I’ll be honest with you: I haven’t read many books on evangelism. Actually, the sum total of books I’ve read on the subject would be, well, one. Shameful, I know. Just keepin’ it real.
Tell the Truth: The Whole Gospel to the Whole Person by Whole People by Will Metzger is my first (thus far only) foray into evangelistic subject matter and I must say I chose well. It is subtitled A Training Manual on the Message and Methods of God-Centered Witnessing yet it is far more than a mere manual or methodology. Metzger carefully lays the foundation of what comprises the true gospel message, devoting thirty some odd pages to “The Gospel Recovered,” a contrast of the “shrunken gospel” that sometimes marks contemporary evangelism with an overview of the primary points of the gospel:
1. God: our Owner, Father and Judge
2. God centered living: What does God require of us?
3. Self centered living: the truth of sin and disobedience
4. Jesus Christ: the way back to life
5. Our necessary response: come to Jesus in repentance and faith
This then is the “whole gospel” which is presented to the “whole person”–appealing to both emotion and will. This gospel is “wholly by grace,” the foundation for evangelism, offered by “whole people,” ordinary Christians communicating personally to those in need of the free gift of salvation.
According to Metzger,
Grace-centered evangelists have a big view of God’s role in salvation. Therefore
- pray for God’s will to be done, since his purposes are best
- are bold and less fearful of others
- are quietly confident, for God has promised to use them
- are humble, for they know God is taking the lead
- are filled with love, for it is God’s love that motivates them
- are expectant, for God’s purposes will come to pass
- are patient, trusting in God’s timing to bring new life
- are persistent, realizing conversion is a process
- are honest, not hiding any of the hard parts of the gospel
- emphasize truth, not just subjective experiences
- lift up Jesus, knowing he will draw people to himself
- use the law of God to expose people’s inability to save themselves
- wait for the Holy Spirit to give assurance of salvation
That’s the kind of evangelist I want to be, one so overcome with love for my Savior and humble gratitude for His sovereign, saving grace that I can’t help but speak the good news that Jesus came to save sinners! If this is the desire of your heart as well, I think you will find, like me, that Tell the Truth is an important and encouraging resource.