We should trust the Bible, says Timothy Paul Jones, because it is ‘grounded in the words of a man who died and rose again’ (p.111). Jones’s basic presupposition is this: ‘If we live in a world where it is possible…
The title of this new Christianity Explored course is based on the question Jesus asked: ‘What good is it for a man to gain the whole world yet forfeit his soul?’
This evangelistic course has been designed for young people. There are two versions of the printed material – CY Nano is aimed at 11-14 year olds and CY is for 15-18 year olds.
Each has its own workbook for use by the members of the group doing the course. These have spaces for notes and answers to questions. Special copies of Mark’s Gospel (NIV) are also available. The leaders’ guide covers both courses, with variations suitable to the different age groups.
Going through this was my first introduction to Christianity Explored. We had decided to use it for our youth club, which consists of 6-10 young people in their teens. Many of these young people have had little or no exposure to Christianity from their families; and the religious education they receive at school has not improved the situation.
On each of the occasions we used the DVD, the young people listened really well. Nate Morgan Locke presents Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour using Mark’s Gospel and the 96 minutes of the DVD. The DVD is divided into seven sections, one of which can be used each week during the 7 weeks of the course. The written material allows organisers to produce their own talk in place of the DVD, if they so wish.
The production is of excellent quality and the presentation uniformly serious but engaging. Sometimes I found myself wondering if the background scenes of the DVD were a distraction, but, on reflection, realised they do provide a thought-provoking backdrop.
An example is the fairground, which is the backdrop to the cross of Christ. Initially, I thought this was an ill chosen setting, but then realised that the setting of the crucifixion was like a fairground. It was an event for the crowds; there was gambling and joking at the expense of the man on the central cross.
On a couple of occasions in the DVD presentations it is stated that ‘Jesus died for you’ without any qualification. Nate Morgan Locke is by no means a universalist. He talks with intense seriousness about sin and hell. He qualifies this statement in one place by saying that the benefits of the death of Christ are only for believers. However, I do think that this kind of statement leaves the door open to confusion.
This was a shame, as it was the only negative point I would make about a really excellent resource. There is a website connected with the course (www.christianityexplored.org), enabling churches which run it to be listed and their own websites linked. Overall, this is a well thought out resource, which was a joy to use.