Questioning Evangelism (some things that have struck me)

December 1, 2007

A few months ago I ordered Questioning Evangelism by Randy Newman. It arrived recently and I have found it to be full of intelligent fresh ideas on the task of personal evangelism. While I waited for it to come, I was so excited by a chapter extract on Amazon I did a short post about it. Well I’m now almost half way through the book. The writer is concerned about what we can do in evangelism. He is not from a reformed position, but his idea of using questioning in evangelism is quite robust and well put forward in this book. For now, I just want to share some great take-away quotes:

“Responding to a question with a question paves the way for a concept that the questioner might not otherwise consider …Jesus’s conversation with the woman at the well fits this pattern. The woman’s notions of righteousness, sin, and worship had to be challenged before she would accept Jesus’ way of seeing those concepts.”

“On a practical note, answering a question with a question might alleviate some hostility. When people ask questions that are really attacks in disguise, responding with a question reflects the heat. People usually don’t like the temperature and tend to adjust the thermostat accordingly, which helps create a more productive conversation.”

Four lessons from Solomon:

    1. Avoid and argument
    2. Recognise a fool
    3. Remember that people are people. “…conveying content is only a small part of communication process. Being sensitive to a person’s heart comprises a much larger portion” (Prov 20:5)
    4. Remember the power of the tongue. “…somewhere between total silence and non-stop talk lies wisdom”

When to apologise, when to evangelise

October 11, 2007

 Just want to share a snap from TSS‘s post picking up on a though from Dever’s new book:

…I was especially encouraged by these comments in Mark Dever’s new book, The Gospel and Personal Evangelism (Crossway: 2007):

“… practicing apologetics is a good thing, but it’s not evangelism. Answering questions and defending parts of the good news may often be a part of conversations Christians have with non-Christians, and while that may have been part of our own reading or thinking or talking as we came to Christ, such activity is not evangelism … By far the greatest danger in apologetics is being distracted from the main message. Evangelism is not defending the virgin birth or defending the historicity of the resurrection” (pp. 77-78).

And with this shift from evangelism to apologetics comes a subversive shift in agenda. Dever writes,

“Apologetics is defending the faith, answering the questions others have about Christianity. It is responding to the agenda that others set. Evangelism, however, is following Christ’s agenda, the news about him. Evangelism is the positive act of telling the good news about Jesus Christ and the way of salvation through him” (p. 78).

Humanity’s radical corruption

October 6, 2007

My current goodnight book is What is Reformed Theology? by RC Sproul. Its very enjoyable and constantly challenges my dodginess. RC has shown me how RT puts God at the centre, is based on God’s Word alone, is committed to faith alone, devoted to Jesus Christ and structured by three covenants. I am currently reading RC’s first point regarding the tulip and I am yet again blown away. Here is a taste of how I am being refined in theological position:

Romans 3:9-18 “For we have previously charged both Jews and Greeks that they are all under sin …There is none righteous, no, not one. …There is none who does good, no not one.”

…To be under sin is to be controlled by our sin nature. Sin is a weight or burden that presses downward on the soul. In bringing the whole human race before the tribunal of God, Scripture indicts us all without exception, save for Jesus.

…How are we to understand this? Is it not our daily experience that many good deeds are performed by pagan people? The reformers wrestled with this problem and acknowledged that sinners in their fallen condition are still capable of performing what the Reformers called works of “civil virtue.” Civil virtue refers to deeds that conform outwardly to the law of God. Fallen sinners can refrain from stealing and perform acts of charity, but these deeds are not deemed good in an ultimate sense. When God evaluates the actions of people, he considers not only the outward deeds in and of themselves, but also the motives behind these acts. The supreme motive required of everything we do is the love of God. A deed that outwardly conforms to God’s law but proceeds from a heart alienated from God is not deemed by God a good deed. The whole action, including the inclinations of the doer’s heart, is brought under the scrutiny of God and found wanting.

(p. 119, 120)

The Sixth Step – TALK

October 2, 2007

Welcome back to the six steps review. This week we looked at the final step, which is TALK. Surprising, huh, since the series is called “Six Steps to Talking About Jesus”(Matthias Media).

This week’s references were: 1 Peter 3:15 and Colossians 4:2-6. Awesome verses about evangelism. The thrust here is to pray for God to work in opening doors, and then to be able to clearly give a gospel message in an appropriate way, as well as equipping yourself to answer questions and objections. Our heart attitude is also touched on, we need to be gracious and loving, bringing “salt” to the conversation. I thought it was great that we were reminded that a good gospel presentation is all about Jesus and the listener, and where they stand with our holy God, and not about the presenter.

This study gave us opportunity to consider ways to present the gospel, e.g. tracts, personal testimonies, and ways to turn conversations, although we only touched briefly on this aspect.

I loved this study series. I highly recommend it to you if you’re looking for a new perspective on personal evangelism that is scripturally sound.

Gift of the Gospel Saturday

September 29, 2007

Gift of the Gospel

I was searching youtube for a snazzy gospel presentation for this week. I got very frustrated, because I couldn’t find what I thought I needed. I wanted a presentation that showed you your need for a saviour. Here’s what I found, the words of Charles Spurgeon on the blackness of sin:

This isn’t the gospel, this is a taste of where sin leads you. What is sin? Disobeying the law of God. Lying, stealing, blaspheming, hating, killing, making gods of our own.

The gospel is this:

God will one day judge us. He sees that we are without excuse and without hope and he loves us so much anyway that he made a way for sinners to be saved. He came to this earth in the form of a man (Jesus Christ), lived a perfect life, and took the punishment for sin on the cross. When Jesus hung on the cross he paid the price for sin, then he rose again, defeating death and hell. Thanks to this amazing, undeserved gift we can spend eternity in heaven with him if we will repent (turn away from our sin) and trust in Jesus. God’s amazing love in doing this is what draws us to him. His kindness is incredible. Charles Spurgeon in this quote warns us of the peils of hell. He is right, we should be afraid of the wrath of God. Even more, we should be grateful and stand in awe of the amazing gift of life that Jesus offers us.

Six Steps Update: Step 5 – INVITE

September 25, 2007

Today’s step was INVITE. You’ll never guess what it was all about.

Phillippians 2:1-11 was the text today, and focused on how our attitude should be humble and Christ-like when we are reaching out to our community. Look, to be super honest I had a migraine and didn’t really take much in today, but from what I vaguely remember it was scripturally sound. It was good to be reminded that just because someone refuses one invitation doesn’t mean that they will refuse all invitations, so keep pestering them until they tell you to stop.
It concerned me a bit that this step seemed to take us away from talking about Jesus and more into the realm of inviting people to events so that someone else can talk to them about Jesus. Which disappoints me, but maybe I missed something. Like I said, I was only half there. I think it would be really useful to keep a course like this focussed on teaching pepole to talk about Jesus clearly and accurately instead of letting people stay in the zone of thinking evangelism is inviting people to hear message. It can be that, sure, but it is probably more effective when people reach out in love to share the good news at a grass roots level.

John Piper on depression and evangelism

September 23, 2007

I have recently been reading the book When The Darkness Will Not Lift by John Piper. This isn’t going to be a full review of it, so if you would like to read one please visit Irish Calvinist , where you will find a good review of the whole work. I recommend you do so, it’s a good blog.


A few things struck me as I read this book. The most relevant for this blog being what Piper has to say regarding evangelism and the depressed Christian. As anyone out there who has suffered a depressive illness will know, the last thing you feel up to concerning yourself with when you are struggling to make it through the day without losing your grip is sharing your faith with others. This is entirely understandable, but can present you with an opportunity to do something that may aid you in your recovery. As Piper suggests:

“Millions of Christians live with a low-grade feeling of guilt for not openly commending Christ by their words. They try to Read the rest of this entry »