Over the past few years I've been writing and rewriting a book. I'm in the last major rewrite (hopefully) before I submit it for publication. I want to start posting some excerpts from time to time ahead of publication. So, here's an excerpt from the Introduction of the book...
How would you answer someone asking, “What is the gospel?”
No matter how specific and accurate a definition might be, it won’t convey the essence and full truth of the gospel to everyone. A simple answer is—the “Good News.” Yet, someone might ask, “The Good News about what?” A generic evangelicaldefinition might be, “the Good News of salvation by grace through faith.” This is almost word for word out of the Book of Romans.
Perhaps a person is seeking spiritual truth, but has no Christian background. Jesus may be just another teacher or prophet like Buddha or Mohammed or Confucius. Another person may have some Christian background, but is part of a non-orthodox or pseudo-Christian religious group, such as the Christian Science Church or the Jehovah’s Witnesses.
If you begin with, “It’s the Good News of God to all people,” or something like, “Jesus died for our sins,” would this communicate the full truth of the Gospel? Could a person make an informed decision about who Jesus is, what He did upon the cross, and why it is of value to them?
I am concerned that we, the evangelical church, are simply not communicating the gospel very well. Many possible explanations and justifications exist, but the question on my heart is—
Are we, as Christian believers, able to express the gospel to someone else in a simple and clear way?
My wife, Susan, is a great example of a living testimony of Jesus, her Lord and Savior. This is not my own opinion, but of many people who know her. I whole-heartedly agree having seen her lead and encourage many others into the Kingdom of God over the past forty years. She’s not given to much talk, nor is she a big fan of social gatherings. She calls herself a “homebody.”
She’s also not comfortable with “witnessing” or handing out gospel tracts on a street corner in the stereotypical manner. More than once she’s told me, “I don’t have a mind for memorizing Scriptures or remembering where to find certain Bible verses. I only know how to put what I know about Jesus in my own simple words.”
That is my hope for everyChristian believer—to share the truth of God’s Story with anyone, at anytime, and anywhere, in his or her own words—simply and clearly, even without a Bible in hand.
How would you share the Gospel with a non-believer?
Evangelical is a broad term that includes all Protestant groups centered on the Gospel of Jesus Christ, but especially those churches and organizations born out of revivals in the 18th and early 19th centuries. [http://www.theopedia.com/Evangelicalism]
References— Romans 3:21-26; 5:1-2
Sharing one’s faith in public is called witnessing, and may consist of handing out Bible tracts, posters, street preaching, or conversations involving a person’s testimony (faith journey or story).