Don’t read this book if you want a comfortable, easy-going Christian life! It is aimed particularly at preachers, but its message applies to all of us acting on Jesus’ words: ‘You shall be my witnesses’ (Acts 1:8).
The introduction, ‘The need for evangelistic preaching’, points out how our lives can be so full of Christian meetings and good works that evangelism can be squeezed out, ‘so that we are spending far less time involved with eyeball to eyeball evangelism than we are seated behind our laptops and PCs’ (p.4).
Five brief chapters follow, describing the marks of authentic evangelistic preaching. My favourite chapter is on preaching with love: ‘If our hearts are full of love, we will find that it is hard, though not impossible, to offend people. To keep a heart of love we will need time to be alone with the Lord, and also time with ordinary people’ (p.26).
The final chapter, ‘Evangelistic preaching expects results’, encourages us all to keep on taking the gospel to an often hostile world. Calvin is quoted: ‘The gospel cannot be proclaimed without driving the world to rage’. But, as Carswell reminds us, ‘according to Romans 1:16, the gospel is not an idea to be debated or a philosophy to be discussed, but a power to be unleashed’ (p.55).
The book is full of punchy phrases, jolting the sleepy reader wide-awake! At 60 pages it is brief, so ideal for reading a second and third time.
In these days, when there is so much to discourage us from clear and bold proclamation of the gospel, this book is just the tonic for putting iron into our bones and propelling us out of our comfort zone into the world of lost men and women.
A final quote: ‘Let us remember that God uses the weakest Christian as well as the most powerful evangelist. He uses a tract, a sentence or poster as a tiny seed…’ (p.58).