Re-Hearing the Gospel: Toward New Practices for Evangelism and Discipleship

Todd Hunter


The ministry problem addressed in this dissertation is: approaches to evangelism and discipleship are not working well because the works and words of Jesus have been reduced to "going to heaven when you die," instead of "living a Kingdom life now for the sake of the world." Chapter 1 discusses the problem of a disenstoryed, to coin an apt term for this context, bullet-point theology and uses The Alpha Course, as a step in the right direction. Alpha, while not explicitly "storied" in its approach, is far more holistic than an average tract on the Gospel. In Chapter 2, I present a biblical basis for the gift of a changed life, rooted in a Covenantal-Kingdom soteriology. Chapter 3 sets forth a review ofN. T. Wright's works. I suggest they inform evangelism through an understanding of the biblical story. Chapter 4 reviews the works of Dallas Willard and his take on what it means to be a Christian. Chapter 5 shares the insights of Gordon Smith and asks the question: Does a better conversion experience lead to better discipleship? The Conclusion provides a look at a way forward from the truncated, bullet-point version of the Gospel to a re-hearing of the Gospel in its storied form, leading to fresh vision of Christian Spirituality. The project is supported by five appendices that provide fuller descriptions of the concepts discussed in the main chapters.