Biblical Foundations

It is very important to us that you understand the rationale for what you are doing in light of the Big Picture of God’s Word. We want you to understand the ministry of Church Planting among the nations in light of the whole biblical narrative. Missions is not just one of the things that God is doing, and certainly not some “marginal aspect” of what He’s doing. God’s glory among every single ethno-linguistic people group is the goal and theme of the entire Biblical drama!

It is also essential that you be equipped to teach the Truth of the Gospel in a manner that guards against syncretism, is relevant to the hearers’ worldview and context, and ensures clarity of comprehension.

FOUNDATIONAL BIBLE TEACHING

Foundational Bible Teaching is the label we assign to an approach that is comprehensive, concrete-narrative, contextually tailored and chronologically sequenced. Drawing from many years of cross-cultural church planting experience worldwide, we will prepare you to teach God’s Word effectively in contexts where the Scriptures have not been previously accessible.

Westerners are very comfortable speaking, teaching and learning in a conceptual (non-concrete) fashion. Many people groups where you are planning to serve prefer a more concrete and narrative (storying) approach to sharing information and forming values. The principles taught at Radius are geared to help you become a much more effective communicator of God’s Word in a wide variety of contexts.

Especially in the Evangelism phase, Foundational Teaching is very effective in preparing people to understand their need for the perfect sacrifice of Jesus Christ, and for understanding God in His holiness, love and dominion.

“Jesus is NOT the answer… Until the right question is being asked.”

But don’t think that this is just a “technique for those people OVER THERE”! This is the way God Himself chose to reveal Himself to us, and through which many important truths become much more clear to all of us.

You will learn to understand the theocentric unfolding of the Biblical drama in order to:

  • live your life in terms of the Big Picture be overwhelmed by the Person and Purposes of God and serve Him as a love response to the initiative He has already taken
  • identify the consistent, core themes in Scripture that help expose our faulty worldviews, and point us to a Biblical worldview
  • select narrative portions that will be most effective in helping your target audience grasp their helplessness and their desperate need for a Deliverer
  • teach others in a way that is much easier for them to understand and natural for them to imitate

Comprehensive. Rather than starting with stories about Jesus, we begin where God began: revealing Himself as the Creator of the universe. We avoid tossing out stories that lack necessary background, but rather establish the necessary understanding as we move through the narrative portions of God’s Word in a sequenced presentation. When people have an adequate grasp of God’s love, His holiness, their lostness, their inability to approach God on their own merits, and God’s commitment to provide what He Himself has demanded, THEN they are ready to truly understand and highly value the gift of Jesus Christ to die on our behalf and restore us to a proper relationship with God.

Concrete Narrative. Foundational Bible Teaching employs concrete narrative communication rather than abstract conceptual teaching. Although we in the West are accustomed to discussing abstract concepts like “God’s Holiness”, such discussions are terribly vulnerable to misunderstanding and syncretism when taken into contexts where the Scriptures have not been accessible. So instead of saying, “God is Holy”, and trying to define the words, we teach the story of God’s judgment of Lucifer, His expulsion of Adam and Eve from the Garden, and His rejection of Cain and Cain’s offering.

Contextually Tailored. Effective bible teaching requires a teacher who has become a proficient speaker of the target language, with a variety of personal relationships and a solid grasp of the worldview values and deeply-held beliefs of the target community. With this kind of proficiency the church planter will be able to (1) select biblical narrative portions that highlight areas of Truth that need to be understood among those being taught, and (2) predict the aspects inside of those narratives that need to be focused on and clearly explained so as to avoid syncretism and to clearly show the magnificence of God and His work. We don’t arrive with a pre-packaged set of lessons to teach, for we fully expect our growing understanding of the people and their worldview to drive us in shaping our teaching to fit the context.

Chronologically Sequenced. Although chronology is not the prime driver, the true historical sequencing of what God has revealed is often a key feature in making the truth clear, concrete and understandable. Foundational Bible Teaching seeks to honor God’s way of progressively revealing Himself to mankind.

BIBLICAL AND SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY

You will learn to think critically and practically about the essential themes and doctrines that have been presented through the unfolding of the Biblical narrative and to order those doctrines in a systematic way. You will also learn to be particularly aware of your own theological bias and personal Christian experience, distinguishing your familiar forms from the Biblical principles in which they are rooted.

This will give you the ability to:

  • identify and correct any departures from sound doctrine in your church planting context
  • allow and encourage appropriate local, contextualized expressions of theological themes

HERMENEUTICS

You will be given the tools to know how to accurately interpret and apply Scripture, and to lead others to do the same.