How do you explain the gospel in 5min? One popular gospel presentation is Australian “Two ways to live“. I, obviously, prefer “Three ways to live” presentation, which makes further distinction between religion and the gospel. Both of these, and many other gospel presentations (until recently) made an emphasis on man’s sin, judgment and his only way to salvation by Jesus’ sacrifice. However, these kinds of presentation have become increasingly more difficult to “sell”. After all, who would want to hear about judgment, about the need for sacrifice. Many people do not completely understand what they have done wrong and why they should be “saved” or forgiven.
So it’s not surprising that alternative gospel presentations have been appearing that avoid these difficult issues. Instead, they focus on the Bible’s big picture “Creation-Fall-Redemption-Restoration”, as Tim Keller once put it. Here is an example:
According to “Stand to Reason” blog, InterVarsity campus ministries are already using it on college campuses. Note that the presentation makes an emphasis on community problems rather than on individual sin. Jesus is a way that helps us solve the world’s problem rather than a way for your individual salvation.
Many would find fault with such a presentation, blaming it for hiding the more important aspects of the gospel (sin, judgment, hell). I, personally, see this as a part of contextualization development that suggests we should avoid presenting the whole truth to non-believers because a) they might not be interested, b) might not understand and hence give up. Instead, the contextualization movement suggests intentionally presenting a one-sided part of the gospel that is relevant to the person, and leaving the other parts for later time (when the person is ready).
So it is with this gospel presentation. Many people nowadays do not think that there is anything wrong with them, but almost everybody agree that there is something wrong with the whole world (poverty, global warming, wars, etc.). Hence such people are more likely to pay attention to the gospel presentation that addresses these global issues. Is this selling out to the culture? No, if done properly, by which I mean the absolute necessity of presenting the other sides of the gospel at a later time. Failing to do that leads to over-contexualization and you can see example of this in many “emergent” churches that often narrow Christianity to Earth improvement program.