Mark Dever effectively relates in his book, The Gospel and Personal Evangelism with profound familiarity to what many people battle with when it comes to evangelism. Overall, I thought the book was a good reinforcement to what many people already know. It is more of a reminder of the Christians responsibility to evangelize without delving into any specifics.
This book is a diagnosis of the situation and the problem of why, as individuals in the Church do not evangelize. He attempts to get into the mind of the Christian to see what it is that keeps them from sharing the good news. He opens by giving a list of common excuses that are extremely personal and easily able to connect with. If anyone has even made the attempt to evangelize they have certainly dealt with at-least all of these excuses. He gives a total of five excuses. Examples include, “I don’t know their language (20),” and “Other things seem more urgent.” He then briefly shows why Christians are failing in all these areas. For all the excuses he boils it down to at-least 12 reasons.
The rest of the book then undertakes to uproot these excuses; by expanding some of the 12 reasons and by explaining what the Gospel is and ways one should evangelize. In this book Mark Dever shows that when it comes to share the Gospel there must be a balance between honesty, urgency, and joy. Honesty, because the Gospel is offensive and when one’s fear of man is greater then their fear of God they compromise the Gospel to make it more palatable. Urgency, because when the believer presents the Gospel of Salvation to an unbeliever, he has no other choice. There is no other “deal in town” to reconcile him with a holy God it is imperative that the unbeliever seriously thinks of the Gospel. Finally, Joy because the Gospel is good news and it is the life of the unbeliever to believe and accept.
Following from this point Mark Dever leads into the discussion of what evangelism is not. Commonly, Christians pursue apologetics and personal testimony, or social action, all of which are not evangelism but a means to serve evangelism. Another important emphasis that Mark Dever makes is that Evangelism is not imposition. He argues that because the Gospel is really not ours but God’s. It is God’s saving message for humans. It’s is God who brings Salvation, the responsibility of the believer is only to tell another person this good news.
He concludes by showing what a Christian should do after the Gospel has been presented. Mark Dever looks into different answers that people give and briefly unpacks what the person is going through. In addition to his concluding remarks he makes one final exhortation to our importance in evangelism.