Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Book Review – Honest Evangelism: How to Talk About Jesus Even When it’s Tough by Rico Tice

Honest Evangelism is a book that recognizes that changes in the culture call for changes in the way we communicate the Gospel to the nations. Gone are the days when people come to church to learn about God and gone are the days when most people know Bible basics. Rico Tice acknowledges we are in a culture of growing hostility toward Christianity and his advice to us in being faithful witnesses to Christ are grounded in this reality.

Setting the stage: In the first two chapters Rico Tice explains his own experience of becoming a new Christian, the excitement around sharing the gospel, and the reality of the opposition he experienced in sharing it.

Understanding why we often don’t evangelize: In chapter 3 he gives two reasons we often don’t evangelize. The first is that we plain get discouraged by the opposition and lack of enthusiastic response to our sharing the Gospel. The second is a misplaced love, where what we treasure prevents us from sharing the Gospel. For Rico Tice, it was the approval he wanted from his family more than the pain of rejection he might have to endure by sharing the gospel with his dying grandmother.

Motivations to evangelize: In chapter 4 Rico Tice says remembering three things transformed his willingness and practice of sharing the Gospel: God’s sovereignty, God’s grace and God’s power.

How we do it: In chapters 5-8 we have some real encouragement and very practical help in getting started sharing the Gospel or restarting this practice. Chapter 5 talks about necessary life skills, such as knowing what to say and “chatting your faith”. Engaging someone in conversation about the Gospel Tice says, is being yourself with the gifts God has given you and bringing naturally into the conversation what it was like becoming a Christian: What was I like before? What did Christ do for me? and What difference does he make?  The conversation can be taken further by reflecting on how you are growing in this relationship and what the cross and resurrection mean to you now.
The book ends with a listing by category of some very useful resources to use in more study, resources for sharing and one-on-one bible reading.

I did not find a whole lot new in this book, but I was very much encouraged by it. It is short, concise, quite readable but not trivial and with specific helps. I think the way Tice framed the issue, shared his own struggles and laid out some very practical advice reminded me in a powerful way of the great privilege and responsibility that is ours to testify to what God did and is doing, and to have courage to speak of the danger of not believing. My tendency is to share hard cold facts of who Christ is and what He has done. This book reminded me to be personal and share with others how God is redeeming my brokenness and that he can rescue them from the reality of hell to a life of eternal bliss, just as He is doing for me.