I recently received the newest book by Mark Dever, The Gospel & Personal Evangelism. I have to say, at first, I was a little less than excited about the book, but after reading just the first few pages, really appreciated Dever’s thoughts and approach, not only towards evangelism itself, but especially in helping us all think rightly about it.
Dever as a pastor comes out loud and clear in this book. His heart is not so much to provide a system or “canned” approach to help us be more “effective” in making converts, but to show off that evangelism really is simply telling people about God and to discover the joy that lies waiting for us when we get to discuss the greatest news ever – Jesus Christ has made life with God possible.
Dever’s shepherding approach also comes out in the stucuture of his book. Each chapter is developed around a typical (or not so typical) question concerning evangelism, such as Why don’t we evangelize? What do we do after we evangelism? and What is the Gospel? (For the complete Table of Contents go here).
But Dever stays clear of laying on any guilt trip about what most of us feel whenever we hear about another book about evanglism. Instead, Dever points us to the heart of the gospel itself – Jesus Christ in His work done on our behalf. But don’t be mistaken, Dever does get into what may be deemed old rubric, like the need for clarity in what we present when we do evangelize. But none of this is directed at merely adding converts to our churches, or denominational and/or personal lists, but rather the heartfelt love and gratitude for the person we are sharing the gospel with, as well as, and perhaps more importantly, toward God. Or to put it another way, Dever provides a very gospel-centered approach to personal evangelism.
All in all, this is a great book. It will not only serve to re-awaken your own sense of purpose in personal evangelism (as it has my own), but it will also be a valuable resource to put in the hands of people in our congregations as a great way to remind them that sharing the gospel is first and foremost about sharing the news about God restoring our broken relationship with Him and His world, and not about “noses in the pews.” Because of this, I definitely recommend this little book.