The Duty of a Disciple, is evangelism outdated?

Evangelism, it’s a word with interesting and very different responses; it can either fill a room or it can empty one. For some, the word evangelism can feel like a whip that’s cracked against their backs to get out into the world and share Jesus. For others, it’s a word that gives them a task and they see it is a privilege to share Jesus wherever they go.

Based on those very different reactions, I was excited when I found this book in the post one day.

Here is an excerpt from the back of the book…

“Bernard Palmer encourages us to speak openly about Jesus to the people around us. Making sure we understand the gospel we have been instructed to proclaim, he guides us through the biblical basis and examples, and gives us some practical tips for evangelising.”

When I read that I was looking forward to a good and challenging read. I’ll be honest, I wasn’t a huge fan.

The book does have some helpful points, some good stories of how people have shared the gospel before and some thought provoking insights and challenges. However, I found the book a bit of a difficult one to read.

Having read other books on evangelism, advertised in a similar way to this (such as; Honest Evangelism, Out of the Saltshaker and into the World & Stay Salt), I was rather disappointed.

Here are three of the reasons that I wouldn’t recommend this book, like I would others on evangelism;

  1. What about the resurrection?

    In the chapter ‘What is the Christian Gospel?’ there is mention of the severity of sin, how the only remedy for that sin if found in Jesus and that Jesus empowers his people. However, there is no mention of the resurrection.

    The resurrection is fundamental to our understanding of the gospel and a quick survey of the New Testament will show that the resurrection is not just an afterthought and is very important. I’m not doubting that the author knows this, but I think that any gospel without mention of the resurrection is not a full gospel.

    I understand the difficulties of page limits and the fact that no book can go into great detail on every matter. But to not mention the resurrection is missing out a very important element of the gospel.
  2. A bit jumpy

    There are some books that you can read with ease and have hours fly by without you realising where the time has gone, I’m afraid that was not my experience with this books.

    There are a lot of different Bible references and quotes that are sprinkled throughout the book that make the book feel quite bitty. For a book to walk through many Bible references they need to be introduced well and put in their context a little bit at least, something that I think would have benefitted this book. I understand that this is quite a subjective point and it would not be a problem for some people. However, If a book says that it is a guide through the biblical basis and examples of evangelism but it doesn’t so much guide rather it states, in mind it is a bit unhelpful.
  3. Practical?

    There were some practical tips in the book about evangelism, but it could have done with more. Palmer spends a lot of time thinking about the biblical basis for evangelism, as it says on the tin, but spends little time unpacking what that could / should look like in the life of a Christian.

    Evangelism is a word that can terrify some people, therefore I think a lot of good, helpful and practical examples and tips are necessary, in any book on the topic, to help people see how they too can join in.

Books are quite subjective, but in my opinion, there are better books out there on the topic of evangelism. If you have read, or plan to read, this book then please get in touch as I’d like to hear your thoughts on it. I’m afraid that I wouldn’t rate this one very high on my ‘go to’ books on evangelism.

3 thoughts on “The Duty of a Disciple, is evangelism outdated?

  1. This book is top of my reviewing pile at the mo, will be interested to get round to it having read your review!


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