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The Heart of Evangelism Paperback – February 8, 2005
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About the Author
Jerram Barrs (MDiv, Covenant Theological Seminary) is the founder and resident scholar of the Francis A. Schaeffer Institute at Covenant Theological Seminary, where he is professor of Christian studies and contemporary culture. He and his wife served on staff with L’Abri Fellowship in England for eighteen years. Jerram and his wife, Vicki, have three sons and seven grandchildren.
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Top Customer Reviews
Beyond its tone and basic thrust, another reason for reading this particular work lies in the author's intention and content. Concerned that Jesus and the apostles inform our practice of evangelism, close attention is paid to their instruction and example. Committed to recovering a New Testament pattern of evangelism, the body of this work opens (not unexpectedly) with a study of the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 1:6-11). Its different horizons are discussed, as is what this commission means for our own prayers and daily lives.
Turning from our responsibility to the role of the Great Evangelist Himself, this work makes much of God and the infinite variety of means He employs to draw people to Himself. First, the account of the Ethiopian Eunuch (Acts 8:26-40) is employed to counter any sense of God being reluctant to save. Then, Namaan the Syrian (2 Kings 5), the Widow of Zarepath (1 Kings 17), King Manasseh of Israel (2 Kings 21:1-18; 2 Chronicles 33:1-20), and the author's own testimony (pp.116-125), are all utilized to exemplify the diverse manner in which God works in people's lives.
Having established that God is not reluctant to save, what follows is an investigation of some of the barriers that stand in the way of our working to complete the Great Commission. Barriers within ourselves (like guilt, fear, uncertainty and over commitment), and barriers erected between the church and the world are examined and ways of dismantling them suggested. Furthermore, it is within this context that some of the peculiar stumbling blocks of postmodern culture are treated and a broad means of Christian response outlined.
The final section looks at the principles of communication that characterized the evangelistic ministry of the apostle Paul. Distilled from several Pauline messages delivered in various settings (Acts 13:14-52; 14:8-18; 17:16-31), and focused by the apostle's ardent desire to be all things to all men (1 Corinthians 9:22), the author articulates seven principles which ought to govern our presentation of the Gospel. Combined with the previous section, what these principles really provide is an approach that advances evangelism beyond that of a series of raids on enemy lines and the carpet-bombing of total strangers with memorized Gospel outlines. Rather, having broken down the "Us" versus "Them" mentality, evangelism is once again made to center around the establishing of meaningful relationships and the purposeful, personal communication of the good news.
The obvious fruit of prolonged meditation on the ministry of Jesus and on Paul's endeavor to imitate Christ, this volume represents a biblically grounded, God-reliant and honestly achievable means of practicing evangelism. A satisfying and freeing work, The Heart of Evangelism, shows the evangelistic task to be something we engage in in partnership with God and in reliance on His grace. It portrays our involvement in the Great Commission not as a chore to be `over and done' with, but as an invitation to grow in our relationship with God and man, even as God works through us to reach and bless the lives of others.
The book never mentions ppl's need to be saved from THEIR SINS, about God's judgement, accountability and that ppl can be saved thru faith in Christ alone and never of anything we do or don't do. That through the kindness of God we are led to turn to him and away from everything we know to be wrong.
This book is made up of very short chapters (maybe on 3-6 pages each). I would view this book as a great devotional style book, or one that can be used easily for discipleship and small group settings. There is much to chew on in this book, so slow down and meditate on the nuggets of wisdom Prof. Barrs gives you.
I appreciate Professor Barrs' application of the Lord's command to love widows and orphans by helping the growing number of single parent households in our churches. I agree with Professor Barrs' belief that every Christian should practice hospitality as commanded in Romans 12:13, Hebrews 13:2, 1 Peter 4:9, and many other passages.
This book has given me some good ideas of questions to ask people in various settings. When searching for a pastor, it is helpful to ask a candidates' (former) staff what it was like working for him. If he is difficult to work for, he will likely cause problems with any congregation. Professor Barrs also had good questions to ask new believers about how they came to know the Lord. This reminds me that God often works in a person's life through various means (and sometimes for many years) prior to a person's conversion.