The myriad of these books, and their infiltration into the church, leave those of us that still wet our pants while doing personal evangelism feeling as if we are failures as followers of Jesus. This emotion is only magnified whenever we feel the burden of evangelism for those within our family that do not know Jesus.
We think to ourselves, “If only I were obedient and had the guts and the know how to follow C.S. Lovett’s formula, then my family would be saved”. Or worse yet, we use Lovett’s formula—it doesn’t work as promised and then we wonder why God dropped the ball. No wait. Even worse; we use the magic formula’s and we get somebody in our family to pray a prayer (just to shut us up), and then assume they are good with the Lord and we move on to evangelizing others within our family.
Meanwhile those of us that aren’t so successful at using formulas and who especially have damp trousers when sharing the gospel with family continue to feel burdened but overwhelmed. Thankfully Randy Newman has written a book, Bringing the Gospel Home, that is realistic, gospel-saturated, and remarkably helpful.
From the very beginning Newman breathes fresh air into the countless number of evangelism books. Newman notes that “when we’re told that witnessing should come naturally, we’re set up for failure and frustration”. This is what drives Newman’s realistic and humble approach to evangelism.
Newman also rejects the typical formulaic method of most evangelism books. His philosophy is to give us a “richer understanding of biblical truth” and with this we will have a “firmer foundation for bold witness and clear communication”. Because of this philosophy you will not find chapters on specific questions or how to minister to a specific family member.
What we do find are 7 helpful chapters on family, grace, truth, love, humility, time, and eternity. The first chapter is an exploration of the difference between God’s plan for the family and Satan’s plan for the family. After this Newman weaves together six chapters that adequately display the maxim in his epilogue: “Witnessing to family takes TLC…”T” stands for time, “L” stands for love, and “C” stands for comprehensiveness.”
In the introduction the reader is given the purpose of this book: “to offer hope”. Newman certainly does that. He manages to practically present an unapologetic biblical theology of the gospel and evangelism that infuses the reader with hope. But not hope because I now feel equipped with awesome Ninja-like evangelism skills. No, what happens in this book is that my evangelism “skills” do not necessarily grow, but my confidence in God does.
Your view of God will get bigger as you read through this book.
As your view of God gets bigger you will be infused with hope. And this new found hope that maybe God actually can and will save your family members is further refined with Newman’s patient and humble approach to living the gospel and speaking the gospel.
What I love most about this book is that Newman not only applies the gospel to “them” but also applies the gospel to the one hoping to see a beloved family member come to Jesus. After all the deeper the gospel goes in our own hearts the better witnesses we will become. I found this particular selection refreshing:
“Isn’t grace amazing—and breaking? Isn’t it absolutely breathtaking that a holy righteous God forgives people like me…and you! Doesn’t that just break your pride and arrogance and self-absorption! Doesn’t that kind of news sound really good? Doesn’t it change your tone of voice and posture as you tell your family that Jesus died for them? Until the grace of God strikes you as both amazing and breaking, it may be best for you to just pray for your family. Pray that God brings others into their lives to witness to them while he works in your life to fill you with wonder and joy.”This book is full of such gospel-centered wisdom and insight. Each chapter even ends with a few “steps to take”.
If you have a desire to “bring the gospel home” to your family then this is a great book to read. It will infuse you with hope, strengthen your own relationship with Jesus, and assist you in taking the gospel to your family.
You need this book.
Get your copy here!!!
Randy Newman Interview- "Bringing the Gospel Home" from Crossway on Vimeo. (HT: JT)
**I apologize that I was not able to cite the page number for various quotes. Chalk it up to my technological ignorance. I am unsure how to get the page numbers off of my iPad when I use the Kindle app for books I bought somewhere other than the Kindle store.