The Gospel & Personal Evangelism: Mark Dever

10 Jan

Have you ever wondered how you as a lay person can preach the Gospel to your friends? Or maybe you doubt that evangelism is for you? Perhaps you’re unsure as to what evangelism really involves.

If so, this book is for you. In “The Gospel & Personal Evangelism”, Mark Dever teaches what the Bible says the Gospel is and the methods of evangelism it sets forth. This isn’t a book for pastors, it is a book that all Christians can read. So short you can read it in no time, this book is a great start if you want to see what evangelism is and how you should do it..

The Argument of the Book

Dever confesses that many Christians either do not evangelise or do not do so in the way they should. Therefore, he considers a number of questions in his chapter headings that may help Christians evangelise more effectively. The chapter headings are:

  1. Why Don’t We Evangelise?
  2. What Is the Gospel?
  3. Who Should Evangelize?
  4. How Should We Evangelize?
  5. What Isn’t Evangelism?
  6. What Should We Do After We Evangelize?
  7. Why Should We Evangelize?

Throughout Dever argues that evangelism is not about numbers, and much less about manipulation. Instead, he argues that the task of the Christian is to faithfully tell the message of Christ’s death so that people can come to him and be saved from the wrath to come.

Primary Audience & Purpose

Whilst there is a “Word to Pastors” at the back, the book is written to general church members. Dever is keen that all people in the church see evangelism as their task, and not that of a special few. Dever’s main purpose is to confirm what the Gospel is and to help us to evangelize in a more effective way.

Literary Features of the Book

The book is quite short, making it much more readable for the average member than some others in its genre (i.e. Know and Tell the Gospel). Dever writes in an engaging way, using personal illustrations to punctuate his writing. He is very open about his own struggles and doesn’t succumb to bashing those he thinks are wrong. He states truth in a warm, loving and interesting way that many readers will enjoy.

Is it Biblical?

Dever is constantly trying to point us back to a Biblical reason for doing something. Readers will be glad to know that he defines the Gospel in an orthodox way and fights against some common evangelistic messages that don’t quite get it right (i.e. “The Good News Is Not Simply That Jesus Wants to Be Our Friend”). He also defines evangelism not as imposition, apologetics, social action or personal testimoy but as proclaiming the news of Jesus.

Does it apply truth?

The whole book is thoroughly practical and gives lots of ideas for how to do evangelism and how to get opportunities to tell people the Gospel.

Is it Christ centred?

Absolutely. Mark Dever doesn’t fall into the phony Gospels that some are putting forward, but rather is very definite in the fact that the Gospel is Jesus dying to take the punishment for our sins. Evangelism for Dever is about presenting Jesus and not just winning converts. (Buy it UK)

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