Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Questioning Evangelism

It has been a while since I read a book on evangelism. I was not disappointed by Randy Newman's publication, Questioning Evangelism. This is right up my street. The author has worked with Campus Crusade for 20+ years so he is an experienced evangelist. He has thought deeply about evangelism in the post-modern age.

This book assumes that you know the objective truths of the gospel and that you have a personal testimony to share. However, the issue of this book is what you then do with this knowledge. Newman notes that bald declaration creates less and less interest in an age that is used to simply shrugging shoulders at you, saying, "That may be true for you, but not for me."

Newman shows that use of good questions can help the shrugger see the presuppositions he holds and whether or not they are reasonable. Newman takes us through conversation scenarios centred around common objections to Christianity showing how questions can help get people a bit deeper into the gospel. Questions such as: why does a loving God allow suffering? why are Christians homophobic? why is the church full of hypocrites? and several others. These are very helpful.

The book also addresses possible hinderances in the hopeful evangelist himself: lack of compassion for the lost, hidden anger at the lost (remember Jonah?), and the tendency to talk when he should shut up. In the the last of these Newman has a useful section on the need to develop listening skills. These days, less is more, as they say.

The risk with this book is that the reader might want to use the conversations as templates to be learned, and the author is wise to this. This approach would be a big mistake. The goal of this book is to get us to think about the real people we meet and show real love to them.

On the downside, Newman's theological perspective comes out in some of the worked-out scenarios, where often God is portrayed as being dependent on man's response. However, this does not detract from the central theme that a questioning approach towards people is better able to engage people in this modern age.

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]