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The Gospel and Personal Evangelism!

Posted by Scott on November 9, 2007

The Gospel and Personal Evangelism

The Gospel and Personal Evangelism(Review by Jesse Johnson)

The Gospel and Personal Evangelism (by Mark Dever, Crossway 2007)

Mark Dever says that he does not have the gift of evangelism, and that he often misses opportunities to evangelize. In fact, he even fears that if evangelism was graded, he might get an “F.”

This makes him a strange candidate to write a book on evangelism. However, The Gospel and Personal Evangelism is one of the more helpful and encouraging books on the subject. It goes significantly beyond his material on evangelism in his other books,  and I am thankful for his labor here.

To be a good book on evangelism the essential elements of motives, message, and method all must be addressed. Dever covers these in a way that is encouraging and not condemning. It is more difficult to be long and convoluted than concise and clear. While it is easy to be comprehensive, it is often more difficult to be direct. This book is just over 100 pages, and yet it is not lacking. It is clear and compelling.

Dever explains what the Gospel is, who should evangelize, why they should, and why they don’t. He uses appropriate Scripture and yet does not get bogged down in tangential doctrine. His points are illustrated with experiences from his own life, used as examples of both success and failure.

Dever paints a view of evangelism that is Biblical. He sees evangelism as something you live—that is backed by your lifestyle—as well as something that is spoken. He stresses the importance of clearly proclaiming the essentials of the Gospel, and he also stresses the importance of doing this in a conversation. “Don’t tell people something; talk with them. Have a conversation.”

One of the most helpful sections is where Dever discusses the contextualization of the Gospel. This is a word that has been recently hijacked by the emergent church movement, but Dever rescues it. He defines “contextualization” as explaining the Gospel “in such a way as to be understood.” He adds that rightly understood, contextualization should “give the Gospel more bite, not less.”

There is an appendix in the book, a few pages long, that deals with pastors and the particular opportunities and hindrances to evangelism that are unique to their occupation.

All Christians are called to evangelize, even if they are not particularly gifted. Many, if not most, Christians do poorly at this task. This book is an excellent tool to help Christians who recognize their insufficiency to be faithful in our task.

“The call to evangelism is a 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.” This book helps us with our calling.

-Scott bailey 2007

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3 Responses to “The Gospel and Personal Evangelism!”

  1. […] You can read the full story here […]

  2. rjperalta said

    Sounds good.
    Thanks,
    Richard

  3. Acidri said

    Interesting. I do agree with you on a number of issueshere. Just wrote something on my blog on evangelism that you might possibly find thought provoking.

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