Tell Someone: You Can Share the Good News is a concise guide on the basics of evangelism. Greg's pointed wit makes the book not only educational, but entertaining. I've shared the gospel many times in my new life, but God used the book and recent sermons taught at First Baptist Rogers to convict me of my need to change what I've been doing in evangelism and then do it more. Here are five reasons why you should read Tell Someone by Greg Laurie.
1. To start caring (again). I had to be real honest with myself. I see people every day and unless I had met that person predetermined to share the gospel, I don't think twice about their eternity many times. That's a travesty because in all reality, people we meet every day in chance (or providential) encounters are literally walking into a furnace where they will exist for all eternity. How could I not care? While not designed to guilt the reader into evangelism, the book opens by making clear the need for a complete paradigm shift in how we view the inhabitants of this planet.
2. To answer the basic questions. We all learned about the 5-Ws in grade school: who, what, where, when, and why. Greg answers each of these questions (not in that order) in short, succinct chapters. While this may seem rudimentary, the church clearly needs to revisit these basic questions when research suggests that 95% of professing Christians have never led another person to Christ. Pastors: until those numbers decline drastically, we need to be hammering the basics frequently.
3. To answer the other basic question. We also learned about the H question in grade school - how. About half of the book is dedicated to answering this question in some form or fashion. In my humble opinion, the ability to answer this question is what sets apart a good book from a mediocre one, a great teacher from a good one. Far too often, we preach sermons or read books that encourage us to do something without ever showing or explaining to us how. Greg does an outstanding job walking through examples of how to share the gospel like Jesus did, how to use your personal testimony, and how to "close the deal" when someone wants to give their life to Christ.
4. To have a good time. Let's face it - most of us don't joy read instruction manuals for putting together a piece of furniture. Far to often, books such as these end up being about that dry. Greg adds a witty humor to his book that at times had me laughing out loud. The book is sprinkled with humor, but Greg does not shy away from personally gripping stories from his own life. The combination makes the book almost dramatic.
5. You have a spare hour or two. This book is concise enough that you can learn a lot by sitting down and reading for just an hour or two. In fact, if you clip along pretty quick you'll be done with the book in that amount of time. I read it in a day, and with my schedule I appreciate more and more books that I can digest in that amount of time.
I highly recommend Tell Someone for believers who aren't sharing the gospel at least weekly. It will encourage, inspire, convict, equip, and humor you all at the same time. It is worth your time.
Greg Laurie is the senior pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside and Irvine California. I received a free copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of writing an unbiased review.
Onward, by Russell Moore, is a refreshing analysis at the state of Christianity in America in light of the moral revolution, and a clear and convincing ecclesiology and ethic that the church should adopt. His argument is premised on the notion that the "Bible Belt" is fraying - that Christians are no longer (if we were ever) a "moral majority." He notes that the movement by that name was not a religious movement, but a political one that included people who desired a return to Judeo-Christian American values, but did not necessarily profess Christ or seek to advance His kingdom. His assessment serves as an indictment against a church improperly focused on utilizing state power to make Christian behavior and thought normative when the Bible depicts the gospel as abnormal by the standards of the world. Here are 7 reasons to read this book:
1. To align social, cultural, and political engagement with a proper balance between American citizenship and the Kingdom of God.
In setting forth several pillars of Christian ethic, Dr. Moore superbly ties them back to the Kingdom of God and the need to acknowledge that while the Kingdom is here in colonies and embassies which we call the church, it is not yet here in full. While we should stand against injustice and defend the "least of these," we cannot expect that the law will institute the Kingdom in full. Only Jesus can do that when He returns, so by expecting governments to do it invests them with authority that does not belong to them. Until His return, the church has the keys to the Kingdom, not the state. We cannot admit just anyone to the Kingdom. Scripture has set forth those requirements, and we must be consistent in how we admit people to our churches. As Dr. Moore points out, our vote for who we receive as members of our churches is as or more important than our vote for who should be President.
2. To rediscover the strangeness of the Gospel.
The church no longer exists in a culture that understands it. For many years, church membership was normative. Now, that is not the case, which presents an amazing opportunity. People should not be drawn to the church because of our sameness with the world, but because of our strangeness to the world. We believe in a dead Man coming to life after having born the wrath of God for the sins of all who would believe in and call on Him. That's strange! We also live in a manner consistent with our calling as children of God, which to the world is equally as strange. If we see that the church is supposed to be different, we can begin to cling to what makes us distinct - the gospel.
3. To put the impetus against abortion and other issues on human dignity.
The pro-life movement is another example of political alliances that do not necessarily exclude people outside the faith. The reason the church should stand against abortion isn't because it's the position of the Republican party, but because we are made in the image of God. Every time an abortionist legally kills another child, the image of God is defaced. That said, we must carry the underlying principle into other arenas as well, such as in how we treat immigrants, racial equality, and so forth.
4. To better articulate the need for and parameters of religious liberty and freedom of conscience.
As we become more and more strange to the culture, attacks on religious liberty will grow more frequent and intense. We must strongly defend religious liberty for all people, not just those who believe what we believe. The ability of the state to prohibit one Hindu from practicing his faith is the ability to prevent all Christians from practicing theirs. As such, we must be able to refuse to do those things which Scripture clearly teaches against. We must stop using Scripture to justify the platform of either political party when Scripture leaves the issue open to conscience and pragmatics. Dr. Moore's focus on religious liberty across all areas of the ethical pillars he discussed is superb.
5. To develop a more holistic theology of the family in a culture that is constantly redefining it.
It is clear that culture is trying to redefine family. Dr. Moore provides a holistic theology of the family as part of the mystery of the Kingdom of God that the church must adhere to. While this includes a stand against same-sex marriage, it also includes a stand against adultery and domestic abuse, as well as an active participation in adoption, foster care, and the like.
6. To evaluate the effectiveness of how we engage our culture.
Too often, we mimic the world in how we engage, including the temper tantrums that we think only demonstrate our passion for an issue. Dr. Moore demonstrates from Scripture that our engagement is to be kind and gentle. This is not a matter of weakness, but a matter of strength. We will not persuade others to Christ by yelling at them or degrading them because of their beliefs right now. Instead of talking about them, we need to talk to them. We cannot be merely civil - we must be kind.
7. To grow.
I have grown as a result of reading this book. I left convicted that often times my response to the corporate, cultural sin that we see today has been angry. Instead of loving others and being kind, I've often begun to despise them because of their beliefs. This is not appropriate. I have been refreshed by reading a theologically and biblically solid argument in favor of consistent, biblical, missional, Christian behavior and cultural engagement. I think you will grow too.
A Word of Caution
I can only give the book four out of five stars because Dr. Moore limited his audience somewhat by presenting very complex arguments utilizing a very advanced vocabulary. I have degrees in both theology and law, but I still had to look up some words. I also found myself having to go back and re-read several pages or even an entire chapter in order to feel comfortable that I comprehended the argument. As such, this is far from light reading. If you're up for the challenge, go read this book!
Dr. Russell Moore is the President of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention.
I follow Christ. I have a beautiful wife Megan and three wonderful children, Harrisen, Rebekah, and Carter. I am a candidate for a Ph.D. in ethics from Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, have an M.Div. from Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary and a JD from the University of Arkansas, am licensed to practice law in several state and federal courts, and live in Rogers, Arkansas. I write a blog and produce a podcast. And I do it all that others may know Christ.