Tuesday, February 22, 2011

GospelEPIC (or Something Like That)

I am in Nashville today for a writers' meeting at LifeWay in support of a new gospel-centered adult Bible study curriculum edited by Ed Stetzer and Trevin Wax. Here is a bit from Ed on this work:
... [We] have not yet settled on a name for this curriculum. The working title was originally Telios and we've recently been calling it GospelEPIC. But, we are not 100% sure. So I need your help. Take a look at the description of this curriculum and tell us what you think we should name it. Is GospelEPIC a good choice, or would you suggest something else?


A new curriculum that will provide the basics of a biblical theology in a systematic way over the course of three years through frequent retellings of the overarching storyline of Scripture (in two formats: Creation-Fall-Redemption-Restoration and God-Man-Christ-Response).


1. Deep, but not Dry.

* We're seeking to be theologically robust and yet very accessible to anyone who studies this material. We want to change the definition of "deep" to mean more than obscure Bible facts or practical tidbits for daily living. Instead, by "deep," we mean "going deeper into the gospel and its implications until it confronts the idols of our hearts."

* One of the ways we will succeed at providing curriculum that is deep and compelling is by elevating participants' view of the Scriptures, so that they will subsequently engage the Scriptures faithfully on their own. We understand that how we treat Scripture will influence the way participants study Scripture. Therefore, our desire is to model a text-driven approach to biblical exposition and theology.

2. Christ-Centered.

* We don't want a week to go by without Jesus being present in our lessons. God is the primary actor in the grand narrative of Scripture, and the gospel of Jesus Christ is the climax of this story.

* Though we seek to be Christ-centered, we will not force gospel categories or incorporate the cross into lessons haphazardly. Instead, we hope to approach the Old Testament in a hermeneutically responsible way that follows the model of Jesus on the road to Emmaus: all the Scriptures testify to Christ. We will approach New Testament ethics and commands by seeing them as implications that flow from the gospel announcement of Christ crucified and raised.

3. Story-focused.

* Being Christ-centered naturally brings our focus to the overarching Story that the Bible tells in four parts: Creation / Fall / Redemption / Restoration.

* Many Christians are familiar with certain Bible stories, but they are not always sure how the stories fit together into the Bible as a whole. By focusing on the grand narrative of Scripture, we hope that this curriculum will help us connect the dots and think as Christians formed by the great Story that tells the truth about our world. We also believe this approach will provide a hope-filled outlook on our world because of the future God has promised His people.

4. Mission-driven.

* Telling the story of the Bible is impossible without leading to mission, as the story of the gospel reveals the heart of our missionary God and His desire to save people of every tribe, tongue, and nation.

* Weekly gatherings are not the goal of the mission; they are the means by which we connect with one another and learn God's Word so that we are equipped to love God and neighbor while spreading the good news of Jesus Christ. The goal is not to fill our heads with theological truth but to fuel our hearts with passion to join God on His mission to bring people to Himself. Keeping a focus on how the gospel leads us to mission is a crucial aspect of how we apply the Bible to our lives.

* One way we hope to facilitate a mission-driven emphasis is by encouraging participants of GospelEPIC to collaborate with likeminded churches in carrying out the Great Commission and living according to the gospel's implications. Many times, we consider mission in terms of individual calling. We hope to keep the mission emphasis ecclesiological, so that churches will think of ways they can make a difference locally and globally - proclaiming the truth of the gospel in word and demonstrating the gospel in deed.
I'm very excited and hopeful about what God may do through this work. We are hoping and praying it will bear much fruit, and I am immensely blessed by the privilege to contribute.

If you're a user of LifeWay material -- or even if you're not -- keep an eye peeled for its debut.


David Willy said...


Is there an approximate release date for this curriculum?

Jason said...

I'll be interested to see this when it comes out.

Jared said...

David, it's scheduled to debut Fall of 2012.

Jody Britton said...

what a funny thing for me to comment on (i've never commented here before). but i had to. "epic" is the new "awesome". it's quickly losing it's meaning (or at least the power it was intended to mean). and while The Gospel is in fact the most epic story ever (in the truest sense of the word), the title GospelEpic may be a bit to cliche. Maybe flipping it would be okay .... The Epic Gospel??? But perhaps I'm the wrong person to judge, "epic" is perhaps my least favorite word ever.

Okay, I feel better. :) Sounds like a great book. (maybe even epic!)

Zach said...

"The Gospel Story"
"The Gospel of Redemption"
"The Story of Redemption"
"The Gospel as Story"
"The Gospel of Scripture"
"The Gospel of the Scriptures"

"The Awesome Gospel of Awesomeness"

Those all might sound too general, save the last one.