“I find evangelism hard,” says Rico Tice in his new book Honest Evangelism: How to Talk about Jesus Even When It’s Tough. That just may be the best opening line in a book about sharing your faith. If you’re looking for a book about easy evangelism, this isn’t the one for you.
“I want to be honest,” if you tell non-Christians about Jesus, it will be painful. That’s what the books (other than the Bible) don’t tend to tell you.” On the other hand, there is an increasing hunger for the gospel today as well. We need to be honest about the hostility we’ll face, and also excited about the hunger that's out there. This will keep us both realistic and motivated at the same time.
Tice covers a lot of content in this book. He shares the theological truths that will keep us motivated to evangelize. He examines the single reason why we still won’t evangelize: idolatry. “So for as long as Jesus is not my greatest love, I will keep quiet about him in order to serve my greatest love, my idol.” He gives us a clear outline of the truths we must remember to articulate when we evangelize, and teaches two skills that are essential: to ask questions, and to chat our faith.
Not gifted to be an evangelist? God can still use you. “God wants to harness what he has made you to be in order to reach a messed-up world with the unique combination of characteristics that you are.” Tice explains the different approaches to evangelism based on our personalities, and the strengths of each approach. He also includes a list of useful resources on evangelism, apologetics, and one-to-one Bible study at the end of the book.
Helpfully, Rice concludes the book with a survey of the changes in society over the past few decades, and how this changes our approach to evangelism. This was my favorite chapter. Culture has hardened against Christianity, and we must face the blocks in the way of people coming to faith in Christ that never existed before, including the beliefs that:
- Christians are weird.
- Christianity is untrue.
- Christianity is irrelevant.
We're increasingly seeing a fourth objection: “Christianity is intolerant.”
Today, he writes, “Jesus simply isn’t on the agenda; he isn’t even an option to be considered.” Tice explains the implications of these changes on how we evangelize. This chapter alone made the book for me.
I have not read a short book on evangelism that covers so much ground. It not only covers the necessary theological content, but it also confronts the realities we face as we look at the challenge of evangelism today. It also does a great job of equipping and motivating us to actually evangelize.
Evangelism is hard, and our culture makes it even harder. Honest Evangelism gives theological and practical advice on how to evangelize even in our context and with all our fears. I’m preparing a series on evangelism, and I plan on using this book heavily. I highly recommend it.
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