The Benedict Option by Rod Dreher

Dreher, Rod. The Benedict Option: A Strategy for Christians in a Post-Christian Nation. New York: Sentinel, 2017. 262 pages. $25.00. Purchase for less at Amazon or on Kindle.

Note: This review was first published in The Pathway.

Gary L. Shultz, Jr., Reviewer

Thirty-six years ago a philosopher named Alisdair MacIntyre declared that Western culture had lost its way, similar to the Roman Empire before its fall, and that those living virtuous lives could no longer participate in this culture. Instead they must form alternative cultures that would allow them to survive this new “dark ages” with integrity and morality intact. The last sentence of his book, After Virtue, called on us to await a new leader who would help us live out our Christian faith in the midst of a culture that rejected it, “another – doubtless very different – St. Benedict.”

Rod Dreher builds upon MacIntyre’s work, both his warning and his proposed solution, with the “Benedict Option.” This is the idea that in light of current conditions in our culture and our churches, conservative Christians in America can no longer live the way we’ve been living. Our culture has abandoned virtue and embraced a way of life that denies our humanity. We must make a “decisive leap” into a counter-cultural way of living for God in every area of our lives, focusing on community, discipline, and passing on our faith to the next generation. In other words, the church must actually be the church. Otherwise we are lost, and can only expect continuing assimilation to our culture from one generation to the next.

For his explanation of what this way of life should look like, Dreher appeals to the actual St. Benedict, Benedict of Nursia (480-547). Benedict went to Rome for his education as a young man and was shocked at the corruption and decadence of the city. Instead of embracing his life of privilege as a government official’s son, Benedict decided to live as a hermit, focusing on prayer and meditation. After three years of this, Benedict was invited to lead a monastery, and would eventually establish twelve monasteries of his own. To guide his monks, Benedict wrote a book now known as The Rule of St. Benedict.

Dreher weaves together his account of visiting the Benedictine monastery in Nursia today with a description of Benedict’s Rule, which calls for establishing a community ordered and centered around Christ. It contains strict instructions for prayer, work, and social life. Dreher is not calling on us all to be monks, but to apply these principles to the church today. The Benedict Option calls for a new way, which is really an old way, of approaching politics, church, education, community, and work. It demands that we resist our culture’s ways of thinking about sex and technology. It means building a culture in the church through witness and spiritual discipline that will not only help people walk with Christ but impact others around us. For how can we win people to something we don’t really have?

Dreher’s book is worth reading and thinking through. His analysis of our current cultural climate and the failure of the church to adequately respond to where we are today is essentially correct. His overall strategy of focusing on the purity and strength of our Christian communities is sound. We cannot love the world if we hope to live for Christ and actually change the world. We must start taking our faith seriously, for our own sake and the sake of our children.

I recommend the book with two caveats, though. First, you will not agree with everything Dreher says. He is Eastern Orthodox and has strong convictions about the importance of liturgical worship. He believes parents should only homeschool or enroll their children in Christian classical education. His historical understanding of how our culture got to this point is somewhat simplistic and open to question. You don’t need to agree with these things to benefit from Dreher’s insights. Second, Dreher tends toward a defensive and isolated posture, while the Bible calls us to something different. We are not monks, but kingdom witnesses taking the gospel to the ends of the earth, knowing that the gates of hell cannot prevail against Christ’s church. However, The Benedict Option, understood and practiced in light of our mission, will help us be those kingdom citizens Jesus saves us to be.

 

Face Time by Kristen Hatton

Hatton, Kristen. Face Time [Your Identity in a Selfie World]. Greensboro: New Growth Press, 2017. 130 pp. $15.99. Purchase at Westminster Books for less.

Introduction

Kristen is a pastor’s wife and mother of three teenagers. She leads a small group Bible study for teens. She has also written Get Your Story Straight. You can find out more at KristenHatton.com.

Summary

Divided into two parts, Kristen first lays the foundation of what are true identity is in light of who Christ is. She spends five chapters detailing the problems every teenage girl faces and points them to Jesus Christ who took on all of our sinful problems and offers us the gift of salvation…or, more importantly, His identity in exchange for our own.

The second part looks at twelve common false identities every teen-aged girl faces. From issues of comparison to materialism to drinking and sex and self-harm, Kristen explains how Jesus offers a better identity.

Review

Kristen’s experience with teenaged ministry is obvious on every page. She offers sound advice and keen insight into how the Bible speaks to the teenaged girl today. Her stories offered in the second part of the book are real-to-life and will certainly resonate with the reader. Her counsel is clearly rooted in Scripture.

She offers excellent reflection questions and offers great journaling prompts to help the young women wrestle with the Biblical truths and compare those to the lies Satan would have us believe. What I love the most about this book is that the veneer is beginning to crumble on the social media world. Kristen is dealing with an epidemic in the church of identification crises that are plaguing just about everyone…perhaps no group more than teen-aged girls.

Recommendation

Written for teen-aged girls, I actually found that this book would be great for teen-aged boys as well. That being said, I highly commend this book to parents of young women entering, or already in, their teen years. Youth pastors would do well to pick up this book and assign it as a group study (probably with a woman leading) for teen-aged girls.

The Puritans Day by Day edited by H.J. Horn

The Puritans Day by Day: Puritan Quotations for Each Day of the Year. Edinburgh: The Banner of Truth Trust, 2016. 408 pp. $23.00. Purchase at Westminster Books for less.

Introduction

Originally published in 1928 by Stanley and Martin, Co in London as The Puritan Remembrancer and was edited by H.J. Horn. It has been reprinted by The Banner of Truth Trust for a new readership in the 21st century.

Summary

From the Banner of Truth’s website:

Here in The Puritans Day By Day, this unique selection from a wide range of reading, we have a noble army of memorable sayings. They have been drawn mainly out of the writings of the Puritans, men who excelled in their power of deep insight into both the word of God and the human heart, and who also had the rare gift of quaint and distinctive expression. The compiler of these ‘pearls of wisdom’ has traveled extensively through a wide range of devotional literature, and has provided us with a year’s supply of wise sayings that are as fresh and new as they are piquant and tender.

The Puritans Day by Day will be particularly helpful to young preachers, who would do well to keep this volume, with its careful ordering and its full indexes, close to hand. In days when minds are dull and spirits are weary, they will find it to be a rich source of mental and spiritual refreshment.

Review

Unlike other daily devotionals, this devotional is only quotes by (mostly) Puritans arranged in a topical order day by day. Each day has a seemingly random topic followed by a passage of Scripture. This is followed by anywhere from four to ten quotes dealing with that particular topic.

For example, on 3 April (I choose this date solely because that is my birthday) the topic is Holy Scripture, the verse is simply, “the holy scriptures” – 2 Timothy 3:15. Following are nine quotes from Thomas Fuller, Martin Luther, Thomas Watson, and Richard Sibbes.

As you can tell, this is not a devotional in the classic sense. What makes this devotional valuable is obviously the gathering of the quotes. Perhaps more importantly than that is the three indices at the back of the book. These include an alphabetical list of persons quoted, a canonical list of the Bible passages referenced, and an alphabetical list of the topics covered.

Recommendation

This resource is more than a devotional in my estimation. It becomes an excellent resource for rich quotable material. It is full of great wisdom and insight and will drive the reader to want to know more about the great God they serve. I use my copy for sermon prep (when you need that perfect quote) as well as for social media engagement (most of the quotes are tweetable).

Devoted to God by Sinclair B. Ferguson

Ferguson, Sinclair B. Devoted to God: Blueprints for Sanctification. Edinburgh: The Banner of Truth Trust, 2016. 296 pp. $18.00. Purchase at Westminster Books for less.

Introduction

Sinclair Ferguson does not need much of an introduction to readers here at Christian Book Notes. I have reviewed a few of his books in the past. He is a prolific writer of deeper works of theology, commentaries, and even children’s resources. He has served as the minister of First Presbyterian in Columbia, SC and continues to serve as Professor of Systematic Theology at Redeemer Seminary in Dallas as well as a Teaching Fellow with Ligonier Ministries.

Summary

Divided into 10 chapters with 5 appendices, Sinclair Ferguson offers an in depth look at sanctification. He begins with what for some may be a redefinition of sanctification. For most, and this is correct and biblical, when we think of sanctification, we only think of being set apart by God. The title offers a slightly different, albeit positive perspective on sanctification. That is, we are not only set apart by God, we are devoted to Go. Though both perspectives are true, one is negative and one is positive. Focusing on the positive changes the entire dynamic of sanctification. That is what the rest of the book is about.

Each chapter builds on the previous wherein the reader is shown progressively what a life of sanctification looks like in the life of the believer. It is rooted in Scripture and offers a game plan, or as the subtitle claims, a blueprint, for working out your salvation.

Review

I cannot stress enough the importance of understanding sanctification as a believer. Ferguson does the church a huge favor by changing the perspective from negative (set apart from the wold) to the positive (devoted to God). In so doing, he elicits thoughts of how we are willing to sacrifice whatever we need if it will enable us to do what we most enjoy. For the Christian, this ought to be God-centered every time. Ferguson helps with that.

The appendices are pure gold and could provide the basis for a few shorter booklets as they look at the foundation for our sanctification as found in the Triune Godhead and His revealed Word, the Bible.

Recommendation

Sinclair Ferguson’s Devoted to God needs to be read by every Christian. It has, in my estimation, already set itself up as a modern day classic at the general level and even more so at the specific level of sanctification. The church is indebted to Sinclair for authoring an accessible, yet meaty, book that discusses a most important aspect of the Christian faith.

ESV Devotional Psalter

ESV Devotional Psalter. Wheaton: Crossway Books, 2017. 464 pp. $29.99. Purchase at Westminster Books for less.

Introduction

From Crossway’s website:

The Psalms are the only extended portion of Scripture written to God—they are prayers. As such, the Psalms are uniquely suited to foster communication with God, which is the purpose of this edition. The ESV Devotional Psalter pairs each of the 150 psalms with brand-new devotional content, guiding readers to thoughtfully interact with and pray through the Scriptures.

You can find more information at Crossway.com.

Summary

There are many features to this Psalter. To begin with, the font is a larger 11-point type that offers easier readability. Each Psalm is arranged in a single-column format on a thicker, cream-colored paper that is ideal for writing in without concern of bleed-through.

Complete with a ribbon marker, the reader can readily find where he or she left off the last time. The devotional content offers explanation and application of the particular Psalm being read.

Review

One might ask why do we need another Psalter and that would be a fair question. The ESV Devotional Psalter is meant to enable you to engage God through His Word guided by a little explanation. Whereas most niche Bibles are edited by a particular person or a team of people, the ESV Devotional Psalter offers anonymous devotionals. From what I have been able to find, there is no information available as to who wrote the devotional content. Personally, I find this to be of greater benefit as we often run the risk of being devoted to the person who wrote the notes or content instead of the Word of God and what the devotional content points us to.

Furthermore, the devotional content is written to offer a quick understanding of the historical context of the Psalm and what was taking place biblically as well as how it applies to the Christian today. By being “generic” in audience, the reader of the ESV Devotional Psalter will find specific application to his or her own life.

I also found the thicker paper to be ideal for writing my own thoughts next to both the Psalm and the devotional content. Due to the thickness of this paper, this psalter is about the same size as Crossway’s thinline series of Bibles.

Recommendation

For those who are looking to improve their devotional time, you truly cannot start with a better resource. It is just you, the Psalms, and a devotional that will keep you focused on the Psalm. What a way to facilitate your prayer life with laser focus. I love my copy and highly recommend the ESV Devotional Psalter to any Christian.

Forensic Faith by J. Warner Wallace

Wallace, J. Warner. Forensic Faith: A Homicide Detective Makes the Case for  a More Reasonable, Evidential Christian Faith.  Colorado Springs: David C. Cook, 224 pp. $18.99. Purchase at Amazon or on Kindle for less.

Introduction

J. Warner is a living, breathing cold-case detective with a master’s degree in theology. He lives in California with his wife and four children. His detective work has been featured on television shows like Dateline and Fox News. He has written Cold-Case Christianity and God’s Crime Scene. You can follow him on Twitter where he is pretty active.

Summary

Divided into only four chapters, Wallace sets this book up as if you were a police officer sworn to serve and protect the community. This community, however, has eternal consequences for the one investigating the claims. Chapter one calls the reader out for their distinctive duty as a “Christian Case Maker.” Chapter 2 offers targeted training as the reader prepares to become part of the front-line defense of the faith.

Chapter three offers five practices to help the reader, and consequently, help others examine the claims of Christianity like every good detective approaches a tough case. The fourth chapter offers five principles to help you communicate this evidence as if you were a prosecutor on the case. Even if you have all of the evidence in your favor, you still need to be able to share it with others in such a way that the verdict you are striving after is beyond a reasonable doubt.

There are a few appendices that offer answers to common challenges as well as resource recommendations to help build your apologetic library.

Review

Apologetics was one of my first “loves” after I was saved. I have a fairly large collection of resources dealing with a wide range of apologetic topics including Geisler’s Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics and Koukl’s Tactics as two resources that I have referred to over and over.

I wish I had Forensic Faith. It is designed well with the illustrations to help cement the principles as well as the “forensic faith” boxes interspersed throughout the book that offer investigative guidelines, training recommendations, definitions, challenges, and even assignments. As a seasoned Christian and apologist (I could never get over how other Christians could not articulate what they believed and why they believed it), the principles in this book are extremely sound and written in a very memorable way.

The caution with apologetics is always the concern that one begins to believe they can argue someone into the faith. If you can convince someone they need Jesus apart from the power of the Holy Spirit, then you run the risk of making someone twice the person of Hell. Fortunatly, Wallace takes the time to explain that he is only offering a training course of sorts to help the Christian better articulate his faith. This is specifically helpful for your teenager who is looking to go to college where the Christian faith is regularly attacked and undermined and even mocked and derided.

Recommendation

If you are a youth pastor or you engage a college-age crowd in the ministry, this is a must own resource. If you want to become better equipped to defend the faith, you could not do much better than beginning with Forensic Faith. Wallace’s style is both engaging and informative and, before you know it, you will be out on the streets as it were tracking down a lead and showing all the evidence of the Christian faith and, Lord wiling, leading people to Christ.

 

Between Us Girls by Trish Donohue

Donohue, Trish. Between Us Girls: Walks and Talks for Moms and Daughters. Greensboro:New Growth Press, 2016. 144 pp. $17.99. Purchase for less at Westminster Books or for Kindle.

Introduction

Trish is a wife and mother living in West Chester, Pennsylvania. She has two sons and two daughters and it was her desire to disciple her girls that lead to her writing this book. She and her husband, Jim, attend Covenant Fellowship Church where Jim is pastor.

Summary

Instead of chapters, Trish divided this book into 26 walks in which she offers guidelines for mother and daughter talks. Each walk has questions a mom can ask her daughter and also the daughter can ask her mother. The topics range from prayers to family and clothing and focus.

Review

As a husband and father, I read this book with my wife and two daughters in mind. I must confess that some of this was lost on me as I would never have considered some of these discussion in the way that Trish lays them out.

That, however, is one of the greatest strengths of this book. Many parents are at a loss on how to intentionally disciple their daughters (especially dads!). The conversation points are nothing super spiritual. Rather, they are the products of meditation on Scriptural principles and watching her own daughters grow and wrestle with the importance of walking in their faith.

Far from a legalistic manual, Trish has offered mothers a wonderful guide to help kick start many conversations in order that they might disciple their daughters with greater intentionality.

I mentioned fathers earlier because I am one. For those single dads with daughters, this resource may prove extremely insightful to you as well. Granted there are certain aspects of motherhood and womanhood that you will never be able to understand, but this resource will help you to engage your daughter with the timeless truths of Scripture in such a manner that you probably would never come to on your own.

Recommendation

I recommend this resource to all mothers looking to disciple their daughters. As mentioned above, single fathers would do well to peruse this resource as well.

Works of Richard Sibbes Volume 6

Sibbes, Richard. Works of Richard Sibbes Volume 6. Edinburgh: The Banner of Truth Trust, 2001. 550 pp. $27.00. You can purchase Volume 6 at The Banner of Truth for $24.30. You can purchase the complete set of 7 volumes for $162.00 at Westminster Books or for a mere $10.00 on Kindle.

Introduction

I have reviewed many of Richard Sibbes’ books in the past. This is now the sixth of seven volumes in his collection of Works produced by The Banner of Truth Trust. It has taken me almost a year to get this far for a myriad of reasons, but one thing I know is that this set of works has been invaluable to my personal walk with the Lord.

Summary

Volume six contains the well-loved works Josiah’s Reformation, The Saint’s Comforts, and The Heavenly Conference. It also includes lesser known writings like Angels’ Acclamations and The Successful Seeker.
Each work is a series of sermons preached and then published by the Puritans.

Review

What more can be said about Richard Sibbes that I have not already said? He is truly a surgeon of the soul. Each sermon quickly gets to the heart of the problem as found in the sinner, which is all of us, and then slowly unpacks the healing balm of the Word of God as the prescribed cure. What I love the most about Richard Sibbes is his practical life applications of the gospel of Jesus Christ. On every page, and in nearly every paragraph, the reader is shown grace and mercy.

Perhaps more than any other volume, Volume 6 is full of well-known sermons by Sibbes thanks largely to The Banner of Truth Trust continuing to publish the individual sermons and series in the Puritan Paperbacks series.

Recommendation

At this point, I can tell you all day how much the Puritans have meant to my personal walk with the Lord. It would do you well to become familiar with a few of them. Specifically, Richard Sibbes. There are some Puritans who are tougher to read than others. Sibbes is tough only because he pulls no punches with his preaching and consequent writing.

 

To Flourish or Destruct by Christian Smith

Smith, Christian. To Flourish or Destruct: A Personalist Theory of Human Goods, Motivations, Failure, and Evil. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2015. 342 pp. $45.00. Purchase at Amazon or on Kindle for less.

Introduction

Christian Smith may not be known to many readers here at Christian Book Notes, but at least one of his key phrases he has developed is. If you have ever said or heard the phrase “moralistic therapeutic deism” then you are somewhat familiar with Christian Smith. This phrase, coined in 2005 was popularized in his work Soul searching: The Religious and Spiritual Lives of American Teenagers. In 2010 he published another volume, What is a Person? that is the forerunner to To Flourish or Destruct. You can find all of his other books here.

Dr. Christian Smith is the William R. Kenan, Jr., Professor of Sociology at the University of Notre Dame. It is here that he directs the Center for the Study of Religion and Society. You can read more about his work on Critical Realism here.

Summary

Divided into 9 chapters over 278 pages with 56 pages of end notes, this is not going to be a Sunday afternoon leisurely read. After introducing the subject matter and reason for writing this book, Smith looks at the basics of what he calls Critical Realist Personalism. This is where I was introduced to his work on What is the Person? The second chapter lays a foundation for rethinking why we do what we do, or what are the motivating factors for the actions we take.

Chapter three is an argument against social situationism (relativism) and chapter four offers a historical look at the various theories of human nature and motivation that have found traction in sociological studies and understandings of the person.
In chapter five, Smith begins to unpack the paradigm shifting understanding of personalist theory and how and why we are motivated to action. This is contingent upon his understanding of human goods (which he finds six) and interests that exist across time and cultural boundaries. Chapter six, the shortest chapter, explains how and why we must be motivated toward flourishing as a person and consequently as a society. He spends the last chapter seeking to understand failure, destruction, and evil.

Review

First, please allow me to say that this review for this website will not do justice to the critical review that is necessary for a work of this magnitude.

Second, I am not going to get too technical in this review, but you must understand that this is very much a technical book. It is more a college level text book dealing with social theory.

I picked this book up to read along with a friend who wanted to understand Personalism. He explained to me that it was helping him to understand the importance of the second greatest commandment to love your neighbor as yourself (see Leviticus 19:18 and Matthew 22:39). As I read the first 35 pages or so, I could see hints of this.

I was not prepared, however, for the paradigm shifting view of the person versus the individual. He argues, “To be a person…is to exist and operate as a governing center of consciousness and action oriented toward pursuing certain purposes” (p. 42).

As he unpacks this definition, albeit briefly (which is why I purchased What is a Person?), he moves to what I believe is the linchpin of his entire argument. He explains why humans should never be called individuals because, “The individual is not what a human being is, but rather a construction of a misguided theoretical tradition, foisted upon humanity by intellectual visionaries and ideologues” (p. 48). I wrote in the margin that the individual is sovereign and independent and can be abstracted while the person is dependent and is an intimate reality.

This was a watershed moment for me in that I hadn’t realized how deeply influenced my way of thinking was as I wrestled with the Imago Dei. In other words, this theory of Personalism is the outworking of understanding what it means to be created in the image of God. Furthermore, as you read his brief historical overviews, you will quickly understand that we have all been impacted by the individual view of sociology because it is taught in every single high school and college introductory level class as it has been the prevailing view for over 150 years.

My greatest critique of the book is Christian Smith’s obstinate refusal to apply the Christian worldview as the foundation for this argument. I have talked with him and he assures me he offers his reasons in a couple debates, but at the time of my writing this review, I have not been able to read the abstracts of those debates.
All throughout the book I have struggled with the theological aspect of Personalism and, according to the end notes, seems to be largely rooted in the theology of Thomas Aquinas.

Personally, I find this theory to be rooted in Scripture. What has most amazed me is as I did my research I found that this view was held by many of the leaders in the Civil Rights movement of the 50’s and 60’s as well as some mainstream Christian denominations and Roman Catholic theologians.

Regardless of this critique, Smith tackles the problem of evil as well as the solution of love even though most sociologists shy away from both discussions.

I will surely continue unpacking what I have read for a long time to come. It has already helped me to understand and see the world from a new perspective…one I thought I had but did not.

Recommendation

My point in writing this review is to bring attention of this view to a wider audience. I believe many conservative evangelicals, and I dare say many in the Reformed community, would do well to read this book. While it is not written from a theological perspective, Biblical Christian theology is inescapable. It has proven to be a paradigm shifting book for me and a book that I have told others has already been one of the most non-theological books I have ever read.

If you are a Christian who enjoys thinking hard, I highly commend this book to you. I have not found a better and more accessible treatment of the subject matter yet, but I am looking.

Sharing Jesus Without Freaking Out by Alvin Reid

Reid, Alvin. Sharing Jesus {without freaking out} Evangelism the Way You Were Born to do it. Nashville: B&H Academic, 2017. 144 pp. $16.99. Purchase at Amazon and on Kindle for less.

Introduction

Alvin Reid holds the Bailey Smith Chair of Evangelism as well as serving as the senior professor of evangelism and student ministry at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. More than teaching on evangelism, Dr. Reid (Doc) also serves as pastor to young professionals at Richland Community Church in Wake Forest, NC. He is interactive on social media and is always willing to help and instruct any who might ask him. Oh, and I would be remiss if I did not mention he one proud grandpa to whom this book is dedicated. You can find out more and get bulk discounts at http://www.bhacademic.com/sharingjesus/.

Way back in 2009, I reviewed Doc’s textbook Introduction to Evangelism.

Summary

Divided into eight chapters, Doc sets out to explain how he has found great success in his evangelism ministry. The answer is quite simple just from looking at the chapter titles. Chapter one discusses the importance of spreading the word without overcomplicating the message. Chapter two explains the message of grace and mercy over and above the message of anger that so many preach today.

The third chapter begins to deconstruct the walls we have built to evangelism by looking at the need for conversations instead of the sales pitch presentation. Continuing the conversation explanation, Doc moves in chapter four to show how you are vital to the mission of God even though you cannot do this in your own power.

As he continues to build the conversational model of evangelism, he turns to conversation starters and transitions that will help you to engage anyone with the gospel of Jesus Christ. The sixth chapter takes this even further by instructing the reader on how to let the other person help you. In other words, as you get to know them through a conversation, they will point you to their need of the gospel.

Once you begin to transition to the gospel, you will find that that you are able to talk more freely about the things of the Lord, but you will need to be careful as you must also talk with more than words. Chapter seven is devoted to showing the reader the importance of living out your faith in the context of sharing your faith.

The final chapter argues for making friends instead of making visits. Here, Doc wants you to have a plan of action before you go into any situation in order that you might effectively share the gospel more readily.

Review

BOOM!

This is just what the church needs! Yes, you can argue that we have the Bible and that we have many different methods of proclaiming the gospel, but the fact of the matter is, here in America, we are simply not doing what we have been commanded by our Lord and Savior. Doc Reid has been proclaiming the gospel for many years and, to be honest, has challenged me greatly in his success rate.
This is not to say that evangelism is all about success rates and models and strategies, but it is to say that Doc’s ministry is proof that the Word of God does not return void (Is. 55:11). As I been blessed to listen to Dr. Reid present a number of times in the state of Missouri where I live, I have learned much from his ministry. One area I find that has helped him to be more effective is the location of where he lives and ministers. His town of Wake Forest is larger than my county in Missouri.

That being said, as this book shows, it is not about the size of the community as much as it is about the size of the God who has commissioned you to this mission. Doc shows that the key to effective evangelism is having a strategy in place before you engage with the message. The key to evangelism is realizing you are engaging people not statistics.

In Sharing Jesus Without Freaking Out, Doc explains that our mission is evangelism for the sake of seeing souls saved and not for the sake of numbers and statistics and honor at state conventions. Doc shows how sharing the message of salvation in Christ alone is natural to the one who has been born again because the new creation in Christ has a message to proclaim. Doc simply equips the new creature to do what God has enabled him or her to do.

Recommendation

Christendom owes a great debt to Doc Reid for his humility and accessibility as an academic thinker on the topic of evangelism. More importantly than that, he has modeled for the Christian what consistent obedience to the Great Commission looks like in the local context of evangelism. As the evangelism team leader in my association, I have been looking for a resource that I could give to my pastors that they would want to read and implement in their own ministries. I have found that resource. I highly commend this book to everyone who calls on the name of Christ as their Lord and Savior and who wants to be a better soul winner in their own ministerial context.

Short, introductory reviews of Christian Books