Book Review

Honest Evangelism: How to Talk about Jesus Even When It's Tough by Rico Tice with Carl Laferton

Christopher Chelpka
Rico Tice
Thursday, December 31st 2015
Jan/Feb 2016

When we consider our duties in evangelism, most of us have wondered what to say and how to engage people naturally. Rico Tice addresses these concerns in his new book, Honest Evangelism: How to Talk about Jesus Even When It's Tough. Tice's solutions are sensible and practical. Be a good listener. Play to your strengths. Use Mark 8:27-38 to explain Jesus' identity, mission, and call. Remember to check for understanding, agreement, and personal application in your conversations.

Tice's book also grapples with the fear that Christians experience in evangelism. Paul, for example, admits to the Corinthians, "I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom" (1 Cor. 1:3-4a). Tice describes this as "the painline" and says we need to learn to cross it in order to tell people about Jesus.

But crossing the painline doesn't require what we usually think of: mastery of doctrine, rhetorical skill, and unusual extroversion. Paul had these skills and traits, but it didn't make the painline disappear. So how did Paul get the character, conviction, and courage he needed to overcome his fears and proclaim the gospel? By the grace and power of God. As Paul describes it, his proclamation in the midst of so much weakness was "a demonstration of the Spirit in power" (1 Cor. 1:4b).

This is good news for fearful Christians. It means that crossing the painline to tell others about Jesus is possible because evangelism isn't about finding ways to trust in ourselves, but about trusting in God in spite of ourselves. It also means that when we trust the Spirit in the midst of our weakness in order to proclaim the cross, the gospel message will be preached in a fitting gospel mode.

Thursday, December 31st 2015

“Modern Reformation has championed confessional Reformation theology in an anti-confessional and anti-theological age.”

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