Friday, January 15, 2010


Haven't seen the movie, 22 year daughter did. This article isn't really about the movie, it's about an idea the movie triggered.

On Jan 12, 2010, Over on Church Matters: The 9Marks blog was an article about the recent news piece concerning the apparent affect Avatar was having on some people. After watching Avatar some people were reporting falling into serious depression or even suicidal thoughts. 9Marks, Michael Mckinley quotes one fan as writing:

"Ever since I went to see 'Avatar' I have been depressed. Watching the wonderful world of Pandora and all the Na'vi made me want to be one of them. I can't stop thinking about all the things that happened in the film and all of the tears and shivers I got from it... I even contemplate suicide thinking that if I do it I will be rebirthed in a world similar to Pandora and the everything is the same as in 'Avatar.' "

Michael Mckinley goes on to say:

"...I think the reaction that people are having is completely reasonable; in fact I am amazed that it takes a movie to make them depressed. The world is a broken place. We instinctively know that it shouldn't be this way. Something has gone wrong.

This is why I really like The World We All Want, a small book by Tim Chester and Steve Timmis.Worldwewant

It uses Biblical Theology to communicate the gospel message. I find it particularly helpful because most unbelievers nowadays don't begin with the assumption that they are sinners. There's no "point of contact" there. But people do know that the world's a broken place, and we all feel a desire for a better world to live in. Hence all the Avatar-inspired depression.

TWWAW begins at that point of agreement and works back (or forward) to the idea of sin, redemption, and restoration. We've used it in evangelistic Bible studies and I've used it one on one with people. It's a great resource."

Mckinley's article arrested my attention and I ordered The World We All Want. Received the book yesterday and read it over my lunch hour over the past two days. Short book. I think the main body of the book was 77 pages long. I really liked it.

The book is written for an audience that has no biblical background. The subtitle of the book was "a course on how the Bible really works."

The booklet contains several "biblical extracts." Usually these are about a page to a page and half of text straight out of the NIV translation of the bible and relevant to the aspect currently under discussion.

Writing from memory, here is how I recollect the flow of the book:

(I found the title and bible passages online here)



God promises the world we all want

Bible Passages:

Revelation 21-22 and Mark 5

A discussion of what kind of world we want, with quotes from Revelation concerning no more tears and no more dying. Kind of an open discussion format also, hoping for a world without sickness and without poverty, without war and famines and tragedies and disasters. A world where we all get along in peace and happiness.



Jesus shows us God's new world

Bible Passages:

Mark 4-5 and Mark 8

Quotes from the gospel showing how Jesus gives us glimpses of "The world we all want." Jesus raising the dead, Jesus healing the sick, Jesus feeding the multitude. Demonstrating that Jesus, himself, has the power to create "The world we all want."



We have spoiled God's good world

Bible Passages:

Genesis 1-3

We go to Genesis, to the garden Eden, where we see what happened there. How sin entered into the world resulting in the GREAT FALL. Death entered and disease and hardship through the rebellion of Adam the representative of all mankind. God made the world very good but we messed it up.



God promises a new world

Bible Passages:

Genesis 12 and 15 and Romans 4

Next to Abraham and the promise God made. A promise of a people who would believe in him and enjoy a land of plenty. I really liked in this chapter how the authors showed that GOD PROMISED A PEOPLE. Not just that God promised "to a people" but that he promised there would be a people. He made this promise to Abraham saying through the seed of Abraham many Nations would be blessed.



We cannot create the God's new world

Bible Passages:

Nehemiah 9 and Ezekiel 36

It must be a world that God will create. To illustrate this we go to the nation Israel. A nation to which were given good laws through Moses. A nation that again and again proved that WE cannot create this world, God must do it. We mess it up. There was some quotes from Nehemiah and others where the long history of Israel is rehearsed.



We can enjoy God's new world because of Jesus

Bible Passages:

Mark 15-16

Here is shown how Jesus made the way for his people to come to this world we all want and how therefore it was good that Jesus died. Jesus died in our place and for our sins. He did what he did as a representative so that all that are in Him will be counted as righteous. Some quotes here from the gospels and Romans 4. Also, that he rose from the grave on the third day having accomplished the work he came to do.

The bible is a book about God from beginning to End. And what he is doing here, he does for his own glory. We are even taken to Eze 36, to see how God said "it wasn't for your sakes but for my holy names sake that I will do this."



Christians are God's people waiting for God's new world

Bible Passages:

Acts 1-2

Here there was an emphasis on the community of believers who comprise his people and how this community should be and is intended to be a foretaste of the World we all want. The gospel is tied in with God's Church and God's purposes that his church should be to his glory. In this chapter we read that "Christians are a people who wait for the world God will create."


I probably haven't done justice to the book here. But perhaps this will provide a flavor of how this book might be used as an evangelistic tool. Part of the methodology used in the book includes intermittent thought provoking questions. And questions to test the comprehension of the reader or student as you discuss your way through the book. Also, the book includes a series of pictures to correspond to each of the seven sections. The pictures were designed simplistically enough that one could draw them up during a course of discussion if so desired. Which is the author's purpose in the picture simplicity.

At the back of the book is about two pages of Leaders Guide material, with suggested methods and web links to talks corresponding to the sections of the book. Talks that could be used straight up as an aid in teaching or simply as a learning device for the leader. The book could be used in a variety of settings including: one on one, home groups, Sunday schools, and especially in these settings as an evangelistic aid. I actually purchased the book with my wife also in mind as a possible help in jail ministry.

I probably enjoyed it most for the reason: the book took me from Genesis to Revelation unfolding the gospel revelation in very simple terms, God-Centered and Gospel rich.


Online Outline of The world we all Want, plus the pdf's for the talks through the chapters are found also at this link. click here

The Article, itself on 9Marks:

A description of the book:

The CNN article:

Blog Post on Avatar, The Gospel According to James Cameron,

Boomer-in-the-Pew's reaction to Avatar:

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