I recently picked up a brief book entitled “A Forgotten Gospel” by Mark McGrath.
It’s an easy read but it will also challenge every gospel script outline that you have learned.
I liked the basic premise of the book.
McGrath reviews every conversation in Acts between a believer and a non-believer, to examine what might be some of basic elements of the gospel.
What is the gospel?
Most gospel presentations have this basic outline:
- Man’s problem — Sin.
- God’s Solution — Jesus and him crucified.
- Man’s response — Believe and Receive.
How this is fleshed out varies among gospel scripts, like
- the Four Spiritual Laws,
- the Bridge Illustration,
- the The Big Story – Improving the Bridge Illustration,
- Roman’s Road,
- Evangecube (see Evangecube video).
McGrath argues that this traditional gospel outline is never presented in this fullness in any of the gospel conversations between non-believers and believers in the narrative of Acts.
So what is The Gospel in Acts?
He tries to answer the question: “What is the gospel that the early believers proclaimed?”
If it is the power of God for salvation (Romans 1:16), then how do New Testament authors explain the gospel, or outline it?
He finds in the proclamations recorded in the narrative have a focus on the resurrection, not the crucifixion. He finds the basic pattern as this:
“God showed his commitment to us in sending his Son, Jesus, to the world.”
“Jesus was killed, but 3 days later, rose from the dead. That changed the world. Jesus is now appointed as the ruler and Savior for humans.”
“Today, God calls everyone to surrender their lives and follow Jesus as their ruler and Savior.”
“If anyone does that, God will forgive them for not following Jesus all their lives and connect their life into His plan for the world.”
He argues that
“when speaking to non-believers, the New Testament believers always emphasized the resurrection and provided no explanation for the meaning of the death of Christ. “
It’s a declaration, a call, and a promise.
This is somewhat provocative, particularly for the Way of the Master followers who maintain that there is only one right gospel presentation using the 10 commandments.
It doesn’t start with sin
McGrath’s presentation doesn’t focus on man’s sinfulness as the starting point of the conversation.
To be clear, McGrath doesn’t ignore sin. He’s very clear in his book that one of the blessings of choosing to follow Jesus is that sin is forgiven.
His study of the conversations between believers and non-believers doesn’t use that as a starting point either.
His book is also full of excellent conversational evangelism tips that help you on a practical level in sharing your faith. His conversational approach relies on listening to the Holy Spirit and listening to the other person, which is very much in line with what I teach in my Fear Free Evangelism Seminar.
This is a book I recommend to you.
His approach shows respect for the person you are talking too and doesn’t require you to control the conversation. For those who find personal evangelism intimidating, this book has a lot of practical conversational tips, even if you are not quite sure you agree with his starting point.
Check out this review:
Order your copy direct from Amazon and support our work along the way: A Forgotten Gospel by Mark McGrath
My own Personal Evangelism Teaching on DVD
I have a DVD (or digital download) set that focuses on a conversational style evangelism that would be effective in:
- casual conversation between friends
- causal conversation between strangers
Read more about the Effective Evangelism Conversations in the store
It is a recording of a live seminar I gave in 2012.