After a long hiatus, Friday Books returns with a book that will be available in limited quantities at the church’s Information Center ($10) this Sunday. Pastor Mark Dever’s book on sharing your faith is brief (112 pages) but no lightweight. The Gospel and Personal Evangelism does what in my opinion every book on evangelism should do: spell out what the gospel is (thankfully including repentance and the call to discipleship). On the other hand, it doesn’t offer another canned presentation technique. (Knowing one does help so I suggest the Bridge Illustration, The Gospel Poem, or the Romans’ Road [all available at the Info Center].) And if you want a formula promising, “Do this and that will happen”, you’ll be disappointed. Furthermore, G & PE dismisses any and all psychological pressure or manipulation to “close the sale”. This is a book that simply calls the church to faithfully tell, and let God convert.
G & PE is packed with sound doctrine, common sense, wisdom, and warnings. Warnings because our message contains some hard parts (we’re all sinners); warnings because today just about every deed has a shot at being labelled “evangelism” from delivering food to the needy, to not swearing and showing up for work on time. Warnings because some mistakenly believe that their story of coming to faith, is sharing their faith. Yet in too many instances the gospel story is mysteriously absent in those stories.
Finally, Dever hits the high points of why we tell people about Jesus: obedience, love for people, but especially, love for God.
The call to evangelism is the call to turn our lives outward from focusing on ourselves and our needs to focusing on God and on others made in his image who are still at enmity with him, alienated from him, and in need of salvation from sin and guilt, We bring God glory as we speak the truth about him to his creation. This is not the only way that we can bring glory to God, but it is one of the chief ways that he has give us as Christians, as those who know him through his grace in Christ. …it is one of the special privileges of living now, in this fallen world.