John Calvin

Today's Evangelism, its Message and Method.


Ernest C. Reisinger
Banner of Truth, 158pp, $5.99

This is a truly excellent book. It is simply and yet powerfully written and one hopes that it will be very influential. Most of those who read this magazine (Banner of Truth) will not need persuading by Mr. Reisinger's arguments. Nevertheless, it is useful to have a book available to lend to others which sets out the biblical view of the message and method of evangelism. While the book is easy to read, one suspects that it arises out of many years of thought and deep exercise about the prevailing situation in evangelical circles regarding the subject of evangelism. The origin of the book is a firmly held belief that what passes for evangelism in much modern evangelicalism is far removed from the pattern set out in Scripture. Mr. Reisinger is careful to recognize that numbers of those who engage in modern evangelism are sincerely trying to promote the Kingdom of God. He is on the other hand equally clear that the methods used and the message preached frequently produce the most pernicious results, leading to spiritual complacency in those on the road to hell and filling churches with many who think themselves to be Christians yet have never been converted.

   Modern day evangelism is man-centeredd not God-centered, and its message lacks biblical balance. 'The positive content of the message is nothing less than throwing dust in sinners' eyes. Many times the soul is put to sleep by the devil's opiate ministered in a most unsuspected form'. He has four charges against the new message. 'It fails to produce (1) deep reverence for the God of the Bible; (2) deep repentance and humility; (3) a real spirit of worship; (4) a proper love and concern for the Church.'

   The book, while necessarily saying much that is negative, is also very positive in that it seeks to set out what the biblical message ought to be. There is an introduction and thirteen chapters, plus a useful appendix on the nature of saving faith. The handling of many difficult issues is most competent. There is nothing obscure here, but as the author deals with different subjects he enlightens them by his use and understanding of Scripture.

   Inevitably one or two statements might find less than full agreement from some readers but really these are so few that it is not worth drawing attention to them in detail. Buy the book then. Purchase it for your church libraries, and in particular see that it gets into the hands of two sorts of people. First, those who have yet to see through the enormous but illusory claims of many engaged in modern evangelism; secondly, see that it gets to those who can see that something is wrong somewhere but as yet do not realize what it is. May this book also stimulate those who believe the truths set out effectively to preach Christ themselves to the sinners who are around them.


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