In the Library: Questioning Evangelism

Questioning Evangelism: Engaging People’s Hearts the Way Jesus Did
Randy Newman (Kregel Publications, 2017, Second Edition)

Two weeks ago in our study of 1 Peter, we saw that we have been commanded by God to be “prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you” (3:15). The question posed that morning was this: Are you prepared? Are you ready today to give an answer about Christ, with gentleness and respect?

God’s command to each of us is to be prepared, that’s why this week on the blog I’m glad to share with you a great resource that we have in our MCBC Library that you can check out any time to help you be ready.

In addition to practical and helpful evangelism books like Sharing Jesus Without Freaking Out and Living Proof, and thoughtful and engaging apologetic books like The Reason for God by Tim Keller and C.S. Lewis’s classic, Mere Christianity, all available in our library, today I want to highlight Randy Newman’s book Questioning Evangelism: Engaging People’s Hearts the Way Jesus Did.

Questioning Evangelism helps us do just what 1 Peter 3 requires – it helps us be prepared to defend the gospel. Newman instructs us in “dialoguing the gospel” through the “skill of giving and taking—asking questions and bouncing ideas back and forth” to help engage a more postmodern audience. His goal in this is not to set forth a list of questions and answers to memorize, but instead to equip readers to “know how to think about an issue more than what to think….to develop their minds more than their methodologies.”

More than anything, Newman’s book is a book of questions: “questions that Christians can ask to move the conversation in a Christ-ward direction, questions that non-Christians are asking (either directly or indirectly), and questions that Christians can use as answers.” To give you a sense of those questions, these are the chapter titles for Part 2 and Part 3 of the book:

  • Why Are Christians So Intolerant?
  • Why Does a Good God Allow Evil and Suffering Such as Terrorist Attacks and AIDS? The Ultimate Why Question (Part 1)
  • Why Should Anyone Worship a God Who Allowed 9/11? The Ultimate Why Question (Part 2)
  • Why Should We Believe an Ancient Book Written by Dead Jewish Males?
  • Why Are Christians So Homophobic?
  • What’s So Good About Marriage?
  • If Jesus Is So Great, Why Are Some of His Followers Such Jerks?
  • The Question of Compassion: “What If I Don’t Care That My Neighbor Is Going to Hell?”
  • The Question of Anger: “What If I Really Want My Neighbor to Go to Hell?”
  • The Question of Silence: “When Is It Time to Shut Up?”

While these aren’t the only questions people are asking, these are important questions that people are asking, and Newman’s book prepares us to answer them, readying us to have conversations rather than presentations.

Stop by the library and check it out next time you’re here. If it’s out, check out one of the other books mentioned above. Let’s put in the work to be prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks us about the hope that is in us.

Bert Watts has served since December 2016 as the Senior Pastor at Mountain Creek Baptist Church, where he has been on staff since 2012.

Photo by Jessica Ruscello on Unsplash