The Christian life has three ugly step children. They get lots of lip service, and often little action: Consistent Bible Reading, Prayer – and (the BIG one) Evangelism. We all know we ought to to do them. We all WANT to do them – at least on some level. But if one gets shoved aside more than any other – its the last one – evangelism.
Mark Dever has written an invaluable resource to help us out.
In short, Mark’s book is:
#1 – Encouraging. Encouraging because he both addresses our universal fears and failings, and because he offers simple, clear, Biblical help.
#2 – Clear. You cannot come away from it missing the need to evangelize; being incited to evangelize; being informed as how to evangelize – and above all – getting the Gospel simply and clearly so AS to evangelize.
#3 – Concise. Short can often mean bereft of content. Not The Gospel & Personal Evangelism. Much more more can be said, and has been said. But what is here is the essential meat. The core. Digest this, and you are well fed.
#4 – Practical. This book is not about theory – though underlying necessary concepts are not ignored. But it is all couched in the practical realm of loving people with the Gospel personally.
#5 – Equipping. I cannot imagine anyone putting this book down and not being immensely more confident they can clearly and accurately share the Gospel with others. Or as he puts it in chapter 4: To share HONESTLY, URGENTLY and JOYFULLY. What a great paradigm.
#6 – Necessary. For whatever reason, the Gospel message needs to be repeated over and over even to those of us who believe it – or it seems to grow nebulous, nondescript and inarticulable in a heartbeat. Thus he repeats it any number of ways throughout the book Helping us see it framed and re-framed a number of different ways. None more beautifully or simply than on page 43:
“The good news is that the one and only God, who is holy, made us in his image to know him. But we sinned and cut ourselves off from him. In his great love, God became a man in Jesus, lived a perfect life, and died on the cross, thus fulfilling the law himself and taking on himself the punishment for the sins of all those who would ever turn and trust in him. He rose again from the dead showing that God accepted Christ’s sacrifice and that God’s wrath against us had been exhausted. He now calls us to repent of our sins and to trust in Christ alone for our forgiveness. If we repent of our sins and trust in Christ, we are born again into a new life, an eternal life with God.”
And as He closes that section – “Now that’s good news”. I agree.