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‘Tell me’, said the girl. ‘What do I have to do to become a Christian?’ I didn’t have the faintest idea where to begin.
For most Christians, clearly explaining the gospel is more of a dream than a reality. We feel inadequate and reluctant, but at the same time eager to see our friends come to Christ.
Know and Tell the Gospel deals with all the questions that so quickly come to mind on this subject. Just what is the gospel anyway? Is it my job to explain it to people? What is God’s role and what is mine? Where does church fit in? Why is evangelism so often hard? And how can we train ourselves and others to be involved?
In his characteristically friendly and engaging way, John Chapman provides warm encouragement, insightful Biblical teaching, and a wealth of practical information on evangelism for all Christians. This new edition has been extensively revised and rewritten, and contains up–to–date and evaluation on current resources for evangelism.
A must read for every Christian who is concerned to take the gospel to our lost world.
I know I am not being too cynical in saying that we Christians generally lack evangelistic zeal. I have noticed that I can talk to my friends about almost anything except the gospel of Jesus Christ. There are perhaps two situations where we struggle with evangelism: 1) we do not care about evangelism; 2) we care, but find it extremely difficult. John Chapman’s work is a kind of Christian primer on evangelism. His book is divided into two sections: 1) Knowing Why and 2) Knowing How to tell the gospel. He starts by explaining the gospel, and then considers why evangelism is both the duty and privilege of every person who professes faith in Jesus Christ. In the second part, he offers practical suggestion as to how Christians can start telling the gospel. John’s argument is readable and theologically robust. Having personally been heavily involved in evangelism, he writes from experience and with pastoral sensitivity to the reality that Christians do struggle with this. He gently, yet firmly answers some objections to evangelism and shows from Scripture the necessity of Christians being involved in evangelism. I especially enjoy the examples he draws from everyday life of his or other people’s experience. It lends the book a tone of honesty and sincerity. John is also unafraid to admit his own failings and struggles. Sometimes I hear so many ‘success’ stories of conversions that when I look at my feeble and unfruitful attempts at evangelism, I get discouraged, and perhaps even feel guilty and ashamed; and this might lead to an unwillingness to continue sharing the gospel. So it is an encouragement to read about how God is in charge of causing people to believe in Him, and that our job is simply to truthfully, and lovingly tell people about the great good news of God’s gift of salvation. Another great feature of this book is the comprehensiveness of the scope of its content. John manages to fit a lot of things, including a chapter on the doctrine of election, one on the role of various members of the local church in evangelism, one on the importance of personal evangelism. He also spends a good amount of words noting the importance of personal growth in godliness and that evangelism is not individualistic – having a community of Christians to support and encourage one another through prayer and Bible study is vital, not just for evangelism but for one’s Christian walk. So this is a great book to be reading with a friend or a small group where experiences, both good and bad can be shared, that the group may be collectively built up. What I benefitted most from reading this book is that I was reminded once again of the different facets of the gospel message. I was reminded of human rebellion, of God’s grace and mercy and love, of God’s sovereignty, of God’s plan for His people whom he redeemed from sin and death, and of God’s mission on earth. Also, I was challenged to re-examine and re-evaluate my evangelistic efforts and now find myself spurred to be bolder as I speak to friends about Jesus. I am realistic that I know I will continue to struggle with evangelism; I know that I will be discouraged when I do not ‘harvest’ anyone; I know that there will be the temptation to forget what I have read, or ‘put aside’ evangelism when confronted with an exhausting schedule; so I will find someone to keep me accountable. But more importantly, I will have to apply the gospel to myself daily. I need to see the glories of Calvary, and by God’s grace, I will know nothing ‘except Jesus Christ and him crucified’ (1 Corinthians 2:2). Pick up this book if you want to be captured by the beauty of the gospel, and I hope that by the end of the book, you will be confident that you have known, and can tell the gospel!
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