Book Review; The Gospel and Personal Evangelism by Mark Dever



There are many books on the topic of Evangelism. Some are good. Most aren’t and a fair number of them should have never been published. There is clearly a need for more gospel centered books for lay people on personal evangelism and how it relates to the Gospel. Enter Mark Dever.

Mark Dever has gone a long way with this short work to remedy the lack of a quality work on evangelism and the gospel. Dever’s writing is clear and concise, which is one of the many strengths of this work. Because he is able to communicate in an easy to understand way he has allowed this book to be truly useful to the layperson as well as the pastor. This brief but meaty work will serve the church well for years to come.

I would like to start off by pointing out that is book is wonderfully laid out with a beautiful cover design, Crossway continues to please in the ascetics department. As bad as this sounds, if the book doesn’t look interesting most people will be hard pressed to pick it up. Thankfully this publisher spent the time on the outside of this one so that it would match what is on the inside.

The book is broken into seven portions:

  • Why we don’t evangelize?
  • What is the gospel?
  • Who should evangelize?
  • How should we evangelize?
  • What isn’t evangelism?
  • What should we do after evangelism?
  • Why should we evangelize?

In the first section he walks through five reasons why we don’t and then provides 8 remedies to them. In the second section Dever answers the question of, “What is the gospel?” by give three things it is not; is not simply that we are okay, is not simply that God is love, not simply that Jesus wants to be your friend and is not simply that we should live rightly. In the third section he rightly concludes that ALL Christians should evangelize those around them.

The fourth section points out that we must have a balance of honesty, urgency and joy as we share the gospel. The fifth section reminds us that evangelism is not; imposition, personal testimony, social action and public involvement, apologetics, and lastly, results based. I found the section on what isn’t evangelism to be one of the most helpful things I read all year. The sixth section handles what to do after the message has been shared. The last chapter is dedicated to why should evangelize.

Here are some gems I pulled out as I read:

“I think many times we don’t evangelize because we undertake everything in our own power. We attempt to leave God out of it. We forget that his will and pleasure for his gospel to be known. He wants sinners saved. Simply put, we don’t pray for opportunities to share the gospel, so how surprised should we be when they don’t come?”

“Perhaps we need to rebalance our allegiances. Maybe we are too polite to be faithful to God in this area. Maybe we are more concerned about people’s response than God’s glory. Maybe we are more concerned about people’s feelings than God’s. God does not like his truth suppressed, and that is what the non Christian is doing (rom 1:19). Good manners is no excuse for unfaithfulness to God, but we have too often used them.”

“We should stop blaming God. We should stop excusing ourselves from evangelism on the basis that God is sovereign. We should not conclude form his omnipotence that our obedience is therefore pointless. Instead we should read from the word that God will call a great number to himself from every tribe, tongue and nation, which will encourage us in evangelism.”

“The Law of God is the expression of God’s own character. To break out of this law, to live against it is to live against God.”

“One of the early stages of becoming a Christian is, I think, realizing that our problems aren’t fundamentally that we have messed up our own lives, or have simply failed to reach our potential, but that we have sinned against God. And so it begins to dawn on us that we deserve death, separation from God, and spiritual alienation from him now and forever.”

“The truth of the gospel are not yours, in the sense that they uniquely pertain to you and your perspective or experience, or in the sense that you came up with them. When you evangelize you are not merely saying, “This is how I like to think of God,” or “this is how I see it. You are representing the Christian Gospel. You didn’t invent it, and you have no authority to alter it.”

“When our eyes fall from God to humanity, social ills replace sin, horizontal problems replace the fundamental verticals problem between us and God, winning elections eclipses winning souls”

“What do we gain in coming to Christ? We gain relationship with God himself, which includes forgiveness, meaning, purpose, freedom, community, certainty and hope. All these and so much more are found in Christ.”

“It’s important to remember that the message you are sharing is not merely an opinion but fact.”

“In humanity’s rebellion against God, there is no neutrality.”

“As one Puritan said, ‘outside of Christ, God is terrible.’”

“We do not fail in our evangelism if we faithfully tell the gospel to someone who is not subsequently converted; we fail only if we do not faithfully tell the gospel at all.”

I found this work to be the best book that I have come across on the topic of personal evangelism. I commend it to you.
Click here to order your copy of The Gospel and Personal Evangelism

    • fixyoureyes
    • June 3rd, 2009

    Excellent book! Nice review.

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