On September 1st, God-willing, we’ll be publishing the final piece in the “Explored” trilogy, 15 years after we first published Christianity Explored.
D. A. Carson writes: “At a time in the Western world when basic knowledge of the Bible is increasingly rare, it is a pleasure to recommend Life Explored. Here is an introduction to the good news found in Jesus Christ, sweeping through some of the “big pictures” in the Bible. As far as a short series can, Life Explored outlines what the Bible is about, exposes our idolatry, and makes clear where forgiveness and hope lie. This is one of the best of the rising number of evangelistic tools addressing men and women in the twenty-first century.”
The tagline is: “What’s the best gift God could give you?” And the aim is to help your guest find lasting happiness in the only place it can be found: the Author of all happiness.
If you’re a Christian pastor or lay leader, here are four reasons I hope you’ll love Life Explored.
1. Because we can no longer take any level of biblical literacy for granted, Life Explored surveys the whole biblical plot line, rather than just a narrow slice of it. Creation, fall, redemption, new creation.
2. Because we can no longer assume that the God our friends reject is actually the triune God revealed in Scripture, each of the sessions emphasises a different aspect of God’s wondrous character and work.
In his latest book, God In The Whirlwind, David Wells posed the question, “What must the church recover if it’s to reach this generation for Christ?” The answer he gives is this: “what has been… lost in the evangelical church… is our understanding of God’s character.”
3. Because it’s more readily acknowledged among postmoderns than the concept of law-breaking, Life Explored describes sin in terms of idolatry. People begin to admit that they are worshipers of something, whatever that may be, and if it is not the living God who made them and gives them every good thing they enjoy, their chosen god will (to use David Foster Wallace’s phrase) “eat them alive”.
As D. A. Carson explains, “In a culture like ours… a better way to unpack the nature of sin is to unfold the nature of idolatry rather than the nature of law… These evils are more easily admitted among postmoderns than are the evils of transgressing law.”
4. Because of the way Nathan brings David to repentance in 2 Samuel 12, we’ve created a series of short films (almost parables) which help people to feel the seriousness of their sin by presenting it from a different, and convicting, perspective.
David and Herod were both adulterers. And both were called out on their sin by Nathan and John the Baptist respectively. But notice the difference in approach. John confronts Herod with raw, propositional truth: “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.” (Mark 6:18). Nathan, on the other hand, tells David a story (2 Samuel 12). And it’s the story, to paraphrase Hamlet, that catches the conscience of the King.
We’re aiming for something similar on Life Explored. The short films are intended to create in our viewers “Nathan moments” which help people to see themselves as they really are – and God’s grace as it really is.
I’ll be following up this post with an FAQ on Monday, so if you have any questions about the Life Explored experience, please ask away in the comments section below.
Thanks Barry – that’s really exciting to read and gives a really clear picture of what’s going on. Looking forward to seeing more.
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We find that so many of the visitors to our church and contacts made through outreach do not have a grounding in basic Bible understanding and Christian faith, so we have been thinking for ages about how we could go one step further than Christianity Explored. It is exciting to hear about Life explored – can’t wait to hear some more.