Recently Christianity Today asked me to list five books that have impacted me most in terms of evangelism. One will not find here a list of how-to books. Evangelism is not a technique, but a way of being in word and deed that leads people to Christ. Certainly, it involves content, bearing witness to Christ and his claims on our lives, including the apostolic witness (Matthew 10:32-42; Luke 14:25-35; 1 Corinthians 15:1-11). Such claims should humble us and lead us away from a power play posture. Humility should mark our lives, though not humiliation or shame concerning the Gospel’s claims. Jesus’ call to follow him calls the entirety of our lives to account and should lead us to move beyond speaking forth words in a vacuum. Rather, we need to create space with our lives for our views to be heard. This is especially true in our post-Christendom context, where many people are suspicious of Christian claims in view of Christendom’s power moves of the past and its waning and desperate reactions in the present. We Christians need to move beyond trying to take back America from our enemies to laying down our lives for them in view of Christ’s love for them and us. It is not about them vs. us, but about Christ—and his desire to bring us all home. With these points in mind, we must come to realize that the verdict that Jesus is Lord demands evidence in our lives that he is Lord. May we not be the stumbling block to people coming to know him; may they stumble over him so that they can be broken and transformed in relation to Christ and journey home.
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Dr. Paul Louis Metzger is the Founder and Director of The Institute for the Theology of Culture: New Wine, New Wineskins and Professor at Multnomah Biblical Seminary/Multnomah University. He is the author of numerous works, including Connecting Christ: How to Discuss Jesus in a World of Diverse Paths and Consuming Jesus: Beyond Race and Class Divisions in a Consumer Church. These volumes and his others can be found wherever fine books are sold.