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‘Book of the term’ review: Honest Evangelism by Rico Tice

Ever read a Christian book? SKG is launching a ‘book of the term’ to encourage us to make the most of the good Christian books out there. If you haven’t – it’s ok – we’ll start together! If you have, it would be great to read this with your fellow SKG friends and discuss together.

The book for this time is about evangelism, and a lot of people have read it and say it’s great. I’ve been wanting to read this book after hearing the author himself being interviewed about his book in the London Men’s Convention 2016 last May. The fact that I put it off until now - now that I must read it to write this book review - shows my laziness in evangelism! I don’t find it as scary to answer objections towards Christianity now (after some input from great resources and speakers in my uni days) but I still find sharing my faith hard. That’s because I don’t even meet people in the first place! But wherever you’re at, this book will offer fresh encouragement or timely reminders.

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I’ll point to three places that particularly struck me:

  1. The coming judgment as motivation (from chapter 2)

It’s not the first time I came across this (I read it also in Don Carson’s The Intolerance of Tolerance), but here’s a quote from American atheist writer Penn Jilette that struck me again:

I’ve always said that I don’t respect people who don’t proselytize [convert]. […] If you believe that there’s a heaven and a hell, and people could be going to hell or not getting eternal life, and you think that it’s not really worth telling them this because it would make it socially awkward… how much do you have to hate somebody to not proselytize? (p.38)

Even from a secular or rationalistic perspective, the fact that there’s judgment alone is enough for us to warn people of it. It is a loving thing to do, though of course the disturbing things about hell force me to talk about it lovingly and sensitively.

  1. All personalities work! (from chapter 6)

I find chapter 6 particularly helpful and creative. Rico Tice names 4 individuals from the Bible of different characters, but whom God used to bring more people to know him. Peter is direct, Paul is a listener and a reasoner, the ex-blind man from John 9 is ‘testimonial’ (i.e. has a testimony that invites more questions than usual), and the woman at the well in John 4 who invited lots of people to ‘come and see’. Therefore the point is, although some of us may have gifts that are more obviously fitted for evangelism, God does provide us a unique personality to speak about Jesus (and to have chances to do so).

  1. Even today! (from chapter 7)

I’m also spurred on by chapter 7. It ends ‘there’ll be someone you could ask [to read the Bible one-to-one with] today.’ (p.93) Sadly, working full-time in a church means I meet much fewer non-Christian friends, and I miss my university days where every other day I could have a chat with someone from a different background. Maybe even in a foreign language!  But I am still spurred on to keep contact with old friends and meet new ones, and ask if they’d like to know a bit more about what I believe by meeting up. Maybe one thing we can do is to talk about different religions in general, and then consider Christianity via reading the Bible together.

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Recently a speaker (Phil Moore from London City Mission) asked us church apprentices in a workshop: Which door is the hardest door to knock during door-to-door evangelism? Well, the first one! But after that, we start to focus less on the anxiety and more on the joy of loving people by listening to them, and holding out the Christian hope to them.

I hope this book will help you have your first Bible conversation/study!

Rico Tice. Honest Evangelism: How to Talk About Jesus Even When It’s Tough. Epsom, Surrey, England: The Good Book Company, 2015. 112 pp.

 

by Brian Mak