Christianity Explained
Michael L.B. Bennett, Christianity Explained Ministry, 1985, 2010

£9.99 (Approx)
4
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Overview

What does it say on the tin?

Share the Christian message one to one from the Gospel of Mark.

Today, many people are ignorant of even the basic facts of the Christian faith. Many people think they have made a “decision for Christ” but do not really understand what faith is. Their greatest need is to have it simply and clearly explained…

Christianity Explained gets away from the quick one-off presentation of the gospel which has characterised much of our evangelistic efforts in the past. Based on six studies of the Gospel of Mark, this manual is a tried and tested tool for evangelism. It presents the challenge of Jesus in a way which is non-threatening, and concentrates on the facts about the person and work of Christ. The course makes no assumptions about the person and work of Christ. The course makes no assumptions about the hearer’s level of Bible knowledge, which may be minimal or non existent.

During the course, participants will be invited to discuss and question what they are hearing. By the time they have completed the six studies, they will have been challenged to repentance, belief and a trust in Jesus Christ.

This simple but effective tool has been in use throughout the world for over 20 years.

What do you get and how?

You can get the paperback A4 book online from the Good Book Company’s website or Christianity Explained’s own website where you can find a mixture of media to use in the delivery of the course, including training DVDs, workbooks and free MP3 sermons.

Contents:

  • The principles behind Christianity Explained
  • The most effective way to use Christianity Explained
  • Other ways to use Christianity Explained
  • The six studies –
    • Jesus – the Son of God
    • Jesus – his death of the cross
    • Jesus – his resurrection
    • Grace – not works!
    • What is a Christian? 1. Repenting
    • What is a Christian? 2. Believing

Who is it for?

Primarily it is for people wanting to share their faith one on one with others. It can also be used in Small groups, or Evangelistic services, and it gives you some options of how to do so.

Cost?

Book: £9.99

Review

  • What is the overall quality of material presentation?

    Well-produced A4 book with glossy cover. Clearly presented material, well laid out, accessible, recently updated. Slightly staid in presentation but straight-forward. From the supporting website, this is clearly a resource which has been used, and is still being used, to great effect down the years and across the globe.

    How clear are its aims and outcomes?

    Aims clearly spelt out for each session. The opening section of the manual builds a case for preparation for evangelism that is based on assuming: that we are starting from scratch; that fears about it can be dealt with; and that we have to begin with the most accessible models for those whom we are trying to reach.

    How accessible are the leader's notes?

    Great points for leading an enquirers' group well, from first contact to how to lead discussions sensitively and purposefully. The latter includes discouraging Christians from attending unless part of the team, and discouraging use of the manual – suggesting instead that summaries are made of the material and practised beforehand. Firm guidance given re putting group members at ease, such as reassuring them that they will not be asked to pray or read aloud – this course takes seriously the fact that many people have little or no biblical or Christian knowledge whatsoever. One-to-one use of the material is strongly encouraged also. The sessions include the overall plan of communicating the basic Christian message through the Gospel of Mark, with creative visual suggestions to illustrate this. However, there are no questions to engage the participants – this is left to the leader to encourage. There is a section with answers to the ‘twenty most asked questions' prompted by study of the Gospel of Mark.

    Who could lead it?

    A confident Christian who is sensitive to enquirers, and good at enabling discussion. The leader would also need to be confident enough to lead in a fairly ‘free' way, rather than tied to working through notes. Multi-uses of the material are suggested, from camps, to baptism preparation and seasonal outreach.

    How helpful are the participants' resources?

    Neat, photocopiable A4 foldable sheets for each session with summary of the main points, and suggestions for reading a few chapters between sessions. Space for writing down reactions and questions to the latter. Course assessment sheet included, with focus on personal reactions to the gospel.

    How good is any digital material?

    Short video of author on the site.

    How much prep will I have to do?

    Considerable – depending on how you use this course, whether one-to-one or group or in another way. There is plenty of preparation material to read as well, and it would be good to be confident about how to present the material. Some leaders may want to prepare some leading questions to get discussion going.

    Is there website support? Links?

    www.christianityexplained.com. Here there are some further materials available in Australia, and some downloadable teaching, workbooks etc. Information about the author. Free sample of session 1.

  • How well does it encourage interaction with the group?

    This is left to the leader to encourage, in reaction to the biblical study and theme. Discussion of previous between-session personal studies included as the first item each session.

    How well does it cater for a variety of both learning and delivery styles?

    Mixture of Bible study (where leaders are expected to help people find their way around the New Testament easily), open discussion and input from leader. Latter includes a variety of visual illustrations.

    How adaptable is it to my situation?

    Moderate adaptation of the material allowed to suit the audience. A resource which has been used, and is still being used, to great effect down the years and across the globe. Suitable for a variety of situations from one-to-one to a church programme. Very straight presentation.

    How well does it encourage people to work together in applying the material?

    Discussion of previous between-session personal studies included as the first item each session.

  • How much of the material is Bible-based?

    All material is based on readings and themes from Mark's Gospel.

    How well is the biblical material presented and used?

    Participants read their way through the gospel between sessions. Studies pick out relevant passages to focus on the theme.

    How well does it apply biblical material to everyday life?

    Focus is on explanation of who Jesus is, what he has done for us, and our need to respond in repentance and belief.

    Is there a particular theological perspective?

    Strongly evangelical.

  • How well does it inspire people towards whole-life discipleship?

    Being a Christian is compared to the Holy Spirit moving in to the entrance hall in the house of our life and gradually renovating the whole building.

    How well does it encourage and enable people to grow in their faith?

    Straight-forward introduction to the central truths of Christianity, and the invitation to repent and believe. Clearly explained for an enquirer. Surprisingly, the love of God for humanity is barely mentioned. However, the approach is loving and considerate in itself, and the final session suggests great sensitivity in presenting options for response – ‘low-key' or ‘more direct'.

    How well does it stretch faith and vision of God and his purposes?

    As an introduction to Christian concepts, this course would clearly be new material for most participants. The requirement to read through Mark's gospel would allow God to speak for himself.

    How well does it connect with real life issues?

    Obviously the Gospel is all about real life – but the focus of this resource is on Jesus' approach to life; and the implications of this for us. Like the Gospel of Mark itself, the point of the course is to drive to a point where participants are invited to give their lives to Jesus.

  • How well does it encourage personal evangelism?

    Great encouragement – first section goes through the reasons why it is so necessary in Western secular society, and why a personal approach is necessary.

    How well does it encourage local or network-based community involvement?

    From an evangelistic point of view, this resource aims to engage with the local community - running one-to-one, as a small group outreach, or via a regular church-organised programme.

    How well does it connect with global issues?

    Not a focus, apart from the necessity of salvation.

    How well does it encourage global mission?

    This is a resource which is used in many countries around the world, with good results.

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