in his feet, but in his navel, because the suffering begins and the manger not on the cross. I mean, Mel Gibson's passion doesn't know the half of it. It hurts God to be squeezed into human flesh and implanted in a mama. How God created you. Knowing it would cost him the price of an only son. Why would he do that? Give me one word for God. Thank you very much. We can just stop right there. That's who God is. God really is a God of love. And I have to relearn that. Many of you, I can tell by looking at you. I've had to relearn that many times. Love needs someone to love. And in spite of all John Calvin and his kidney stones, the void was not enough. As he reform theology thinks that God is sufficient unto himself. The various persons of the Trinity. I've got a thing in here. Didn't I put in your an image of the Trinity. Did you check that out? We were two and I'd just kind of gotten off here. I said I wasn't going to ramble. But we're talking about the course evaluation procedure, the two papers.

[00:46:31] One talking about the core character one. I've been talking about the core. Of the gospel. You're talking to Muslims. The Trinity, as is the impasse. As you well know, Kano state as Sharia law in Nigeria is not a muslim country, but Kano State has Sharia law. I mean, you can't display a cross in a Christian church and you can't sing loudly enough so someone can hear it on the street because you don't want to offend a muslim. Whoa. So what do I have to do to talk to Muslims? I have to talk about God as father. They can understand that word. They can understand that in spirit. Don't get hung up on that son of God business yet. God is one where radical monotheist. Okay. Two papers, 4 to 5 pages each. The first establishes guidelines or criteria for your understanding of the gospel core. How do you establish your understanding of the gospel core? The least you can believe is still be a Christian. I know the gospel is true because. The second paper established the guidelines or the criteria for you to use for identifying your sphere of influence is where I presently minister most effectively as 50% of your grade for one page book critics. I mean one page, single spaced. Don't give me a page in a sentence. Give me one page or less. Single spaced book critique, talking about the strengths and the weaknesses of the books. You don't mention the weaknesses. You won't get a. Strength and the weaknesses. And then three case studies. I've already explained this in one place. I want you to talk to three people during the summer. I want you to go to three people, hopefully unchurched. You might not be able to pull that off because some folks don't have unchurched friends.

[00:48:28] That's all I have. Not all I have. You're my friend. So your church. Vast majority of my friends are unchurched. I had a man in my house last night who never goes to church and is proud of it. But he loves me like a brother. And I'm all to lead him to Jesus before he dies. I guarantee it. I pray for him. It may or may not be the one to do it or does it. I told him it's really going to tick me off if you go to hell. He will. But anyway, I want to talk to three people. You can tell them this if you need a gimmick. So I got this man, old seminary professor, who's going to flunk me. Which is true, by the way, if I don't share my understanding of the Christian faith with three people so that you can then critique me, let me know how. I'm just a seminary student. I don't know what I'm doing, but could take me as to how I'm doing. Does it make sense? Can you do that? Three people. We used to do this in Willmore when I had 160 students in evangelism class and they all descended on the Wal-Mart. And before the end of the semester, there were no more heathens in Wal-Mart. But now they're here. They had to go somewhere else. They had to hang out at McDonald's and other places. It's an old joke, but but it's true. It really is true. They said that we can't find anymore heathens at Wal-Mart. Go to three people and just say, you'll hate this assignment. I know. Most most seminary students have never done this. But say to them, I am a solo seminary professor is going to flunk me.

[00:50:13] I've got to share my faith. Would you help me here, please? Just let me share with you briefly my understanding of what it means to be a Christian. And then would you let me know whether or not it makes sense? Do you understand those assignments? I want guidelines. One, two, three, four, five. I won't do three if you like. I believe the gospel is true. This is for establishing the gospel core. Godlike. Because, you see, Babish is not bad. It's just baggage. The baggage is what enables you to minister effectively in your sphere of influence. But if you can be consistent with the core, you can be flexible with the baggage. We're going to talk about that in a moment. See how important this is. If you understand what the Corps is. A lot of folks think the course and baptism by immersion. A lot of folks think the core is the infallibility of the pope. I just had an audience with the pope in January, May in 2000. Other people. You're not impressed? I can tell. I was kind of impressed. He addressed us in seven languages fluently. Think about it. We Americans, by and large, lack humility and global perspective. The man addressed us fluently and seven different languages. Anyway. To Piper's 50% for critiques. One page What you like about the book, what you what you didn't what what you didn't like so much about the book. And then three case study. And our understanding of the court changes. But the guidelines are the same. As we learn more about the scriptures, we realize that perhaps I haven't given this as much emphasis as I needed to. Sometimes Christians forget about repentance. They talk about faith in Jesus, but they don't talk about repent.

[00:52:08] Repentance is the point of the Spirit sword. Rob and I were talking about a revival, I think, that took place in Kentucky in 70. You knew someone who was there, right? That was about read about confession of sin. You start a revival in your church, get folks confessing, saying, Starting with you. I was telling Georgia Supper that I'm writing a blurb for a guy who's written one of my former students who's written a book on integrity. And he's quoting me from 30 years ago. Can you believe that? A clear statement I made in a seminary class. I had no idea that I made it. But I think where that comes from is that a man named Jim Buskirk. You ever hear of Jim Buskirk is a very interesting man. He was the dean of the Seminary Graduate School of Theology in our year when I was there. He was the one who's been one of my best friend. 1974 we made a vow that for the rest of our lives, we tried never to have a thought on the inside we weren't willing to have on the outside. I know I don't look as clean on the outside now as I did then, but I'm a whole lot cleaner on the inside. It's called congruency. If you don't ring true, you will not have an effective minister. People will be smoking you on the spot. Especially children. You don't look the same on the outside. You look on the inside. It's going to show. And you don't even know how you communicate. But you do. If you're willing, just to make a vow never to have a thought on the inside you're not willing to have on the outside. It'll clean you up and it'll show certainly you this kind of congruency communicate.

[00:54:02] It's called basic integrity. Honesty. Now you don't want to dress in front of Tom, Dick and Harry, for crying out loud. You get nailed if you do. That's why AA has this confidentiality kind of thing. And Wesley's groups class meetings. Do you realize? Typical the eighth century, 18th century evangelical revival. Wesley would walk the streets of a small English town singing hymns with an entourage of 20 to 30 people, drawing a crowd. Walk to the market, cross. Climb the steps of the market, cross. Preach a 15 minute sermon, no longer in society, preach for hours. But in the open air, he preached only 15 minutes. Only two topics. You know what they were. Death in hell. It scared a living out of me. Usually within the sight of a gallows with sometimes with a cadaver swinging at the end of a rope. And the invitation? This was pre evangelism. This is like. This is kind of like Schuller, who says, What I do is not the kind of preaching, obviously, but he said this. I said, I'm just setting up people for the rest of your ministry. And he does. God bless him. I. Go, go Crystal Cathedral. His son was a student at Fuller. Western, preached a 15 minute sermon on death or Hell. The invitation was not to accept Christ. It was the fear of God and flee the wrath to come. And the people who were responding to that invitation, the 20 to 30 people in the entourage, were circulated amongst those people, signing them up for a class meeting that afternoon so that 70% of the people wanted to Jesus Christ in the 18th century Evangelical revival, Rwanda, Jesus Christ, one on one in class meetings. Did you know that? Isn't that interesting? Today's lecture, and then we're going to break a day's lecture.

[00:55:48] The apostolic precedent What it meant met. Krister Stendhal, dean of the old Harvard Divinity School, six foot six, and his vertebra were fuzed. So he couldn't he couldn't bend his neck. So he'd had to do this. Used to see him lecture like this. He said the only way to interpret the Bible is empathetically. By the way, I hate the word empathy. It assumes I know what you feel. And, you know, goodwill. I don't. I had a student once who lost a baby. Little baby died. And one of my colleagues went and said, I just know. I know just what you feel. I know what you're feeling. And you said, No, you don't. So you lost your baby. You didn't lose my baby. You don't know what I feel. Don't ever assume you know what someone's feeling. I've just helped you now. You can sympathize. You cannot empathize. The only time the word empathy is truly appropriate is guard the incarnation. God became flesh just as human as you are tempted, as you are sin prone and mortal. Adam was born righteousness prone. That's why the gospel is good news, bad news, good news, Good news created in the image of God. Bad news as you blow it. Good news, God and Jesus Christ reconciling us to our original righteousness. That's why I'm holding that preacher. No way to know. What it means is to know what it meant. We talk about the gospel core biblically and theologically. Let's take a break and then we'll start with the biblical core from a biblical perspective, genesis to Revelation.