Don Carson: "I do not think I have ever read a book on evangelism that makes me more eager to pass it on than this one--better, that makes me more eager to evangelize than this one."
‘Marks of the Messenger‘ is a helpful and very readable book on evangelism. Here are 10 reflections:
- Who we are as evangelists is as important as the message we share. “I’m convinced that the greatest obstacle to healthy evangelism is pragmatism: “doing evangelism” before we ever think who we are meant to be as evangelists.”
- To share faith means we need to have faith first. “We have not been watchful enough about the conditions of people’s hearts before we ask them to act, because with the right method or program, the condition of a person’s heart isn’t that important.”
- Faithfulness matters more than numbers. “Pragmatic evangelism counts: converts, members, programs, but rarely counts faithfulness to the message or the faithfulness of the messenger…as evangelists we want to be people who are more concerned with our faithfulness in presenting Christ clearly than we are with results.”
- Just because people think they are a Christian, doesn’t mean they are. “Could it be that people have prayed a prayer of commitment to the wrong God or agreed to follow something other than Jesus? Maybe they’ve been led to think that they can take Jesus and mix it with their own way of thinking?”
- We need to confront people with their sin, so they can meet their Saviour. “We want people to see their sin in all its horror, not so they are motivated to “clean up their act,” but so they fall at the feet of Jesus knowing that he is their only hope. People need to see the depth of their sin so that they come to a fuller understanding of the depth of God’s grace.”
- True conversion is evidenced by a changed life. “[This] guards us from thinking that the only important event is the conversion event. This provides us with a check to our evangelism: if many are responding to Jesus, but few are changed, we can be sure there is something wrong with the message. The ultimate mark of conversion, as I’ve heard Mark Dever rightly say, is not walking an aisle, but picking up a cross.”
- We should talk about God’s love, but not assume that people understand it. “The lenses of culture distort the concept of love. As a result, the love popularly ascribed to God is often not truly biblical love. When we speak to the culture about God’s love, we need to be sure we’re talking about the same thing.”
- We must call people to respond to the gospel. “We tend to hate putting people on the spot, but the gospel is not really the gospel without letting people know that a response is required.”
- Our love for one another is proof of our discipleship. “…as Mark Dever says, “Christian proclamation might make the gospel audible, but Christians living together in local congregations make the gospel visible. The church is the gospel made visible.”
- Sharing the gospel is a privilege that God enables us to enjoy! “I am fully convinced that if I had not run into Basanta behind those plastic chairs, God would have made sure some other Christian with the gospel on their heart would have, but I am so grateful that I didn’t miss the opportunity.”
I commend ‘Marks of the Messenger‘ to you. What other books on evangelism would you recommend?