It is our pleasure to present this special issue as the conclusion of our
three-part series on "Man." The presentation is quite different
from previous issues of our journal. It takes the major theological concepts
on the justification
of man discussed over the last six years and applies them to the concrete realities
of the human situation.
The person in the pew, the mother in the home, and the man in the street
want to know how this theology of man and forensic justification applies
life as they find it. And they have a right to know. If we who handle theology
and preach to others cannot "deliver the goods," we deserve to
preach to empty churches. If our theology is removed from life, it is not
worth listening to. Many of us have tried far too long to stuff a world-hating,
dehumanizing view of life down people's throats in the name of Christianity.
A truncated "gospel" about the salvation of some part of human
existence called the "soul-box" has
turned too many off the Christian message. The church desperately needs to
speak to the whole man.
The content of this issue has already been published in a book called This Is Life.1 It
grew out of a Christian "how-to-live" seminar approach developed
in Australia over the last four years. This approach has proved effective in
non-Christians with the message of salvation. It has also given many Christians
a better appreciation for the salvation of the total man. It has been tried
in numerous home seminars and church discussion groups. Clergy from different
are already using This Is Life to broaden their witness and sharpen their effectiveness in making the church a blessing to the community. The letters on the following pages mirror the enthusiastic response which the book has already received from a number of Australian clergymen and others.
Since it has been prepared for general appeal, This Is Life avoids the use of theological jargon. It follows the classical law/gospel approach. The claims of the law in all the relationships of human existence are presented in a practical, down-to-earth way. The presentation assumes that people everywhere are searching for meaning, for purpose, for life as it was meant to be. This Is Life meets them where they are and gives them good advice (law) on how to improve the length and quality of their life. The first steps to life look rather easy. They contain sensible advice and can even be fun. But as the course progresses, participants see that there is no end to the law's demands. Before they know it, they are led to recognize their impossible predicament. Then the gospel comes with its promise of life as a free gift.
At the beginning of the course participants want to add five or ten years to their life and life to their years. But then they see that God wants to add eternity. The presentation closes with suggestions on keeping the faith and living in gospel celebration.
Our purpose in sending you this special reprint of This Is Life is not just for your own edification. We believe it can help make your church an effective center for a new Christian outreach if you follow this simple plan:
1. Read This Is Life carefully and see if you do not agree that it has real possibilities for Christian outreach.
2. Read the little booklet, You Too Can Live, attached to this issue. Then fill out its Life Risk Profile Questionnaire.
3. Introduce the "You Too Can Live" program to the members of your church. Have them fill out the questionnaire so they can each receive a computerized Life Risk Profile and a copy of the book, This Is Life. For an effective revolution in your church, encourage members to study This Is Life in some type of group activity so they will be ready to work.
4. Have your church offer the "You Too Can Live" program to your community.
As you settle back to read This Is Life, we wish you "Happy running—but watch your step when you reach the mighty chasm!" When you finish, we would like to extend the invitation:
Come, let us work together.
1 Chapters two, three and four prepared in consultation with D. Weston Allen, M.B., B.S., F.R.A.C.G.P.; Cedric L. Taylor, M.B., B.S.; and Jack D. Zwemer, B.S., D.D.S., M.S., Ph.D.