Recently, I’ve been giving a lot of thought to evangelism. Since my early days as a follower of Christ back in 1994, I’ve always believed in the role and necessity of evangelism – telling people the Good News of Jesus Christ. Several times I’ve taught evangelism courses in a variety of contexts within the local church.
Two things trouble me when it comes to personal evangelism. First, I am troubled by the fear-inducing grip of our pluralistic world that has paralyzed Christians from telling other people good news. When is there any other time in your life that you hesitate to tell someone really amazing good news? You don’t. Second, I’m troubled by my own lack of urgency and intentionality when it comes to personal evangelism, after all, I should know better!
Because of this, I decided to begin reading some books dealing with the issue, and I first picked up this book by Mark Dever. Dever is the pastor of Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington D.C., as well as the leader of the 9marks ministry (www.9marks.org). He is someone I have to respect very much as a sound theologian, solid pastor, and competent leader in the evangelical world.
In this short book, the first thing that struck me was its rather straight-forward approach and thoughts about personal evangelism. In short, there was no overwhelming argument that got me fired up about evangelism… but then it struck me. Evangelism is not a complicated thing. Jesus Christ has made it clear that we are to tell people the Good News. If Jesus’ words on the subject are not a sufficient motivator for evangelism, then nothing will be.
In each of the seven short chapters, Dever answers a question. Here they are:
- Why Don’t We Evangelize?
- What is the Gospel?
- Who Should Evangelize?
- How Should We Evangelize?
- What Isn’t Evangelism?
- What Should We Do After We Evangelize?
- Why Should We Evangelize?
Dever does do a good job of clarifying what evangelism is and is not. He shows how there are no ‘magic’ evangelistic techniques. The converting of dead souls to Christ is preeminently a work of God and not of man. In His divine Sovereignty God invites His redeemed saints to be tools in His hand for reaching the lost – which is an amazing privilege!