For my current Apologetics and Outreach class at Covenant Seminary, we are required to read The Heart of Evangelism, by the professor teaching the class, Jerram Barrs. In the few lectures we have had thus far, this book seems mirror in large part the content of the lectures. Here is a personal thought about speaking to different groups about the Gospel: I have always been put off by the street evangelism style that seemed to train its evangelists to learn a single memorized presentation of the Gospel as a one-size-fits-all method. Guys tried to recruit me into this style in bible studies or other settings but I never felt comfortable with that tactic. In the chapter about Memorized Summaries of the Gospel, Prof. Barrs covered some of the differences in evangelizing to different groups of people. We have good biblical precedent to be prepared to speak to different groups of people about the Gospel in different ways that are tailored to the particulars of that audience. Of course there is a core of the Gospel that is unchanged from audience to audience but surely the significance of certain aspects of Christ’s salvation are going to need more emphasis when talking to a Jew versus a Mormon, versus a Muslim, versus a Wiccan, etcetera! I have discussed the Gospel just enough with people of other faiths to know that preparing to talk to one of these versus another is a very different process in regards to which particular aspects of orthodox faith in Christ need to be brushed up on before discussion. Sun Tzu is popularly quoted as having said, “know thy enemy.”  I would adapt this for Christian purposes to say, “know thy neighbor.” I am reminded that evangelism should be as relationally specific as the rest of our lives. Say our neighbor needs a shovel. We would be unwise to then offer a rake. It is not a particularly loving thing to do to not take the time to recognize his need and seek to meet it accordingly.
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