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It may not be a coincidence that when James Choung, a graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, set out to help college students explain the gospel to their friends, he turned to the most beloved tool in an engineer's arsenal: the napkin diagram. Choung, who now serves as the divisional director for InterVarsity Christian Fellowship in San Diego, has spent his life in ministry on and around college campuses, where Christians today are met with a paradoxical and perplexing combination of suspicion and openness. The Christian Vision Project's big question in 2008 is, Is our gospel too small? Choung is working to persuade skeptical students—and their Christian friends—that the answer is "No."

Can you summarize the "Big Story" that your four-circles diagram is designed to tell?

I call the diagram the Big Story because it sums up the plot points of the larger story in which we live and breathe. The most essential parts are the phrases: designed for good, damaged by evil, restored for better, and sent together to heal. They follow the biblical narrative: creation, fall, redemption, and mission.

As I'm drawing the four circles, I'll tell a story like this: The world, our relationships, and each of us were designed for good, but all of it was damaged by evil because of our self-centeredness and inclination to seek our own good above others'. But God loved the world too much to leave it that way, so he came as Jesus. He took everything evil with him to death on the cross, and through his resurrection, all of it was restored for better. In the end of time, all will be fully restored, but until then, the followers of Jesus are sent together to heal people, relationships, and the systems of the world.

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From Four Laws to Four Circles
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July 2008

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