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Book Review: Everyday Evangelism – Sharing the Gospel in Conversation

Book Review: Everyday Evangelism – Sharing the Gospel in Conversation

Book Review: Everyday Evangelism – Sharing the Gospel in Conversation

Paul McCauley & David Williamson

Paperback, pp 335

Published by: John Ritchie, 14 Beansburn, Kilmarnock, Scotland

Price: £10.99

ISBN 978-1-912522-45-3

Last year the Barna Group said “in 1993, 89% of Christians who had shared their faith agreed this is a responsibility of every Christian. Today, just 64% say soa 25-point drop”. This is quite staggering considering the Lord Jesus commanded Christians to “go into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mk 16:15).

This survey shows the Western mindset to witnessing and biblical conversion. Our culture repudiates the idea of imposing truth claims on other people; Christians are now viewed as being intolerant, offensive and out of touch with 21st century mores. Christian faith is not to be public or shared, the commission is obsolete, and we may as well pack our bags and go home – or so they say. How then do we fulfil the Lord’s commission in a relevant, biblical and winsome manner? Part of the answer is – read Everyday Evangelism (hereafter EE).

The book starts at a relatable level; the authors both had difficulty in communicating the gospel effectively in conversation. Whilst we can all sympathise with this; EE shows that effective conversational evangelism can be learned and lived out; it is not a gift for the clergy or full-time preacher. EE makes clear that Christian faith is public faith – it’s time to shake off the apathy and find our voices. EE not only produces duty in the mind but devotion in the heart as it communicates a love for perishing souls. “Love and a sense of duty intertwine to make us responsible in this basic disciplineof Christian life” (p 32). These themes are writ large throughout the book.

EE is divided into two sections, with part 1 explaining the art of conversation and part 2 the art of argument. Broadly speaking part 1 is how to speak, part 2 is what to say. The book is very well balanced since communicating the gospel is not just about winning arguments or getting data into another person’s head; rather, our whole demeanour has to communicate Christ-likeness. 

Chapter 2 on “Making Conversation” says “the most difficult part of any evangelistic conversation is making it happen” (p 47); it then provides plenty of practical and biblical examples on how to enter and direct a conversation. Witnessing does not need to be a D-Day encounter where we do battle with people, rather gospel witnessing can be diplomatic and friendly without compromising on the truth–remember the Lord was called the friend of sinners (Lk 7:34, 15:2). The chapter shows that we can be at ease when witnessing, we don’t need to be crippled by fear, nor explode with anger. This chapter encourages believers to be intentional in their witnessing and equips them with many ways in which to start and maintain effective conversation.

Chapters 3 and 5 explain the goal of evangelism is convicting people’s consciences and presenting Christ as the answer. Since Western society rejects the notion of sin, this can be a prickly issue. However, chapter 3 shows that it need not be: “if possible we should lead a person to acknowledge their guilt rather than directly accusing them… it is much more effective when they admit their own guilt than when you assertit” (p 92). The chapter goes on to describe how this looks in real life conversation, and provides plenty of biblical examples to support the idea; whether it was God in the garden asking Adam “where art thou?” (Gen 3) or the Lord Jesus leading the woman at the well to a realisation of hersin(Jn 4). Chapter 5 provides the balance and goal of evangelism by aiming every conversation at Christ and salvation.

Part 2 of the book provides the reader with plenty of evidence to answer a sceptical world; it deals with the main objections toChristianity. Part 2 is helpfully broken down into 5 categories:

  • Scripture
  • Science
  • Suffering
  • Salvation
  • The Saviour

Each section provides evidence that removes obstacles from people’s thinking. The basic objections to Christianity have been thrown around for centuries; the essence of the answers are all found in part 2 of the book. We don’t need to be nuclear physicists in order to refute the big bang, but rather the tools provided amply equip the Christian toanswer queries, and get to the gospel. Part 2 also unmasks the veneer of atheism that characterises your average Joe in the street. In reality we are not going to be witnessing to members of Mensa every day, and most of the common objections your average citizen or friend may have are only being parroted from what they heard on the media. Part 2 of the book removes this veneer of intellectualism, disarming the individual of commonly held misconceptions, and ultimately pointing them to the truth.

EE is eminently practical since all of these skills have been learnt in real life situations; this will encourage and equip you. After reading EE you’ll want to go out and practise your new found skills. The book is built on a solid theoretical foundation; it’s full of references to helpful and scholarly material. The authors have done their homework before tailoring the arguments to real-life situations. EE is also theologically robust as it is anchored in the sovereignty of God (in salvation and evangelism), the guilt of the un-evangelised and the variegated wisdom of God’s remedy.

This book is an excellent resource – it enthuses and equips the believer to evangelise in the workplace, the public square andon the doorstep. I recommend you buy it, read it and practise it. Evangelism can be learnt from a book; but it has to be lived and practised in the real world.

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