Introduction to Evangelism by Alvin Reid

Reid, Alvin. Introduction to Evangelism. Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1998. 362 pp. $17.99.  Purchase at Amazon.com for $12.23.

Introduction

Alvin Reid is the professor of evangelism at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in North Carolina. He has written numerous books and articles. He also maintains a blog at AlvinReid.com

Review

Introduction to Evangelism is a text book written for the collegiate or seminary student who is serious about evangelism. Consequently, there are some “thick” parts that necessarily need to be “waded” through if being read by a non-seminarian. The book is divided into three parts. The first part is the convictional basis for evangelism.

In this section, Reid focuses on what we must know in order to evangelize a lost world. On one hand, if you are a Christian, then you can evangelize. After all, you were saved from your sins and therefore you (should) know something that can be shared with others. Still, Reid takes nothing for granted. He defines evangelism and offers a biblical understanding of evangelism. Next, he looks to evangelism throughout Christian history and finally discusses the theology (think absolute Truth claims) of evangelism.

In the second part, Reid offers the spiritual basis of evangelism. Here, he exhorts the reader to live the gospel so that you can share the gospel. Evangelism is then looked at as a Spiritual Discipline since Christ commanded it before ascending into heaven.

The final three chapters of the second section are the “nuts and bolts” of living an evangelistic lifestyle. We find a much welcomed, and I fear much needed, chapter on prayer and evangelism in chapter eight. In the last two chapters, Reid discusses the work of the Holy Spirit in bringing the unchristian to the light of Christ and the use of one’s personal testimony in evangelism.

Part three takes a look at the methodological basis of evangelism. This section may be the most controversial even though it is offered as an overview of various methods used in evangelism. Reid gives a lot of attention to personal evangelism and reaching the unchurched. He also looks at the pros and cons of mass evangelism and exhorts today’s students to become leaders in evangelistic efforts.

Recommendation

Even though this is a textbook on evangelism and is written to Bible school or seminary student, this book should be made available in every evangelical church. If the truth were told, many Christians would say that they do not evangelize because they feel they are not properly equipped. Alvin Reid takes that excuse away and offers an experienced and educated understanding of evangelism.

This book can be used in a discipleship class setting or even in a small group study. With application sections at the end of each chapter, the student (in the seminary or in the church) will be equipped and challenged to share his or her faith that week. I recommend this book to anyone seeking a biblical understanding of evangelism.

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