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An extra from Book by Book's "Job" studies.

Here Paul Blackham interviews me about 321 - a gospel outline. We discuss the necessity of Trinity (THREE), Adam and Christ (TWO) and Union with Christ (ONE) for our evangelism and why the local church is crucial for our mission to the world.

From 00:00 - 21:29 we talk about THREE
From 21:30 - 37:54 we talk about TWO
From 37:55 - 1:01:00 we talk about ONE and our evangelistic methods

And here's a bit of fun from the "Job" studies:



Two boys at work in a field. (Gal 4:1-3).

They look the same, but they couldn't be more different.

One is a slave, the other is a son.  One is property, the other is heir.  One calls the owner "Boss".  The other calls him "Daddy."

But from a distance you can't tell.

In church, slaves and sons sit side by side.  And, from a distance, you can't tell which is which.  But actually there is a profound difference in their relationship to the Father - and this difference is decisive.

Paul writes Galatians 4:4-7 to sort out the slaves from the sons.

At the heart of this difference is the trinity.  If we understand the trinity and our union with Christ, if we understand our adoption into the very life of God, then we'll be sons.  If we miss this, we will live as slaves.

The trinity really is that important.


Older slides here.

Older Text below...

...continue reading "Trinity Sermon"



Episode 57: Andy and I speak about science and how the truths of 3, 2 and 1 give us the strongest possible foundation for scientific enquiry.



For more on the issue of science:

Previous Podcast

Hasn't Science Disproved God?

Are You Sitting Comfortably? Then Let's Do Science!

Why The World Exists

We All Have Our Creation Stories

Faith Seeking Understanding




I really need to settle down and write 321 the book before 2014 properly crowds in. Please pray for focus, inspiration, clarity of thought and expression. And pray God might use it to reach many.

I'll be blogging/tweeting infrequently for the next few weeks.

Talk among yourselves...


TEP-PodcastCover-1024x1024321 isn't the simplest gospel presentation in the world.

And it doesn't seek to meet unbelievers where they're at.

Nor does it try to reason from common ground and bring people in stages to the gospel.

It also majors on such 'advanced truths' as Trinity and union with Christ.

So why do evangelism this way?



If you want to run 321 the evangelistic course, go here.



On The Evangelists' Podcast we're in a series looking at 321






Here we ask...

Why speak of union with Christ in evangelism? Isn't that a truth for discipleship?

What happens when we don't have a category for 'oneness with Jesus'?

How does union with Christ help the evangelist?

How should we go about explaining it in evangelism?





AdamChristIn our latest podcast we talk about Adam. Doesn't he complicate evangelism? Why discuss him?

The first thing to say is that 321 is not meant to be an inductive argument. It's not about getting agreement from people about the basics and working towards Jesus. It's simply about inviting the non-Christian into the Christian story and asking them to look around it from the inside.

I certainly do not expect agreement at the outset (otherwise I wouldn't begin with THREE!) What I want to do is paint a picture and ask the non-Christian to suspend disbelief for a few minutes while I explain the gospel.

Once I've explained the logic of Adam and Christ (perhaps from 1 Corinthians 15:21-22), then I can say something along the lines of...

"Do you understand the logic of the story - i.e. that Adam fell but Christ rose? If you get the logic then, sure, I completely understand your problem with Adam. But let's talk about Christ because, as you can see, the two are linked. I know you don't believe it, but the central Christian claim is that Christ rose. Let's examine whether Christ rose or not (from 1 Corinthians 15). If He rose, then Adam fell."

I am well aware that Adam is not a great stepping stone to Christ :)  But then, nothing is a good stepping stone to Christ. Christ makes the bridge Himself.

Once again... we begin with THREE (and with creation and Adam) not because we're seeking to get agreement from the outset. We begin here because that's where the Christian story begins. And we beg the non-Christian's indulgence to let us finish the story.

If the non-Christian wants verification of the story's truth - we point to Christ and His resurrection from the dead. If Christ rose, the story is true (and Adam fell). If He didn't rise then the story is just a fairytale and we can forget it all.

In all this I'm saying "Don't get too hung up on the Adam question. Adam does not vindicate the story, the story vindicates Adam". But as we discuss these things, I find that non-Christians really get the emotional impact of Adam. Seeing humanity as a family, seeing how the whole family tree has been corrupted from the outset, seeing the disconnected state we're all naturally in, this all makes a heck of a lot of emotional sense. The wonder of Christ entering in to this mess to address our problems from the inside. That's a wonderfully attractive proposition. Play on that. And then let Jesus vindicate Adam (not the other way around.)

I speak more extensively about Adam and evangelism here and here.



In the previous episode  we discussed THREE (Trinity). That's the first truth of 321. In this podcast we talk about TWO (Adam and Christ).

Here we'll discuss whether Adam complicates or clarifies our evangelism.

Surely - you might think - Adam introduces more problems than he solves. Well, down through the centuries, the church has stood solidly on the ground of Adam's historical existence. And we have stood on the doctrine of original sin. Why? Because the gospel falls apart without these truths.

So how do we speak of them without being led down a thousand conversational cul-de-sacs?





UPDATE - New Red Figures At Bottom of the Page
What do you think?

It's been great to see 321 used all across the world. There are translations into 10 languages either completed or in process, with more to come.

One thing though... (and this becomes more and more obvious as it's shown around the world)... white figures turning grey (effectively black!) through sin has horrendous associations if you're at all thinking in racial categories. Hopefully I don't need to say that that was never the intention. The colour of the stick figures was never meant to communicate race in any way shape or form. But given that those connotations are in some people's minds, what to do about it?

Our current fix is to have Adam and his offspring grow grey horizontal lines (like a prison uniform) when they sin - speaking of the slavery of sin. So...

Screen shot 2013-10-04 at 15.15.15Screen shot 2013-10-09 at 11.28.23Screen shot 2013-10-09 at 11.28.37Screen shot 2013-10-09 at 11.28.05Screen shot 2013-10-09 at 11.27.50

In the original video I kept the sinners grey up until Christ's return. This was deliberate since, until Christ returns, we still have Adam's flesh even though we've received Christ's Spirit. But keeping the prison uniform as Christians is problematic (even though I want to maintain some sense of 'simultaneously saint and sinner')

Also the grey stripes might not be the most aesthetically pleasing image in the world...

Can you think of a better way of representing Adam and his way?


1) The grey stripes are the best way forwards, and we should press on with this option.

2) We should pick a solid colour for the sinners that suits the orange background.

3) Perhaps all the figures should be non-white colours.

4) Perhaps there's another way of representing sinners (apart from shading?)

 What do you think?

 Red Might Actually Work??

Screen shot 2013-10-10 at 14.41.21 Screen shot 2013-10-10 at 14.41.34 Screen shot 2013-10-10 at 14.35.59 Screen shot 2013-10-10 at 14.41.46Thoughts?


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