evangelism

This tag is associated with 7 posts

Book Review: “Evangelism for Non-Evangelists” by Mark R. Teasdale

ene-teasdaleMark Teasdale’s Evangelism for Non-Evangelists is one of those deceptively simple books. Yes, the title basically describes exactly what its contents are, and yes, it is full of information that will make even those who think they know what it means delve more deeply into the topic.

From the get-go, Teasdale undermines the biases readers may have in regards to evangelism. Not only is there no one size fits all approach to evangelism, but that very notion has done serious damage to efforts made by Christians in the past (10-11). Another challenge is lobbed at American evangelicalism, as Teasdale not only notes that evangelism cannot be reduced to contemporary evangelicalism, but also acknowledges that progressive theologians and others are capable of evangelizing and having worthwhile perspectives as well (17-19). These are the kind of often difficult insights Teasdale offers throughout the book, and for that reason alone the book is worth reading.

But the book is much more than a collection of challenges against one’s preconceptions. As the title suggests but does not fully reveal, it is a work of the heart of an evangelist who seeks to teach others to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ our Lord. This is not an easy task. Evangelism is not merely something that will succeed based on effort, but is Spirit-led. Evangelism takes serious effort on the part of the one wishing to spread the Gospel. Evangelism involves contextualizing not just the teachings of Christianity, but also making sense of why Christianity is important for whatever individual one encounters. In short, evangelism is tough, and more complex than many may realize.

Fear not, however, as Teasdale provides many practical insights to help those interested in evangelizing to learn how to become more effective evangelists, though it will take time. Although a summary of these points will sound overly basic (i.e. “get to know the individual”), Teasdale’s points are presented succinctly but in ways that I think most readers will benefit from.

Evangelism for Non-Evangelists is one of those rare books I can recommend without any reservation. It’s a fast read, but one that demands reflection and re-reading. It has challenges to readers that are on-point without ever being overbearing. It’s a fantastic work that introduces a necessary topic for Christian living.

The Good

+Many practical applications
+Goes beyond American evangelical tradition
+Full of insights into the practice of evangelism

The Bad

-None

Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the publisher. I was not obligated to provide any specific kind of feedback whatsoever. 

Links

Be sure to check out the page for this site on Facebook and Twitter for discussion of posts, links to other pages of interest, random talk about theology/philosophy/apologetics/movies and more!

Book Reviews– There are plenty more book reviews to read! Read like crazy! (Scroll down for more, and click at bottom for even more!)

Eclectic Theist– Check out my other blog for my writings on science fiction, history, fantasy movies, and more!

SDG.

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The preceding post is the property of J.W. Wartick (apart from quotations, which are the property of their respective owners, and works of art as credited; images are often freely available to the public and J.W. Wartick makes no claims of owning rights to the images unless he makes that explicit) and should not be reproduced in part or in whole without the expressed consent of the author. All content on this site is the property of J.W. Wartick and is made available for individual and personal usage. If you cite from these documents, whether for personal or professional purposes, please give appropriate citation with both the name of the author (J.W. Wartick) and a link to the original URL. If you’d like to repost a post, you may do so, provided you show less than half of the original post on your own site and link to the original post for the rest. You must also appropriately cite the post as noted above. This blog is protected by Creative Commons licensing. By viewing any part of this site, you are agreeing to this usage policy.

Sunday Quote!- Our Cultural Concepts of Christianity

rgfc-twissEvery Sunday, I will share a quote from something I’ve been reading. The hope is for you, dear reader, to share your thoughts on the quote and related issues and perhaps pick up some reading material along the way!

Our Cultural Concepts of Christianity

I recently finished Rescuing the Gospel from the Cowboys by Richard Twiss. It was a phenomenal, thought-provoking read that I highly recommend. In one section, Twiss argues that:

If self-revelation is the work of Creator and Creator’s engagement with people and nations, then crosscultural communication never occurs in isolation, in a cultural vacuum, but by definition occurs in a crosscultural context. Human messengers are never free from the prevailing cultural influences of their upbringing, worldview values, and sociocultural/political attitudes of their day. (61, cited below)

The point he is making is that humans are tied to their cultural background in such a way that any time we speak to someone from a different context, that becomes a cross-cultural context, no matter how neutral we attempt to be in our understanding. Thus, when applied to missions, it is important to keep in mind one’s own cultural influences and try to avoid imposing those cultural standards onto other cultures. We must not turn Christianity into Christianity + our own cultural understanding and practice of Christianity. Much of the book focuses on how Western culture has been imposed upon Native culture in Christianity as well as how we might break that cycle.

Rescuing the Gospel from the Cowboys is an excellent read that will challenge most readers’ expectations and presuppositions. I highly recommend it.

Links

Be sure to check out the page for this site on Facebook and Twitter for discussion of posts, links to other pages of interest, random talk about theology/philosophy/apologetics/movies and more!

Sunday Quote– If you want to read more Sunday Quotes and join the discussion, check them out! (Scroll down for more)

Source

Richard Twiss, Rescuing the Gospel from the Cowboys (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 2015).

SDG.

Sunday Quote!- We Influence Toward… or Away From Christ

newton-reinke

Every Sunday, I will share a quote from something I’ve been reading. The hope is for you, dear reader, to share your thoughts on the quote and related issues and perhaps pick up some reading material along the way!

We Influence Toward… or Away From Christ

I read through Newton on the Christian Life by Tony Reinke recently (see my review). Before I go any further, I would note this is John Newton and not Isaac Newton. John Newton is the man who wrote Amazing Grace, but his life and influence go well beyond that. Reinke notes that, according to John Newton, we have vast influence even in our everyday interactions with others:

Every day we influence others in one of two directions: (1) toward faith in Christ and eternal glory, or (2) toward rejection of Christ and eternal judgment. (Kindle Location 2801, cited below)

Newton has some insights of his own on how we might best lead towards Christ, and this largely centers around the maturing life of a Christian and trying to live as Christ, for “to live is Christ.”

How is it that our actions are influencing others toward or away from Christ? How might we best live our lives in ways that lead to Christ rather than driving people away from Him? In what ways can we, through the Spirit, live as Christ to the world?

Links

Be sure to check out the page for this site on Facebook and Twitter for discussion of posts, links to other pages of interest, random talk about theology/philosophy/apologetics/movies and more!

Sunday Quote– If you want to read more Sunday Quotes and join the discussion, check them out! (Scroll down for more)

Source

Tony Reinke, Newton on the Christian Life (Downers Grove, IL: Crossway, 2015).

SDG.

Really Recommended Posts 5/8/15- Sola Scriptura, National Day of Prayer, and more!

postI’m pretty excited to offer you, dear readers, another round of Really Recommended Posts this week. These should give you some nice diverse topics to explore! As usual, be sure to let me know your thoughts on the links, and let the authors of the posts know themselves!

A Short Defense of Sola Scriptura– Here is some insight into the defense of the doctrine of sola scriptura against those who would allege that there needs to be some authenticating authority for the books that make up Scripture. What do you think of this argument?

“I can’t help you” – What Should Never Be Heard at Church– The way we invite (or don’t) others into the life of the church matters. What ways might we best provide an environment that welcomes others into our community? Here’s an example of how not to do it.

Beware of Prayer–New Apostles and Prophets on the National Day of Prayer– Some insight into the documents that are being passed around by leadership for the National Day of Prayer. I think this is pretty unfortunate. However, I don’t think this needs to interrupt your own participation in said day. For some insight into spiritual warfare (including the view of “warfare prayer” and the like), see my review of Understanding Spiritual Warfare: 4 Views (and the book itself, of course!).

5 Changes Elementary Sunday Schools Need to Make ASAP– How might we better equip our children to engage with the challenges they will face against Christianity? Here are 5 important points for changing Sunday School to set children up for success.

LOL Interwebz: Putin the Memes Away– Here’s a challenging post on the use of memes, what they do for us (and to us) and the relation of free speech and Christianity.

Really Recommended Posts 5/1/15- Abortion, Earthquake, and Apologetics!

postAnother week, another round of great reading that I bring to you, dear readers! This week, we have a discussion of the Bible and abortion, the notion of “soul vultures” and the Nepalese Earthquake, Free Comic Book Day, the apologist E.J. Carnell, and some apologetics books!

Does Revelation 9:21 Prohibit Abortion?– Is it possible that there is a reference to drugs that caused abortions in the Bible? If so, what does the Bible say about abortion?

Twitter Attack on #SoulVultures and the Nepalese Earthquake– There has been a lot of pushback against Christians who have stated that Nepal needs the Gospel. It’s not as if Christians are not sending aid, but some people have incredibly and viciously attacked Christians for, well, being Christians. Here’s an insightful post on this. The site also has several more posts on the same topic.

Free Comic Book Day!– My friend over at No Apologies Allowed has made a comic encouraging people to get involved in apologetics for Free Comic Book Day. Check it out, and download a free comic!

Remembering E.J. Carnell: Some Reflections of a Great Apologist– I’m not well versed in the works of Carnell, but I have recently had a number of sources I trust cite his work favorably. Here’s a post giving some brief insights into his stance and thought.

Top 10 Apologetics Books– It’s always fun to put together “top ten” lists of favorites. Here, there is a top ten list of apologetics books. I have read almost all of them, and have been edified by many. What are your top ten?

 

Book Review: “To the Ends of the Earth” by Michael Haykin and C. Jeffrey Robinson Sr.

tee-haykin-robinsonThe question of “Why evangelize?” is one which is often leveled against Calvinism. After all, it is reasoned, if people are fore-ordained to be elect or one of the damned, then why bother to go out and evangelize them? Interestingly, this is a charge which I think may be leveled against virtually any view of foreknowledge, so the Calvinist answers given in To the Ends of the Earth: Calvin’s Missional Vision and Legacy have relevance for those of other backgrounds (like me, a Lutheran).

Contents

The book begins with a survey of the arguments made to suggest that Calvinism would not endorse evangelism or makes evangelism pointless. Clearly, the charge has come from many fronts throughout the history of the church. Then, Haykin and Robinson introduce the primary reason for others’ concerns about Calvinism’s evangelical prospects: that Calvin believed God had ordained some to be elect, and others to be damned, before the foundations of the world.

The authors defend the doctrine, taking on many of the key “all” passages which some argue make explicit the openness of salvation to all individual people. Calvin is brought to his own defense alongside a number of modern Calvinist theologians, ably presenting the Calvinist case for exegesis of these key passages, which basically is that when “all” or “world” is used, it is referring to the breaking open of salvation for all tribes and nations as opposed to merely the chosen people of Israel. The book goes beyond these basics and also outlines how other passages might be understood in this context.

Next, the authors turn to an exposition of Calvin’s theology of missions. Part of this theology was the notion that a Christian life lived was a profound witness to the Gospel. Word and deed were central to Calvin’s missions theology. This missional activity was to be for all people (Kindle location 993). Prayer was also central to Calvin’s theology, as he believed that it might be used by God to bring about change in persons (rather than change in God).

Historical Reformed missions are surveyed in the next sections. Calvin taught many going into France and certain torture and death if discovered, and even made significant efforts towards (ultimately failing) missions into Brazil. These efforts showed that through his actions, Calvin himself valued global missions.

Later Calvinist traditions and persons also demonstrated the urge to missions that the Reformer’s theology compelled. The Puritans sought to evangelize and frequently prayed for the same, though they may not have had the success of other contemporaries. Calvinist Baptists in England feverishly evangelized and planted churches, while also demonstrating concern for global evangelism (Kindle loc. 1420ff). Jonathan Edwards, contrary to some opinions, was also focused on missions by developing his own missional theology and also going on a mission to Native Americans himself.

The book closes with thoughts on “developing missional passion” through observations about Samuel Pearce, a theologian known in his time for fervent prayer and love of missions. Central to Pearce’s theology was the cross; Christ crucified was “his darling theme from first to last”; while the other primary theme of his life was a “passion for the salvation of his fellow human beings” (Kindle loc. 1978).

Evaluation

To the Ends of the Earth is a great, pithy read on a topic that should be of interest to many from a diverse array of backgrounds. It has appeal which goes beyond Calvinism in the way it demonstrates missions ought to be of central importance and also in its justification of missions even in light of the notion that there really do exist an elect people. Of course, the thrust of the book is to demonstrate that Calvinist theology does not undermine the need or motivation for missions. Those interested in that topic will find the most to benefit from the book. Regardless of one’s level of interest, however, the book generates its own avenues for exploration by introducing several little-known figures and historical events for further reading. It is short enough to enjoy in a single afternoon (as I did), yet deep enough to keep one’s mind occupied for some time afterwards.

Perhaps the greatest weakness of the book, however, is its length in that there is little ultimate exposition of the counter-arguments to those who would fault Calvinism with lack of evangelical fervor. That is, readers are often left to tie the arguments off themselves instead of having them drawn out and defended. This, however, is a minor fault in what is an otherwise excellent book, regardless of one’s position on the arguments made therein. It was well worth the read, in my humble opinion.

Links

Be sure to check out the page for this site on Facebook and Twitter for discussion of posts, links to other pages of interest, random talk about theology/philosophy/apologetics/movies and more!

Source

Michael Haykin and C. Jeffrey Robinson, Sr., To the Ends of the Earth: Calvin’s Missional Vision and Legacy (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2014).

Disclaimer: I received a review copy of the book through Crossway. I was not obligated by the publisher to give any specific type of feedback whatsoever.

SDG.

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The preceding post is the property of J.W. Wartick (apart from quotations, which are the property of their respective owners, and works of art as credited; images are often freely available to the public and J.W. Wartick makes no claims of owning rights to the images unless he makes that explicit) and should not be reproduced in part or in whole without the expressed consent of the author. All content on this site is the property of J.W. Wartick and is made available for individual and personal usage. If you cite from these documents, whether for personal or professional purposes, please give appropriate citation with both the name of the author (J.W. Wartick) and a link to the original URL. If you’d like to repost a post, you may do so, provided you show less than half of the original post on your own site and link to the original post for the rest. You must also appropriately cite the post as noted above. This blog is protected by Creative Commons licensing. By viewing any part of this site, you are agreeing to this usage policy.

Really Recommended Posts 9/4

“An Open Letter to Young Christian Apologists” over at “Thomistic Bent.” It is pretty self-explanatory: the post says many things to us youngsters!

http://humblesmith.wordpress.com/2011/08/30/an-open-letter-to-young-christian-apologists/

Geocreationism–a site about old earth creationism, theistic evolution, and refutations of young earth creationism. This site recently had a major, major makeover and you must check it out.

http://www.geocreationism.com/index.html

“You Skim, You Lose!” at InChristus by Paul D. Adams–this post briefly discusses our society’s tendency to blow through things without really reading them and then draws  the discussion to the book of Proverbs.

http://inchristus.wordpress.com/2011/08/31/you-skim-you-lose/

From Jewish Worldview- A Plea to Atheists: Pedophilia is next on the Slippery Slope; Let us turn back before it’s too late–a post which talks about atheism as bereft of ontology for values.

http://www.jewishworldreview.com/0811/atheists_pedophilia.php3

Isn’t it arrogant and immoral for Christians to evangelize? Isn’t it? Find out:

http://thegospeloferik.wordpress.com/2011/09/02/is-it-arrogant-and-immoral-for-christians-to-evangelize/

“Diamonds in the Dust” –an upcoming novel about a woman’s life torn apart in South Africa. It looks quite promising. I’ve been promised a review copy and I’m looking forward to reading it!

http://diamondsinthedust.net/

Was Jesus Real? -Arthur over at Cold and Lonely Truth writes about this common objection to the existence of Jesus with lucidity and, more importantly, sources. Check it out:

http://www.cltruth.com/blog/2011/was-jesus-real/

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