Masters Degree – for non-readers
(Regina’s English class – note the higher level under the distant tree.)
Afterwards I step to the plate, and they all sit intent on learning the Bible.
All my adult life I have taught the Bible. But I have never had anyone more interested – and more totally ignorant, than these. How do I teach them that Father really is their Papa, not their Warden? How do I prove to them that there are only angels and demons – not ancestors hovering around? They already know they are not going to heaven – even though they are very religious! How do I show them that they can in fact be whisked right now into the Kingdom of Life, never to depart? I feel such an urgency!
All my life I have taught propositional bible study – selecting a theme, then finding supportive texts, leading to a convincing conclusion. This will not work here. Few grasp it.
So I have been doing the God Story, as we learned it in CPX (click on the first link and you can read the first three stories I told). I first saw it on a powerful film called Ee Taow! where a missionary to a very primitive tribe taught thru the Bible in stories, starting at creation, going to the fall of man, sin staining perfection, sacrifice making temporary fellowship possible, and so forth thru the OT. By the time they got to Jesus they all knew they were rotten sinners deserving hell, and that God was great and wonderful, but holy. Then they fell in love with Jesus. When he died they were stunned! But it suddenly dawned on them that he was in fact the Lamb that died to cleanse their sins – and they suddenly believed and found the rush of the indwelling Spirit of God upon their washed hearts – they spontaneously danced for 2 ½ hours!
So now I am telling stories – praying for the same miraculous response – and they love it. I am carefully selecting stories that convey the essential gospel message and confront their false religious or their animistic worldview. It is amazing the discussions – sometimes rather heated – we have afterwards.
Once, after I taught about sacrifice in the OT, I asked them,
Syncretism is the mixing of Christian beliefs with a people who have never changed their basic animistic worldview. So they go to church and the witch doctor; they say their prayers and they put charms on their kids… N. T. Wright says that stories constitute the core of every culture’s worldview. In order to influence the worldviews of people
So I am going to continue to find Bible stories for every theological doctrine we want to impress into these disciples. I am encouraged and hopeful.
Then suddenly a few days ago it hit me like a ton of guavas!
How do we train people to lead Bible studies if they don’t read!!?? And if no one in the “Bible study” reads!
Our goal is not just to win a few converts and disciple them in a church. Our goal is to start a movement – we disciple some who will disciple others… So our
I was up most of the night wrestling with this one.
Statistics as of Sep. 30, 2004 from Wycliffe International indicate 4558 languages are without any of the Bible, out of the 6913 languages currently spoken in the world. Current estimates indicate that around two-thirds of the world’s population are oral communicators either by necessity or by choice. If this is true, and we want to reach one of these oral cultures, we had better be equipped to train people to understand and teach Bible truth accurately and consistently, without having a Bible. We want to see believers trained in the faith who can also train others who will train others. We want to see this kind of training for evangelism, discipleship, leader training and church planting.
Well, the best discipling resource is not a booklet or a method, but an obedient Christian. Mentorship is our first method. If we take Jesus’ approach and really mentor a few believers who will pass it on – we can start a movement that will change the world.
Secondly, we must train people in Bible stories – teach them to memorize the stories, to act them out, to ask questions about the cultural implications, to wrestle with the theology of the story. There are several ministries who are blazing a trail for us in this – and we will gladly learn.
Thank you, those of you who regularly pray for us. God has been so good – and we are so ignorant of how to do his work. We are utterly dependent on Him – and on our prayer supporters. Thanks so much.