Book Review: The Gospel & Personal Evangelism by Mark Dever

the-gospel-and-personal-evangelism

I just finished

I just finished The Gospel and Personal Evangelism by Mark Dever.  It’s a little book (124 pages), packed with useful thoughts and explanations of how and why we should be involved in the activity.

I was really encourage by reading this book.  It’s straightforward, useful, and humble in its tone.  This is not a book about perfecting strong-arm techniques in order to force unsuspecting passers-by into praying meaningless sinners’ prayers.  Nor is it a book aimed at “guilting” Christians to participate in sharing the gospel.  Dever wants to demonstrate to his readers the joy of sharing the gospel.  And he accomplishes this task by presenting a theology of personal evangelism, equipping readers to participate in the task, and remaining truthful and loving in his tone.

 

Chapters

The chapters in the book are:

1. Why Don’t We Evangelize?
2. What is the Gospel?
3. Who Should Evangelize?
4. How Should We Evangelize?
5. What Isn’t Evangelism?
6. What Should We Do After We Evangelize?
7. Why Should we Evangelize?

As these chapter titles illustrate, the book is straight forward, and yet it is full.  For instance, take Dever’s chapter on “What isn’t Evangelism?”  He explains that imposition, personal testimony, social action, public involvement, apologetics, and the results of evangelism are not by themselves evangelism.  They can lead to evangelism, and are not all bad things, but they are not in and of themselves, the gospel.  This is good insight and worth pondering.  Dever helps the reader to think through these issues in an insightful manner.

A Few Quotes I Love

“We are called to love others.  We share the gospel because we love people.  And we don’t share the gospel because we don’t love people.  Instead, we wrongly fear them” (27).

“The gospel, you see, is not simply an additive that comes to make our already good lives better.  No!  The gospel is a message of wonderful good news that comes to those who realize their just desperation before God” (40).

“Saving belief is not mere mental assent, but a believing in – a living in – the knowledge of that news.  it is a leaning on, a relying on” (41).

“There is a common, worldly kind of Christianity in this day, which many have, and think they have enough – a cheap Christianity which offends nobody, and requires no sacrifice – which costs nothing, and is worth nothing” (Dever quoting J. C. Ryle, 42).

“Too often, advocates of relevant evangelism verge over into being advocates of irrelevant non-evangelism.  A gospel that in no way offends the sinner has not been understood” (64).

“Societies are challenged and changed when, through this gospel, the Lord brings individual men and women together in churches to display his character and to pursue their own callings in the world” (76).

“Have you heard it said that the doctrine of God’s choosing some for salvation (the doctrine of election) undercuts evangelism?  It didn’t in Paul’s life.  As he later wrote to Timothy, ‘I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory’ (2 Timothy 2:10” (104).

Conclusion

I like this book enough that I’m going to keep copies of it on our resource table at 24church.  In fact, I’m honestly not sure that I have read a better book on personal evangelism.  You should read it.  I did.  Now by God’s grace I hope to apply it.

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