Call To Die

Then [Jesus] said to them all, "If anyone wants to come with Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of Me will save it. (Luke 9:23-24, HCSB)

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Follower of Christ, husband of Abby, member of Kosmosdale Baptist Church, and tutor/staff member at Sayers Classical Academy.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Gospel Tract Analysis: "Your Life, A New Beginning"

In one of her Seminary Wives Institute classes at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, my wife (Abby) was given a tract from the North American Mission Board titled, "Your Life, A New Beginning."

The following evaluation of the above gospel tract is based on Tell the Truth by Will Metzger, Appendix A (IX):
  • Metzger writes, "Check first for some reference to God, man, Christ, response." This tract certainly addresses these areas.
  • "Was the nature of God defined, or was it assumed that the Christian view of God is understood?" The nature of God was defined to an extent-- God is presented as Creator, personal, and loving-- but more probably should be said (the holiness of God, for example, was unmentioned).
  • "Is sin presented primarily as an offense against God or more as psychological hunger (lack of fulfillment, etc.)?" Sin, in this tract, is NOT explained away as a mistake or just some lack, but is defined as falling short of God's perfect standard. On the other hand, there was no mention of sin as rebellion against God or breaking His Law, and so more should probably be said on this subject.
  • "Is sin presented in such a way as to go beyond outward sins to the inner sin of idolatry?" In a sense, yes: this tract relates sin to seeking to write our own story (a self-centeredness) rather than having Jesus as the author of our story, and this is certainly a type of idolatrous attitude. Again, however, more should probably be said.
  • "Is salvation clearly tied to one's relationship to the living Christ[?]" Yes.
  • "Is salvation presented as the restoration of the human-God relationship for all of life [rather than something] detached from life's primary concerns?" Yes.
  • "Is Jesus Christ presented as the bridge to God or merely as the source of good advice, which if accepted, would improve our lives?" This tract clearly presents Jesus Christ as the bridge to God.
  • "Is the biblical character of Jesus (the God-Man) defined or assumed?" This tract defines Jesus' character in terms of His deity, His sacrificial and substitutionary death, and His exclusivity.
  • "Is the necessity for a response to the gospel stressed or slighted?" The necessity for response is certainly stressed in this tract.
  • "Is Christ as Lord made clear, or is future obedience to Him obscured?" The lordship of Christ is certainly clear in this tract, especially from the daily devotionals at the end of the tract.
  • "Are repentance (turning from sin) and faith in Christ made clear?" Yes.
As obvious from the analysis above, there are many good qualities to this tract, but there are also some weaknesses, and anyone using this tract to explain the good news of Jesus may want to take these weaknesses into account so that they can compensate for them in their witnessing conversation.

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