Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Heather Kendall - Understanding the Big Picture in the Bible

The first workshop I attended at the OCHEC Conference was regarding the book, A Tale of Two Kingdoms, by Heather Kendall.  I'd been browsing through the Vendor Hall, and picked up the book, then noticed a recommendation by Dr. G.A. Adams, the late principal of Toronto Baptist Seminary.  I figured if Dr. Adams recommended the book, it must be worth checking out.

Rev. David Daniels wrote in ChristianWeek, 

The late Geoff Adams, who served many years as principal of the Toronto Baptist Seminary, saw Kendall's book as a “great tool” for Bible students and readers, noting that it “traces the unfolding history of salvation described in the Holy Scriptures as it presents the antagonism between the Kingdom of Christ and the kingdom of Satan.”

He describes Kendall's book as “lucid and interesting” and written in a “non-technical manner.” Each of the 16 chapters concludes with several “Points to Ponder” making it an excellent choice for small groups, Sunday School classes or personal Bible study. A “Timeline of Key People and Events” and an extensive bibliography for those desiring further study rounds out this engaging treatment of the biblical story.

We chatted with Heather Kendall for a few moments, and she mentioned she was about to do a workshop on the book.  So off we traipsed, following the author, to hear what she had to say.

She began by talking about the importance of understanding the Big Picture in the Bible.  Would our homeschooled teens stand firm when they get out in the world, or would they succumb to peer pressure?  Statistics demonstrate that the majority of Christian youth leave the faith when they leave home.  Heather's desire is to help families teach the truth - the Big Picture - to their children.

God's truth is progressive in nature, and the chronological order is important.  The New Testament explains the Old Testament, and all Scripture is written by God to reveal Himself to us.    An example Heather gave of the difference between the Old and New Testament was in the understanding of the temple.  In the OT, the temple was a physical place that people gathered in to worship the Lord God.  In the NT, the temple is spiritual - believers are the temple of God.

Why Know the Big Picture?

1.  God always tells the truth and always keeps His promises.  In spite of opposition of Satan, demons and unbelievers, you can count on God to get you through to the end.  As we read the Bible and see how God dealt with people, we learn that He is faithful and true, and we learn to not react in bitterness when things go "wrong", but to patiently wait for the end of the trial.

2.  Keep from error.  When you understand the Big Picture, you don't take verses out of context, or form doctrines from small portions of Scripture.  An example Heather gave was that of David, who said in Psalm 51:11, "Do not cast me from your presence."  Some would make the claim that David feared losing his salvation, but that is NOT the case.  Read 2 Samuel 23:5 

“For does not my house stand so with God?  For he has made with me an everlasting covenant,
ordered in all things and secure. For will he not cause to prosper all my help and my desire?

and Isaiah 55:3.  

Incline your ear, and come to me;  hear, that your soul may live;  and I will make with you an everlasting covenant,  my steadfast, sure love for David.

God promised to make an everlasting covenant with David.  There is no fear of loss here.

3.  Urgency for Evangelism.  Understanding the Big Picture, that the entire Bible has one theme -that God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him would not perish, but have everlasting life- makes us want to share this good news with everyone.  They are lost in the darkness of Satan's kingdom, but there is hope through the sacrifice of the Son of God!  People need to know this.

I brought the book home and am using it as a read-aloud with the kids.  So far, so good.  The one thing I have noticed is that Heather sometimes inserts personal anecdotes to illustrate points she is trying to make.  Some of these are not, in my opinion, pertinent to the discussion.  I'm sure she was trying to make the reading more personal and enjoyable, but in my opinion they would have been better left out.


  1. I have been with our church long enough now that I have seen young adults walk/run away from church once they are away from home (school or marriage). My conclusions include looking toward the parents for more than whether they brought the kids to church - do the parents live out the faith at home? There is usually a connection.

    I'm pretty sure I have seen the book in our church library - I will have to look a little more closely at it now that there is a recommendation.

  2. Hi Janet,
    Thank you for recommending my book to others so quickly last year. I hope that you still appreciated it by the time you finished reading it. I gave the workshop again this year, but my introduction was different. I talked about the statistics, which you mentioned. According to the Barna Research Group, four out of five children who have grown up in the church do not attend as adults. After talking about this, I encouraged parents to teach the big picture in the Bible to their children.

  3. Hi, Heather. Thanks for commenting. I am glad you are encouraging parents to teach the big picture in the Bible to their children. Adults need to learn it, too!

    I have been using Professor Grant Horner's Bible Reading Program for nearly a year. I read 5 chapters per day, rather than 10, but I follow his plan (so it takes me two days to do a days' reading according to the program). I can't tell you how much of a blessing it has been to see the connection between Acts and Psalms, or between Hebrews and Leviticus. I have enjoyed my Bible reading so much more since I started it. It helps me to see that there is ONE plan that God is working out perfectly.

    Blessings to you!


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