Over the years, I’ve read a lot on the topic of evangelism. When you read a lot of books on one topic over the course of a long period of time it’s often the case that authors repeat each other. There’s nothing wrong with this as long as the repeating is biblically sound teaching that helps the reader grow in their knowledge and understanding of the Scriptures. The topic of evangelism as a whole is one that many Christians would likely rather avoid. It’s tough to be turned down time after time. I know this well since when I lived in Seattle I had a ministry where I intentionally went out to minister on the streets of Seattle to homeless people and others. This is why as I read Honest Evangelism: How To Talk about Jesus even when it’s tough by Rico Tice with Carl Lafterton I was encouraged. I was encouraged to read an author who takes a relational approach to evangelism with the intention of not siting by idly but actually being intentionally in witnessing to the people.
What is unique about Honest Evangelism is the author’s emphasis. While many books focus on employing methods of evangelism to the reader, many of which readers may not be able to do or not work, Rico focus on growing in Christ. He focuses on addressing sin in our own lives with the result that we will want to model and share Christ naturally out of our own growth in Christ. This is a needed message and one the Bible sounds over and over again. In fact, the Apostle John in the Gospel of John takes this approach in his Gospel focusing on the content of the gospel and then how to share that content with people. Honest Evangelism focuses on growing in Christ with a view sharing Christ with others. Along the way, the author focuses on a relational approach to evangelism with the idea of being intentional to share Christ in that relationship. The author also sweeps away the idea that evangelism is a one stop thing where we just “share Christ” with someone and then walk away. Instead, the author calls us to the long haul and to work patiently with people.
Honest Evangelism is a short book at only one hundred and four pages. While the content is by and large solid, I would have liked to see some more development on the need to have a growing knowledge base while ministering to people. I don’t see this as a weakness per say in this book. The author does emphasize the importance of knowing doctrine in order to share the content of the gospel with people. I think many evangelism and apologetics books need to do a better job at being explicit on this point since it can be underemphasized in other Christian literature. The goal of knowing sound doctrine is to model sound doctrine in our lives. In other words, the reason we’ll want to share Christ with people as Rico rightly notes is because Christ is changing our lives. When we’re taking seriously our own growth in Christ we won’t be able to contain the joy that we’re experiencing from the Lord.
Honest Evangelism is a good book for every Christian. We need to be reminded continually as Christians that we have a great ongoing need for Jesus. We need to be repenting of our sin not just saying we’re sorry for it but genuinely turning from it and to Jesus. The end result of that is we will keep short accounts with God. Our fellowship with God will be sweet and unhindered. We’ll have a growing desire for holiness, a hatred of sin, which will result in wanting to share Christ with others who are lost and with Christians who are hurting. This is why I recommend Honest Evangelism. This book is realistic about the struggle to evangelism and it also helpfully points the reader to the finished work of Christ and the empowering ministry of the Holy Spirit. If you’re struggling with engaging in evangelism, I recommend you read this book. If you like books on evangelism you’ll enjoy reading and adding this book to your collection of books on evangelism. This book would also be good for pastors and ministry leaders to read and then pass onto people they are ministering to. I recommend this book and believe those who read it will find practical and useful tools to overcome their fear of evangelism.
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I received this book for free from The Good Book Company for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
Dave Jenkins is happily married to his wife, Sarah. He is a writer, editor, and speaker living in beautiful Southern Oregon. Dave is a lover of Christ, His people, the Church, and sound theology. He serves as the Executive Director of Servants of Grace Ministries, the Executive Editor of Theology for Life Magazine, the Host and Producer of Equipping You in Grace Podcast, and is a contributor to and producer of Contending for the Word. He is the author of The Word Explored: The Problem of Biblical Illiteracy and What To Do About It (House to House, 2021), The Word Matters: Defending Biblical Authority Against the Spirit of the Age (G3 Press, 2022), and Contentment: The Journey of a Lifetime (Theology for Life, 2024). You can find him on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube, or read his newsletter. Dave loves to spend time with his wife, going to movies, eating at a nice restaurant, or going out for a round of golf with a good friend. He is also a voracious reader, in particular of Reformed theology, and the Puritans. You will often find him when he’s not busy with ministry reading a pile of the latest books from a wide variety of Christian publishers. Dave received his M.A.R. and M.Div through Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary.