I recently received a copy of J.D. Payne's new book, Evangelism: A Biblical Response to Today's Questions. J.D. is a National Missionary with the North American Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention and an Associate Professor of Church Planting and Evangelism in the Billy Graham School of Missions and Evangelism at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. I often get unsolicited books in the mail. If they're good, I'll say so. If not, I don't blog about it. When another book came in on evangelism I wasn't exactly excited. Perhaps because I've been reading books on evangelism since 1993 and while some are great, most are just okay, often repeating what has been said before. I was happy to find J.D.'s book to be practical, theologically solid, and fresh.
Evangelism was written to "respond to the most commonly asked questions about evangelism." But rather than present new and inventive answers to the age-old questions, J.D. provides clear, biblical answers from a Reformed perspective. And, the questions he seeks to respond to are not only theological, but also the kind of questions all of us ask, or at least wonder to ourselves. Here are just a few of the 33 chapters (questions) dealt with in Evangelism.
What Is the Gospel? (Ch. 2) What Is Conversion? (Ch. 5) What Are We Saved From? (Ch. 8) What Is Election? (Ch. 10) What About Those Who Never Hear the Gospel? (C. 13) What If I Don't Feel Like Sharing the Gospel? (Ch. 20) What If I Make A Mistake When Sharing the Gospel? (Ch. 22) What Should I Do If My Church Is Not Evangelistic? (Ch. 25) How Do I Begin Conversations about Spiritual Matters? (Ch. 28) What Is The Best Way to Witness to Family Members and Close Friends? (Ch. 29) What Do I Do When Someone Says He Wants To Follow Jesus? (Ch. 31) What Do I Do When Someone Says He Doesn't Want To Follow Jesus? (Ch. 32)
The book contains an ongoing conversation between two men, Roberto, and Mark. Their dialog kicks off each chapter as a way of introducing the subject matter as Mark is mentored by Roberto. I know this approach is helpful to many, but I also know that others find this sort of presentation unnecessary. So if you don't need it, skip to Payne's words for the meat of each chapter.
I really like J.D.'s book, and will recommend it to people at our church. If you desire to be the witness God has called you to be, but have questions or anxieties, this book is for you. Check it out.