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Showing posts from November, 2018

Servants & Stewards

Some Christians look at the men and women recorded in the Bible as "super saints." People whose images are rightly captured on stained-glass windows. Those whose sacrificial service to the King of kings is beyond the grasp of normal, regular, every day Christians. But this is not how the Apostle Paul viewed himself. Paul urged Christians in Corinth to be imitators of him. Twice (1 Corinthians 4:16, 11:1). He said similar things to Christians in his other letters. See, for example, Ephesians 5:1; 1 Thessalonians 1:6, 2:14; 2 Thessalonians 3:7-9; Hebrews 6:12, 13:7; and 3 John 1:11. Paul said this instruction of imitating him and his conduct is something he teaches everywhere he goes:
Therefore I exhort you, be imitators of me. For this reason I have sent to you Timothy, who is my beloved and faithful child in the Lord, and he will remind you of my ways which are in Christ, just as I teach everywhere in every church. (1 Corinthians 4:16-17) Paul traveled. He preached the Gospe…

Secret To An Open Door - A Review

David A. Morel's short book, Secret To An Open Door: Igniting a Passion for the Lost, was recommended to me by a dear friend. I'm glad it was.
This book focus is different than virtually every other book on evangelism that I've ever read.

Greatest Strength Being different isn't always better. In some cases, books are better simply because they are different. I found the difference in approach that was presented by Morel to be a refreshing and edifying angle.

The biblical information that Morel starts with isn't what you might expect. He doesn't start at 1 Corinthians 15 or John 3:16. Instead, the biblical content emphasized is regarding the gospel as a "mystery." Morel spends a good amount of effort to trace the importance of this theme through the pages of Scripture and the life of the Apostle Paul in particular.

Understanding the spiritual aspect of the gospel is lost on many. Morel tries to make this clear. This spiritual understanding requires us…

The Gospel & Personal Evangelism - A Review

Mark Dever claims to have written his book, The Gospel and Personal Evangelism, to help individual Christians and local churches develop a culture of evangelism. He wants them to evangelize more.
For this, he should be commended.

I am eager to endorse this aim. I share it. I think every local church should have the same goal.
Greatest Strengths1. The Scope. As Dever seeks to create a culture of evangelism he brings in details that other authors skip. This book attempts to deal with stumbling blocks that keep people from evangelizing, making the case that evangelism is something for all Christians to grow and participate in, what to do leading up to, during, and after actual evangelism takes place.

2. What Evangelism Isn't. Like other books in the 9 Marks series, Dever attempts to clarify the gospel and evangelism by presenting what it is and what it isn't. Particularly helpful in this little book is the discussion of commonly held views about evangelism that Dever rightly teac…

The Heart Of The Gospel - A Review

Robert E. Coleman's The Heart of the Gospel: The Theology Behind The Master Plan of Evangelism is a systematic theology book. I have a lot of Systematic Theologies on my shelves.
The reason I recommend this book so highly is that Coleman always brings things back to the gospel. When theologians disagree, Coleman points these disagreements out - then shows why both sides still require the same gospel focus. A truly great read.
Greatest Strength Coleman states plainly on page 13 that:
Getting to know this God and glorifying him is the purpose of evangelism. I couldn't agree more.

Knowing God, being known by Him, and making Him known are the great privileges of the Christian. As a result of Coleman's focus, his systematic theology revolves around evangelism serving this purpose. Most systematic theologies treat evangelism as one aspect of their system. It gets its own chapter or two. Not so with Coleman's system. The purpose of knowing God and glorifying Him is a steady …

Marks of the Messenger: Knowing, Living and Speaking the Gospel - A Review

J. Mack Stiles attempts to bring together two topics that are often separated in the minds of Christians. These ideas should be kept together.
Some authors emphasize content. They build on the truth that the gospel is the power of God for salvation to all who believe. If we get the content down, God can use it for His glory.

Other authors emphasize character. Think lifestyle evangelism. They downplay content and build upon the truth that if I speak without love I am just a resounding gong or a clanging symbol. They want Christians to walk the walk, even if they downplay talking the talk.

J. Mack Stiles does the rare thing of actually interacting with both.
Greatest Strength The greatest strength of this short book is its attempt to unite both message and messenger. Stiles attempts to emphasize the importance of actually preaching the gospel in its fullness while also emphasizing the character and conduct of the one speaking these truths.

In doing so, Stiles has brought together the f…

What Is The Gospel? - A Review

Greg Gilbert's What Is The Gospel? little book is packed with helpful information. It delivers on answering the question by which it is titled.Gilbert begins this little book by stating this question should be an easy one to answer. Certainly it is something all Christians should find agreement on, right? A book such as this should "be completely unnecessary. It's like asking carpenters to sit around and ponder the question, What is a hammer?" (Gilbert, p. 15).
But it is necessary.

Gilbert's experience matches my own. If you ask Christians the simple question, "What is the gospel?" you will get varied responses. Many of these responses fall well short of the biblical testimony. Gilbert sets out to bring some clarity and substance to the question.
Greatest Strengths1. The Outline. Gilbert traces the gospel testimony throughout Scripture and looks for an outline to follow, not simply a recitation on basic facts or content. I think this is an element that …

Bypassing The Buffet

The modern church has no shortage of programs. It's a virtual buffet of options. We've got programs for children, youth, young adults, regular adults, senior adults, singles, married, and divorced. We have music programs, motorcycle programs, discipleship programs, addiction programs, prison programs, visitation programs, evangelism programs, shut-in programs, summer programs, winter programs, holiday programs, and so on. Programs for the grieving and for those who are rejoicing.

In-reach, out-reach. You name it, we've got it.

Did I miss your favorite program? Would you leave a church because they did not have it?

I am not trying to be silly. This is serious.

People attend and leave churches because of programs. Even when a local church has a program, it is constantly in danger of losing people to a better program down the road. Many of the growing churches are growing by transfer growth, not conversions of nonbelievers.

The buffet of programs seemingly exists everywhere …