Sharing the Good News—with a book!

March 1st, 2011 / 10 Comments

I recently completed co-writing a book that shares the Christian good news. It’s now published and available for purchase. But I’m thinking about ways to get this book into the hands of those that need it most!

When writing this book, my co-author (Bob Luhn) and I wanted something easily understandable. We wanted a short book we could give away to just about anyone.

The message of the book focuses upon God’s love and our response. We think the core of the Christian message has been often downplayed or placed as secondary in Christian attempts to witness. Our book tackles the usual subjects of sin, salvation, and the holy life. But love is the center of it all.

Now that the book is complete, we’re talking with people around the world about using the book where they live. Several African leaders want to use the book, for instance, either in its English version or in a translated version. We’re working with others in countries around the world.

The Good News in Context

What makes our venture different from others, however, is that we want our book to be contextualized.

To do this, we’re asking leaders and translators to be co-authors with us. We want them to add or subtract to the electronic version of the book before printing paper copies. By doing this, these indigenous leaders can shape the book’s content to meet the concerns and theological emphases of their region. We’ll list them as coauthors on the versions of the book they have helped produce.

For instance, some people emphasize the domain of demons and angels in their presentation of the Christian gospel. This is especially prevalent in some regions of Africa. Although we touch on this issue in the book, some co-authors may want to expand the book to address the spirit world in greater depth.

In other parts of the world, however, demons and angels play little role in how God is understood to work in the world. Emphasizing the spirit world in such contexts would actually detract a book’s presentation of the good news of God’s love. We expect co-authors in such regions to delete or not expand discussions of spiritual beings.

While we think the core of the gospel transcends culture, we want to be sensitive to the diverse ways the gospel is understood around the world!

Many potential co-authors with whom we have already talked are intelligent theologians and leaders. But most don’t have access to the kind of financial resources it takes to have large quantities of the books printed. It’s a major need!

We’re Looking for Partners

So… we’re also looking for people who want to “take on” some financial costs for translating and printing copies of the book for particular world regions. A few thousand dollars can get the book translated and about 500 copies of the book printed. That’s super cheap!

We’re looking for individuals and churches to collaborate with us.  Some potential collaborators may already have a contact somewhere in the world they would like to support. Other collaborators may simply want to give funds for whatever project has the greatest need.

We think God can use this little book to bring people to the saving knowledge of the love of Jesus Christ. We’ve already also talked with indigenous leaders who want to use our book as teaching literature.

If you’re interested in collaborating with us in this project, send me a note. I’ll send you a complimentary copy of the book. After you read it, we’ll want to talk about what we might do together. (It probably wouldn’t be wise for me to post my email address here. If you don’t know it, you can find it on the Northwest Nazarene University website.)

I am so excited about this new venture in sharing the good news of God’s love. If you’d like to join in any way, let me know!

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This is a GREAT idea. I think it is brilliant that you are willing to give over this book for others to add to it, shape it, and make it relatable to their context and culture. I will pass this on to some who I know who work in cross-cultural settings.

John W. Dally


This is a very attractive concept. We are so Western thinking it is difficult to use the sources we have to approach people with different world views.

As we have observed, there are many different social/political/scientific views in the US alone. Will there be different versions to approach the person with a traditional background? What about someone into the sciences?  What about the cultures in the US who are truly American but due to family or social backgrounds would be of special focus (Mexican-American, African-American, Asian-American, etc.)?  As a chaplain I could see myself carrying multiple “versions” just to reach the multitude of social groups I deal with everyday.

How do you see this project in view of the diversity of American society?

Jim Millard

Hi Tom,
I enjoyed the Holiness Conference this year. I think that our theological lens by which we view things really does impact how God reveals his self to us especially in the Scriptures. Looking through the lens of God’s sovereignty requires us to set rules, boundaries, and beliefs that may exceed God’s intentions. Looking through the lens of God’s love requires us to invest in intimate relationship with him and allow him to establish guidelines for us individually as well as corporately.

I am looking for resources to use for basic Wesleyan theological training of new Christians and those who might not still know what they believe. Would this book be something for our Church to consider?

I don’t know that I would be of any help contributing to any possible revisions but I would like to know if it would work our setting or if you have other recommendations.

Thanks for your work and your passion.

Jim Millard

Todd Renegar

What a unique and grand idea. Contextualization I would think is the wave of the future in preaching and gospel communication. Let me know how to do this to help you.

Carol VanSlageren

Great Idea,Tom and Bob!  I am willing to help out somehow financially…that’s all I can really do at this point in my “hectic” life.  Contact me.

Thomas Jay Oord

@ Curtis: thanks! Let me know if you find any interest.

@ John: There’s no reason why someone in the West or the U.S. in particular couldn’t decide to adapt our book to a specific context. That would be cool. Wanna be a co-author?

@ Jim: I think this will work well in education settings. Send me your mailing address, and I’ll send you a complimentary copy.

@ Todd: Shall I send a copy to the Bloomington address?

@ Carol: Great! Maybe we can think about a specific world area. I know the Rwanda translator needs some financial help. Whatya think about that?

Paul DeBaufer

Very good. I recall reading some of the chapters here, I was impressed. But to adapt it to fit different cultures, languages, learning styles, ect. well that is shear genius.


You, good sir, are an innovator—pure and simple! What an outstanding concept.  And, insofar as God can be revealed and RIGHTLY understood in different ways, it seems to be a really robust way to implement tangibly the ethos that undergirds the larger emerging-missional conversation.

Teanna Sunberg

Hey Prof – count me in.  I love this idea!  Let’s see what we can do in SE Europe.  Is it possible to get an electronic copy?  Look forward to talking more about this!

Forest Fisk

Hey Tom,
  I think it’s a great idea. We need to contextualize the gospel so that it at least sounds like “good” news to those that hear it for the first time. I’d be up for reading what you’ve written, especially if it’s an electronic copy (it does save on paper and shipping costs etc).

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