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The Gospel of Mark, Evangelism, and Social Action
Special Short-Course – Complete in Four Saturday Mornings!
Saturday mornings, starting January 14, 9:00-11:00am (4-week series)
Instructor: Chip M. Anderson, M.A.T.S.
Location: Trinity Church, 300 North Benson Road, Fairfield CT 06824
Most Christians believe that evangelism is an important component of the Christian life. Also, many Christians believe that helping the poor is a biblical responsibility. Most Christians do not know that there is a biblical relationship between evangelism and social action. Utilizing the Gospel of Mark, this course will help the student to investigate the relationship between the Gospel we believe and advocacy for the poor.
Christians often confuse application for interpretation, which is commonly seen in the realm of evangelism. They start with the application, namely applying evangelism as a verbal and cognitive activity, and thus, define biblical evangelism as verbal activities, with results that are related to believing. Furthermore, there is a debate over the role of the church in social action (i.e., advocating for and serving the poor) and its relationship to evangelism. Some are concerned that political agendas will replace the Gospel, or social liberalism will undermine the importance of salvation and biblical authority. These concerns suggest the need for developing a biblical theology for evangelism, and having a better understanding of social action’s relationship to the Gospel. This course utilizes an exegetical and a biblical-theological approach to begin developing a biblical theology of evangelism through a study of Mark’s narrative understanding of the Gospel.
Course Goals and Objectives
- The student will learn a programmatic definition of the Gospel as presented by in Mark’s Gospel narrative
- The student will recognize the relationship between biblical evangelism and social action
- The student will begin developing a biblical theology of evangelism, which includes the potential of social action outcomes
- The student will develop a biblical view of social action, which has implications for discipleship, church life, and activities related to evangelism
Course Text Books
There are two recommended books associated with this course; none are required. However, for the four (4) Saturday classes you will need a Bible, a notebook for journaling, and a notebook for class notes.
- Donald H. Juel, A Master of Surprise: Mark Interpreted (Fortress Press).
- Ronald J. Sider, Just Generosity: A New Vision for Overcoming Poverty in America (Baker Books).
Assignments and Evaluation
- § Reading the Gospel of Mark, tracking Old Testament references (20%)
Read each chapter of the Mark’s Gospel, noting each Old Testament reference, read the chapter the quote is found. Keep a log of each Marken chapter read, the Mark text that contains the OT and the OT reference
- § Keep a daily reflection journal (30%)
The journal is to be in three parts:
1) Reflect on what you read in Mark’s Gospel and the Old Testament reference
2) Reflect on the issues of poverty discussed in the course and text book reading
3) Make some comment on how the Church, the Christian community, or you can apply the Gospel to the issues of poverty
For full credit, there must be at least 5 journal entries each week, for a total 20 entries. The entries for each point are to be brief and to the point; no more than two sentences each are necessary. Please clearly mark each entry with 1, 2, 3 to correspond to the three parts of the reflection.
- § A three paragraph biblical-theological statement of the Gospel based on class (25%).
A biblical-theological statement consists of a reflection of biblical texts and interpretation, demonstrating a thematic correspondence to what is being defined and its significance to the church, the Christian, and the world (i.e., society or unit of the world being addressed).
- § Text book reading (20%, an additional 5% for Cnaan’s book)
- § Participation and Effort (5%)
Class Schedule—Two hour sessions, over four weeks (8 hrs)
- Course introduction; Dissonance and potential; Re-ordering or reorientation?
- Wasted Evangelism I: A programmatic understanding of the Gospel (Mark 1:1-3); Wasted Evangelism II—the Mark 4 Parable of the Sower who Sows
- Wasted Evangelism III; Designed for Discipleship: Fishers of men as Agents of Judgment (Mark 1:4-20)
- The Beelzubul Prelude to Judgment: Leadership, and the Missional Capacity of the Church (Mark 3:22ff)
- Idolatry and Poverty—an Apologetic Approach
- Idolatry: A defective social construction of reality
- Widows in Our Courts: The Public Advocacy Role of the Local Congregation (Mark 12:38-44)
- The Significance of Preaching, Casting, and Healing: Some hints toward application