Book reviews for Summer 2018
Honest Evangelism / The Gospel and Personal Evangelism / Gospel Fluency
Honest Evangelism: How to talk about Jesus even when it’s tough
By Rico Tice (The Good Book Company, 2015). 105 pp.
Rico Tice, associate minister at All Souls, Langham Place, London, and founder of Christianity Explored Ministries, has written a book that will help every believer experience the joy that comes from finding lost people and bringing them to Christ. Tice knows that evangelism is hard, and he shares his struggles with it. Evangelism is often painful in a world that is increasingly hostile to Christianity. Tice reminds of us God’s power. Nothing we do or say can give spiritual sight, but we can have hope because God is the one who turns on the lights in people’s hearts (2 Cor 4:6).
The second half of this short book is packed full of practical help. “Two life skills I’ve found to be essential in witnessing are these: ask questions, and chat your faith” (p. 59). He shares two sets of three words to remember as we proclaim Christ (you need to read the book to find out what they are!). We need to know what the gospel is, and we need to remember how to communicate it effectively. “You want someone to walk away after hearing your story having been struck by Jesus, not by you” (p. 80). “Witnessing is a long-term commitment to invest in a relationship, to pray tirelessly, and to speak the gospel over and over again, patiently and persistently” (p. 88).
Tice reminds us that this is “the greatest work there is, because it’s work that is eternally significant” (p. 100). The book includes a list of helpful resources (books on evangelism, the gospel, and apologetics, as well as books and resources to give away).
Reviewer rating is 5 of 5 stars ★★★★★
The Gospel and Personal Evangelism
By Mark Dever (Crossway Books, 2007). 124 pp.
Mark Dever, senior pastor of Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, DC, and president of 9Marks, looks at questions about sharing the good news: Why don’t we evangelize? What is the gospel? Who should evangelize? How should we evangelize? What isn’t evangelism? Dever wants to help churches develop “a culture of evangelism…an expectation that Christians will share the gospel with others, talk about doing that, pray about it, and regularly plan and work together to help each other evangelize” (p. 17).
Evangelism is “telling the good news about Jesus, and doing it with honesty, urgency, and joy, using the Bible, living a life that backs it up, and praying, and doing it all for the glory of God” (p. 107). We don’t fail when people don’t respond; “we fail only if we do not faithfully tell the gospel at all” (p. 112). He has a helpful word to pastors (and missionaries!) in the appendix.
Reviewer rating is 4.5 of 5 stars ★★★★½
Gospel Fluency: Speaking the Truths of Jesus into the Everyday Stuff of Life
By Jeff Vanderstelt (Crossway Books, 2017).
Jeff Vanderstelt, lead teaching pastor at Doxa Church in Bellevue, Washington, and leader of the Soma Family of Churches and Saturate resource ministry, shows us how to speak the gospel fluently. He reminds us that we need to be immersed in the gospel and we need to love the gospel. As we speak Jesus to others, we must do it with grace, wisdom, and love, all of which we can receive from Jesus in limitless supply. “Gospel fluency is developed by being immersed into a Jesus-saturated community…[which] knows and speaks the gospel every day into everything, so that all parts of our lives grow up into Christ and are eventually fully transformed by and submitted to Jesus Christ” (p. 45). Jeff reminds us that Jesus is the hero of our story, not we. He has excellent chapters on “listen and learn” and “show and tell.” This book will help every missionary grow in gospel fluency.