July 1st, 2009
Barrs, Jerram. Learning Evangelism from Jesus. Wheaton: Crossway Books, 2009. 281 pp. $17.99. Purchase at Westminster Books.
Not afraid to challenge the status quo, Jerram Barrs offers Christians a crash course in real life evangelism in his book Learning Evangelism from Jesus. Instead of offering yet another method of evangelism or another curriculum to reach the lost in your community, Barrs looks to the authority on evangelism in both person and source material. He looks at how Jesus Christ interacted with various people in the communities in which He traveled and taught.
Jerram Barrs, the founder of the Francis Schaeffer Institute at Covenant Theological Seminary where he currently teaches apologetics and outreach as professof Christian studies and contemporary culture.
Looking at actual encounters like the woman of Samaria in John 4 and Nicodemus in John 3 and parables like the lost sheep and the lost coin found in Luke 15, Jerram Barrs shows how Christ never had a wooden technique to his “evangelism strategy.” Jesus used all circumstances to point His listeners to repentance. He used whatever context, whether it was a poor woman or a learned scholar, to engage His hearers and point them toward repentance. In other words, Jesus shared the gospel at all times, in all circumstances, and in all contexts.
With all of the curriculum’s on Christian book shelves claiming to teach you the method to reach the lost, Jerram Barrs offers something completely different when it comes to evangelism. Instead of creating an Amway salesman equipped with a few Bible verses that are fail-proof, Barrs looks at how Christ shared His own gospel message with the people of His day. In so doing, the reader better understands how he is able to share the gospel with all people regardless of the situation.
It is my prayer that the many young missional-minded and those that affiliate themselves with the “Great Commission Resurgence” among other denominations striving to evangelize the world for the glory of God would give Jerram Barrs’ book, Learning Evangelism from Jesus a thorough read. This book should be on the shelf of every pastor and deacon and elder. It should be studied by seminarians as well as those who faithfully attend church each week.