Monday, May 29, 2017

Questioning Evangelism by Randy Newman

Culture is not the same as it was a generation ago and our evangelistic methods should not be either. Firing off arguments and facts no longer works. Newman proposes doing more listening than talking, more asking than telling. He convincingly argues that this was the method used by Jesus and Paul.

I really like Newman's exploration of how we might pave the way for belief through the use of questions. He includes how we can demolish strongholds of belief, such as that all people are basically good. I like that he encourages us to not water down the gospel to make it less objectionable.

Newman provides many examples of how this process works and includes information on topics people are interested in, such as homosexuality, hypocrisy and anger. He also goes over the skills required, such as presenting the gospel clearly. He does note that we must also be able to defend the gospel, being familiar with evidence. His concentration is still on discussion, however. He gives some good tips on reading the other person's emotional state, perhaps leading to understanding where that person is coming from.

I really like Newman's honesty when it comes to the sticky issue of the problem of evil. “Apparently, God doesn't want us to know why bad things happen to good people because He doesn't tell us.” (109) In the course of discussion, one can always ask the other person of they have a reasonable explanation or one that is satisfying. Questions might progress to the point of trusting God for comfort, hope, and salvation.

This is an updated edition of a book that came out in 2004. Many of his resources are decades old. I would have preferred more recent sources, especially in the chapter on homosexuality. While I felt the message in that chapter was compassionate as well as truthful, more recent sources would give his comments greater weight in our present culture.

I like this book and I recommend it to those who want a good way to engage their friends in discussion about faith. Newman shows how you can share God's message of hope and grace through asking questions. You'll find out more about your friend and perhaps pave the way for salvation.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

Randy Newman is the senior teaching fellow for evangelism and apologetics at The C. S. Lewis Institute in Washington, D.C. He is also an adjunct faculty member at several seminaries. After serving with Campus Crusade for over thirty years, he established Connection Points, a ministry to help Christians present the gospel well.

Kregel Publications 280 pages.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review.

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