It is not a secret that most tracts and gospel presentations are either silly or seriously flawed (if not both). However, many conservative and reformed churches that have traditionally avoided these materials all together do often use a form of evangelism titled Two Ways to Live.
Two ways to Live is a Gospel presentation produced by Matthias Media in Australia. Its website describes the program as, “simply a memorable summary of the Christian Gospel. In six simple points it conveys the key information that the average non-Christian person needs to understand in order to become a Christian.”
Most will encounter Two Ways to Live through their 15-page tract subtitled, “The choice we all face.” But the program also comes in a 1-hour Bible study, a kid’s format, and in resources designed to be given away. The material is well made, avoids theological gaffes common to these types of programs, and is endorsed by D. A. Carson.
Two Ways to Live focuses on the kingship of God, and on our intended role as rulers over the earth. While God designed us to have dominion over the earth and under Him, we have decided to serve ourselves and rule the world ourselves. This has resulted in “the mess” on earth right now.
Jesus came, served the King perfectly, and then died for our sins. Jesus’ resurrection enables us to return to serving the King, God. While the material does not mention the deity of Christ (or of the Holy Spirit), it does highlight the sinless nature of Christ, the imputation of sins, and the resurrection. It presents the gospel as God bringing rebels into the service of the good king.
The website is correct: it is a memorable presentation. While the diagrams may be a bit convoluted (each of the six steps has a unique diagram that contains a crown, an androgynous avant-garde stick figure, and a circle), they do not detract from the presentation.
As tracts go, this one is pretty good. It flows logically from one point to the next, so a believer should not have a problem walking through the whole booklet with someone who knows nothing about the gospel.
However, as a theological system, it does focus too much on a limited aspect of the story-line of the Bible. I assume that it focuses on dominion and kingship because that allows a simple and straightforward Gospel presentation. However this limited focus waters down the gravity of sin and the glory of salvation.
In light of dominion, Two Ways to Live presents sin as the attempt to rule the earth without serving God. But while this is true, it is missing some key points. Lying, lusting, stealing, and just good-old-fashioned moralism are not presented as sin. Likewise, salvation is not presented as an opportunity to glorify God and have peace with him, but as gaining the ability to rule and live with Jesus.
There are familiar tract-like qualities to this presentation. Six points (instead of laws or steps), odd diagrams, and the sinner’s prayer are all here. But, this is better than most tracts. It is theologically accurate (even if not complete), and it is straight-forward about why some people won’t believe. It deals with unbelief, and even explains why some people will not believe what they read in the tract.
One of the strengths of this program is the on-line resources that are available. The tract has the web address in it, and the website is very helpful and goes more in-depth on some issuesAs a pastor who is considering offering this material in our bookstore, I am mindful that there is too much of a focus on kingship/dominion to the detriment of the presentation of sin and glory. But this is not a flaw that undermines its ability to be used in evangelism. It is better than most short gospel presentations that are available, and will probably continue to be the tract of choice for most evangelistic and reformed Christians.