Evangelism Tool Review: The Story
The Story is a gospel presentation tool designed by SpreadTruth.com. It is a popular tool for sharing the gospel; half a million people have viewed the gospel presentation online and The Story ESV Bible was published by Crossway in 2013. The Story can be accessed online (at http://viewthestory.com) through an app or via traditional printed tracts.
But is it any good? Well, leave it to us here at 9Marks to criticize the way other people share the gospel. I’ll discuss a few strengths and a few eyebrow-raising issues, then give a bottom line.
1. Biblical theology. The Story begins at creation and works its way through to the consummation of all things. This is a very good thing. The gospel is a message that comes to us with a context. The Story does a great job with that context.
2. Penal substitution. The Story gets the heart of the gospel right: on the cross Jesus bore our guilt and the wrath that our sin deserved. A lot of gospel presentations develop “alligator arms” at this point, so it’s nice to see that clearly presented.
1. Visuals. This is the least important quibble, but the pages of the online version of The Story switch back and forth between visual styles in a way that is distracting. Sometimes the colors and bright and the font is crisp, at other points it feels gothic and grim in a way that doesn’t aesthetically connect with what came before it. Just a small peeve, but it feels like a missed opportunity to create something that is visually arresting.
2. Soft-pedaling condemnation. The way The Story talks about the consequences of sin is less than the full truth. The ultimate consequence of sin, it says, is “eternal separation from a loving God, in terrible misery and unhappiness.” And it refers to hell as a “painful separation.” That’s just not good enough. The Bible teaches that sinners aren’t merely separated from God; they are under his wrath. I fear that by soft-pedaling condemnation, The Story’s presentation of the gospel sells God’s holiness short.
While I’m grateful that The Story gets the heart of the gospel right and frames the gospel in the biblical narrative, I won’t be switching over to use it. Instead, I’d recommend Jesus. Who, Why… So What? or Two Ways to Live. Both of those resources do a better job communicating the gospel with sharp edges intact.