Saturday, September 22, 2007

The Gospel and Personal Evangelism

Mark Dever's important new work, The Gospel and Personal Evangelism , is now available. I previously posted an excerpt from C. J. Mahaney's foreword, but it may be worth reprinting the entire thing to explain the genesis of this book and why it is needed:
One of the first things I discovered about my very good friend Mark Dever is that he walks as fast as he talks. It was over ten years ago that I drove from my home church in the suburbs of Washington DC to meet Mark at Capitol Hill Baptist Church, where he serves as senior pastor. It was a pleasant day, so Mark suggested we walk the short distance from his church’s historic building to a nearby Subway restaurant. Even though I usually walk at a brisk pace myself, I had trouble keeping up with Mark.

Moments before entering the fast-food establishment, Mark explained that he ate there often, not because of the fine cuisine, but for the purpose of sharing the gospel. Inside, he greeted the owners—a Muslim couple from India—by name and engaged them in friendly conversation. As we sat down, I began to quiz Mark about his heart for unbelievers and his strategy for sharing the gospel. He told me that he intentionally frequents the same restaurants and businesses
so he can develop relationships and hopefully create evangelistic opportunities.

Since that day, I’ve attempted to follow Mark’s example and had the joy of sharing the good news with many people I meet along the seemingly uneventful route of daily life.

If you, like me, have walked through entire days unconcerned and unaware of the lost sinners all around you, or if you desire to share the gospel but are unsure how to build a relationship or start a conversation, The Gospel and Personal Evangelism will encourage and equip you. As you read, you will catch Mark’s contagious passion to share the gospel of Jesus Christ and receive practical instruction in personal evangelism.

While this book is for all Christians, it is also a gift to pastors. Cultivating evangelism in the local church is one of a pastor’s most important responsibilities and difficult challenges. Perhaps the most difficult. However, through the pages of The Gospel and Personal Evangelism, Mark’s wisdom, teaching, and experience will support you in this vital work of ministry.

That’s why, for many years now, I’ve been pestering Mark to write this book. It’s so that by the grace of God, church members and pastors and you and I will notice those we once ignored. It’s so that we will befriend sinners who are without hope and without God. It’s so that we will share with them the good news of Jesus Christ’s substitutionary sacrifice on the cross. It’s so that someday those lost souls might turn from their sins and trust in the Savior’s death and resurrection on their behalf. And then, there will be some serious rejoicing—on earth and in heaven (Luke 15:10)!

Mark, thank you for writing The Gospel and Personal Evangelism. Thank you even more for your compelling example of compassion for the lost and for your faithfulness to proclaim Jesus Christ and him crucified. May there be many gospel conversations and abundant evangelistic fruit as a result of this book.

I’m looking forward to our next lunch together, my friend. Let’s walk to Subway.

C.J. Mahaney
Dever's chapters are organized around seven questions:
  1. Why Don't We Evangelize?
  2. What Is the Gospel?
  3. Who Should Evangelize?
  4. How Should We Evangelize?
  5. What Isn't Evangelism?
  6. What Should We Do After We Evangelize?
  7. Why Should We Evangelize?
In February 2006 Dever delivered a number of messages on evangelism at Sovereign Grace's Pastors College Evangelism Conference. These four talks are available as free MP3 downloads.
You can also download for free the message that the book is based on: The Gospel and Evangelism.