[Table of Contents] [Appendix D: Insights Into Islam]
The Way of Righteousness: Appendix C
The Teaching Method
"Line upon line"
A preschool teacher does not start her students with x2 + 2x + 1 = (x + 1) 2. She begins with 1 apple + 1 apple = 2 apples. Her goal is to lay a foundation upon which her little pupils can build. Similarly, God's revelation to the children of Adam is progressive, "precept upon precept, line upon line ... here a little, there a little." (Isaiah 28:10) God's Book begins with "In the beginning God" and goes on to reveal His complex Person and His categorical plan by which He can count sinners as righteous.
The Way of Righteousness radio series presents the message of God's prophets in consecutive order. Through the narratives of the people, patriarchs and prophets of the Holy Scriptures, listeners can discover for themselves God's uncompromising system of forgiveness - how He has provided a way by which the fallen children of Adam can be delivered from sin's curse and restored to happy fellowship with their Creator.
Taking into consideration the Muslim's understanding of God and the prophets, this series employs a "modified chronological approach" - carefully drawing from all the Scriptures as it proceeds through them chronologically. The lessons put a premium on repetition, especially since many listeners may not hear every program. Each lesson begins with a review of the previous one.
Why the Chronological Method?
The Messiah Himself taught the Gospel chronologically. For example, on the day of His resurrection, He said to two of His incredulous followers, "O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! ... And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself!" (Luke 24:25,27)
Similarly, all Muslims should be given the opportunity to hear and understand what the prophets (whom Muslims profess to believe) have written so that they can give an honest answer to the question, "Do you believe the prophets?" (Acts 26:27) An unhurried journey through the Torah, the Psalms, the Prophets, and the Gospel affords them this opportunity.
Like all who are religious, Muslims need time to rethink much of what many have unquestioningly accepted as truth. Teaching from the whole of Scripture can help people to see that when we preach "Jesus Christ and Him crucified" (1 Corinthians 2:2), we are "saying no other things than those which the prophets and Moses said would come - that the Christ would suffer, that He would be the first to rise from the dead, and would proclaim light to the Jewish people and to the Gentiles [which includes all Muslims!]." (Acts 26:22,23)
Another good reason for presenting God's Word chronologically is that the Old Testament stories of the unbelieving nation of Israel and the New Testament stories of the hardhearted religious leaders of the Jews encourage honest self-examination. These stories have caused many to ask, "Is my heart also hard? Will I, like the Israelites, also spurn the message of God's prophets and the Messiah God sent from heaven?"
The best of seed will not germinate in hard, unprepared soil. The "Good Seed" of God's Word can only produce eternal fruit in prepared hearts. The Holy Torah is an effective plough. Remember the rich young ruler who came running to Jesus and asked, "Good Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?" (Matthew 19:16; Mark 10:17) To the crowd, the young man's question seemed good, but not to the Lord. Jesus knew that this religious man had not yet grasped the foundational truths concerning God's infinite holiness and man's utter sinfulness. This self-righteous man imagined that he could earn his way into paradise. (He was like a child holding out a grimy fistful of copper coins to the world's wealthiest man, and asking him, "How many shall I give you that I may inherit your estate?") How did Jesus answer the man? He directed him back to the Torah and the Ten Commandments to show him that he could never, in his own strength, satisfy God's perfect standard of righteousness. There is no "eternal life" for those who think they can merit it by doing some "good thing."
Avoid Unnecessary Offense
In The Way of Righteousness series we strive to define misunderstood terms and use familiar terms whenever possible. For instance, we refer to God's written Word as the Holy Scriptures, the Writings of the Prophets, the Torah, the Gospel ... but rarely do we call it the Bible (Latin for the Book). We do this because many Muslims associate the Bible with Roman Catholicism - a religion that erroneously bases salvation on human achievement rather than on Divine accomplishment.
Being careful with terms does not mean toning down the truth. We seek to avoid unnecessary offense, but never at the cost of compromising the Truth of the Gospel. (Galatians 2:5,14; 1 Corinthians 9:22,23) The methods of presenting God's way of Salvation will vary depending on the hearers, but the essential message remains the same. The Lord Jesus' method of presenting the message of salvation to a religious man like Nicodemus (John 3) was quite different from the way He presented it to the immoral woman of Samaria (John 4). Like their Master, the apostles were sensitive to people's perceptions and prejudices, seeking to lead their hearers from where they were to where they needed to be. (Compare: Acts 2:14-39 with 10:34-43; Acts 17:1-3 with 17:16-31)
The Way of Righteousness is written in a simple, spoken style, suitable for radio. While this English version is not an exact word-for-word translation from the Wolof series (this would make for very uncomfortable reading!), it maintains a similar simplicity of structure and style. This makes for easier translation into other languages. Obviously, the illustrations and Wolof proverbs used in these lessons will need to be adapted to express God's truth effectively in the local culture and language.
These one hundred programs may be presented on a daily or weekly basis. We have been careful not to date the lessons in any way. Each program is approximately fifteen minutes in length when spoken at a normal conversational speed. As a weekly broadcast, the series lasts about two years (100 weeks). When broadcast five days a week, it takes less than five months. These programs, which present the living, powerful, penetrating and never-outdated Word of God, are intended to be broadcast over and over again. Lesson #1 follows #100.
Serve with Green Tea
In addition to radio broadcasts, the audio-cassettes of the lessons can be played for small discussion groups or informal gatherings of men and women (around a pot of steaming green tea with plenty of froth, sugar and mint, of course!). The cassettes can also be lent out or given away like a tract. Even in poorer nations, most taxi drivers, restaurant and boutique owners have cassette players. Record these messages over those old tapes that are collecting dust in the closet and pass them on!
God's Word, Not Ours
In each of these one hundred programs, we present God's infallible Word. If anyone is offended by what is taught, they should talk to God about it, since it is His Word, not ours. In teaching God's truth, we have not used the mechanical-academic-apologetic approach so much as the "God's-Word-is-a-Lion-and-will-defend-itself" approach. When handling the living Word of the living God - the best defense is a good offense. To hear God's holy Book taught chronologically is to come face to face with the Almighty Himself!
When our Senegalese friends ask us, "Why do you not also teach the Qur'an?", our answer is simple. "In every town and village you have men teaching the Qur'an, but how many are teaching the Torah, the Psalms and the Gospel? Our unique purpose is to make known the Good News of the prophets which you seldom hear."
God's Theme, Not Ours
The theme of God's Word and the theme of these one hundred lessons are identical: "The Gospel of God which He promised before through His prophets in the Holy Scriptures." (Romans 1:2) That is what these lessons are about: the Gospel of God - the righteous way of salvation established by God - the only system of forgiveness that satisfies both God and man. Man's efforts may give him temporary feelings of satisfaction, but they can never satisfy the uncompromising righteousness of God. Only the Gospel satisfies both man and God. "The Gospel ... is the power of God to salvation to everyone who believes ... For in it the righteousness of God is revealed." (Romans 1:16,17)
God's Power, Not Ours
The Scripture says that "the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him!" and that "the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing." (1 Corinthians 2:14; 1:18) These lessons by themselves will never reveal God's truth to a soul. Only the Spirit of God can do that. We count on Him to reveal His way of righteousness to those who listen to these programs. "For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God!" (2 Corinthians 10:4,5)
Our Heartfelt Prayer
God is at work in the hearts of Muslims around the globe. Many are seeking, finding, and submitting to God's way of righteousness. For those continuing in man's way of self-righteousness, we offer to God this prayer penned by the apostle Paul:
"Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God ... is that they may be saved. For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves to the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes." (Romans 10:1-4)