TITLE: Honest Evangelism
AUTHOR: Rico Tice, Carl Laferton
PUBLISHER: The Good Book Company (105 pages)
One of the great and final teachings of our Lord before His ascension was what we typically refer to as “the great commission.” Here Jesus commissioned the disciples to make disciples of all the nations. In a sense this was a call to go out and share the good news of the righteousness that our Lord has brought to us in His crucifixion. It was Christ’s atoning work on the cross that paid the penalty of sin, placing us in a right standing with the Father for all eternity which is really good news. As we move forward in redemptive history, we see through the power of the Holy Spirit the Early Church proclaimed the good news of this Gospel message to Jews and Gentiles in spite of persecution, oppression, and even to the point of martyrdom.
The great commission that was given to those early saints is the same for us living today. Naturally we are confronted with this great responsibility to evangelize while at the same time very significant questions regarding methodology begin to arise. When we consider the number of obstacles that lay before us in sharing the Gospel it is difficult to fathom a worthwhile attempt. Obstacles such as a culture that holds a precommitment to opposing anything that smacks of Christianity. Such opposition creates a hostile and intimidating environment for sharing the gospel.
For many believers we are excited for what Christ has done for us and about our salvation, but the thought of sharing with nonbelievers does little to warm our cockles. Such a situation is addressed head on by Rico Tice in his latest book Honest Evangelism. Tice, who happens to be a pastor and evangelist at All Souls in London speaks from experience. Tice explains that there are two halves of the evangelistic story. The first half is the opposition I discussed above which has a lot to do with the lack of evangelism that takes place. But there is a second half of the evangelistic story which is so essential for us to understand, namely “There is also an increased hunger… The same rising tide of secularism and materialism that rejects truth claims and is offended by absolute moral standards is proving to be an empty and hollow way to live”(20). Such a condition is endemic within all men. Once we understand this we can better understand the apostle Paul when he says, “I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words… I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified”(21).
To add perspective Tice gives the following points as motivation for evangelism: 1. The glory of Jesus 2. The guarantee of the new creation 3. The grim reality of death Against these realities Tice says, “this is why we talk about Jesus, even though it is tough. This is why it is always worth it. As far a methodology goes Tice encourages a one-on-one personal approach which has very little methodology to it but can prove to be very relational. Tice encourages one to “be yourself. In evangelism use the character of and gifts God has deliberately given you” (83). He explains that “There is no silver bullet in evangelism… But one-to-one evangelism is nevertheless reaping a harvest” (88).
In addition to getting the gospel out we are being relational filling two basic human needs that Christianity meets, salvation and the need for relationship. This is definitely not the hard decisionalism that I was brought up with, a “turn or burn” approach, but rather it is a “long-term commitment to invest in a relationship, to pray tirelessly, and to speak the gospel over and over again, patiently and persistently. It is a journey of gospel conversations” (88).
Obviously there is much that I haven’t covered in this review; I will leave that for the reader to explore. However, in a time when the Gospel of Christ has come up against significant opposition from the culture an honest approach to evangelism will show itself to be the catalyst for making disciples of all the nations.
This book is provided to me courtesy of Christian Focus and Cross-Focused Reviewers in exchange for an honest review. All opinions offered above are mine unless otherwise stated or implied.