Great Book Reviews: “Questioning Evangelism”….

Posted by Gabriel (G²) on January 20, 2008

  To anyone interested,  if you watched the video you who’ve probably had some issues. Some questions that immediately come to mind are:

Where was the common respect that could’ve been shown?

What is appropiate for the men claiming Christ to appear as ARROGANT as they did?

 Why was there never (IMHO) appearance of what could be labeled as INQUIRY of where the Mormons were coming from, humility in hearing out their sides, sharing the truth humbly, and encouraging FURTHER DIALOUGE? Moreover, how much of the focus is on the PERSON OF CHRIST, as opposed to having the last word?

          These are definately some of the questions that I had…….

For some good examples of what it means to do witnessing in a godly way (AS well as resources on how to deal with various classes of people), I encourage people to consider checking out these:

The ART OF CHRISTIAN DIALOUGE: Whatever happened to it? (regarding heresy, false teachings, and understanding the Word of God IN CONTEXT)












 Phillipians 4

Exhortations 2I plead with Euodia and I plead with Syntyche to agree with each other in the Lord. 3Yes, and I ask you, loyal yokefellow,[a] help these women who have contended at my side in the cause of the gospel, along with Clement and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life. 4Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.

Colossians 4:5-6

5Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. 6Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.

Titus 3

Doing What is Good

 1Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, 2to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and to show true humility toward all men.

Proverbs 16:21

21 The wise in heart will be called prudent,
And sweetness of the lips increases learning.

2 Timothy 2:23-26

23 Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. 24 And the Lord’s servant [1] must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, 25 correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, 26 and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him

Engaging People's Hearts the  Way Jesus Did

A much-needed look at sharing Christ with unbelievers, based not on the techniques of guerrilla hard-sell tactics, but on engaging questions and caring interaction. Filled with humor and stories, this book provides a challenging yet encouraging look at evangelism in our world today. This volume argues that asking questions and starting meaningful conversations is a far better method for sharing faith than prepared lectures or statements. It gives advice on what people need to hear in response to the world around them. Author was raised Jewish and has a unique, rabbinical outlook on evangelism

To anyone interested, I wanted to place this up here because I was recently discussing with one of my friends on the issue of witnessing and something came up where he was wondering how to go about doing things. I decided to place this book out here since it has been very influential in the ways that I tend to operate…..and moreover, it has saved me MUCH DIFFICULTLY in being effective when it comes to sharing my faith “with gentleness and respect” (I Peter 3:15).




           To give an excerpt from the book,

Concerning this, a principle that comes to my mind is what Solomon said in Proverbs 26:4-5:

Proverbs 26:4-5

4 Do not answer a fool according to his folly,
or you will be like him yourself.

5 Answer a fool according to his folly,
or he will be wise in his own eyes

As Apologetist/Chaplain Randy Newman tellingly explained about these verses in his book Questioning Evangelism(powerful/resourceful book, by the way, and solid/extremely based in Scripture in case anyone wants to check it out.), “In some cases, answering people’s questions with content that they want only solidifies their unbelief.

“Consider the pair of seemingly contradictory exhortations in Proverbs 24:4-5…No wonder people have considered these two statements as evidence of a contradiction in the Bible, but the fact that they occur one after the other, however, could argue just the opposite conclusion, for in rabbinic style they show two sides of the same coin. We should not answer a fool according to his folly (i.e. using his style of expression) in a derogatory, argumentive tone, for example. The result would be a shouting match between two people who disrespect each other (in some situ ations, you ought not even answer a fool…such a fool will abuse you and you will be tempted to abuse him or her in return).

“Such a display of godlesssness is fitting for a fool but not for a follower of a gracious God. Other types of foolish responses include reacting to sarcasm with more of the same, replying to ad hominem attacks with even worse slander, or employing any kind of flawed logic in our arguments simply because our opponent does so. Increasing the percentage of ‘fooldom’ does little to advance the kingdom.”


Continuing with that, “

On the other side of the coin, we should respond to a fool’s question ‘as his folly deserves’ (v.5)(one way of doing this would be to show/exlain what the full extent of a fools’ logic would be or how far it would apply in every area of life rather than isolated ones they favor/focus on, so that they would see how impractical/ungrounded their thinking is, like asking a person opposed to absolute truth/morality and in favor of ethical relativism why they’re offended at the actions of others that bring them/their loved ones harm since, according to their own way of thinking, no one can truly say ‘What you did was absolutely wrong!!’…and the person who committed the wrong could say ‘I did what I thought was right, and besides, what does it matter since you’re no more right or wrong than I am?’ .

“Failure to do so could make the fool feel good about his or her foolish position, reinforce it, and make the fool even less open to considering the truth that could set him or her free (i.e. more willing to hear what you have to say and perhaps turn from their error)….Responding in kind with a lack of respect or worse is an easy trap to fall into. Nevertheless, when a person’s choice of words or tone of voice tells you that he or she isn’t looking for an answer, it’s best not to give one.”

To me, I thought that this was EXTREMELY TIMELY/BRILLIANT to consider.

    Here’s another excerpt from the book which is noteworthy to consider:


I’ll never forget his name. It was one that I’d never heard before—Artyum. He was from Ukraine and was possibly the most sincere seeker I’ve ever met. We struck up a conversation on the center lawn of the American University in Washington, D.C., on a spring-like day in November. It wasn’t supposed to be that warm. But there we were, Artyum and I, basking in the sunshine, when the calendar said that we should have been inside sipping cups of hot chocolate.

We talked about the weather, classes, hometowns and things like that. Then he asked me what I did on campus. When working for an organization with the name Campus Crusade for Christ and people ask, “What do you do?” it doesn’t take long to steer the conversation toward the gospel.

As a trained evangelist, I steered our chat to a good evangelistic tool for sharing the gospel, a booklet called Would You Like to Know God Personally? I read the first point, “God loves you and created you to know Him personally.” I don’t remember pausing at that point. I don’t think I even breathed. But somehow Artyum interrupted.

“What do you mean when you say the word God?” he wondered aloud. “And what do you mean when you say the word love? And, most importantly, how do I know all this is true?”

It was a difficult moment for me. All of my training had told me to sweep away any and all questions with, “That’s a good question. How about we come back to that when I’m done reading the booklet?” That line had worked well many times for me. Often, questions that are asked during an evangelistic conversation are just smokescreens. But Artyum’s questions were different. They weren’t smokescreens. I know the difference between an honest inquirer and a truth-avoider. Artyum’s questions were foundational. Could I progress to the second page of the booklet and read, “People are sinful and separated from God” if he was stuck on the words God and love? What would be in store for us when we hit the word sin?

Artyum wasn’t annoyed by my initiation of evangelism. Unlike me, however, he didn’t feel any pressing need to work through the green booklet. He did feel, however, the pressing need of eternal questions. He wanted to dialogue.

What followed was a 90-minute discussion, revolving around questions that strike at the foundation of faith: “How do we know what we know?” “What do we know for certain?” and “What difference does it all make?” Toward the end of the conversation, I was asking more questions of him than he did of me.

Artyum helped me rethink the task of evangelism. Any evangelistic skill requires three skills. The first and most basic involves declaring the gospel, including the ability to clearly and concisely articulate the message of salvation and one’s own story or testimony. The second evangelistic skill is ability in defending the gospel. The third skill is built on the foundations of declaring and defending the gospel.

The skill is called dialoguing the gospel. Often neglected, difficult to master, but absolutely essential is the skill of asking questions and bouncing ideas around. We need all three skills if we’re to be Christ’s ambassadors in the 21st century.

Answering a question with a question often has significant advantages over direct answers. It brings to the surface the questioner’s assumptions. It also takes the pressure off you—the one being asked—and puts the pressure on the one doing the asking. As long as we’re on the defensive, the questioners are not really wrestling with issues. They’re just watching us squirm.

Responding to a question with a question paves the way for a concept that the questioner might not otherwise consider. Many ideas that are central to our gospel message—God’s holiness, people’s sinfulness, Christ’s atoning work on the cross, and people’s responsibility—are alien today for many people. Questions bring these concepts into clearer focus for consideration and even acceptance. Let me give you an example:

Non-Christian: I can’t believe that you believe Christianity is the only way.

Christian: Then why do you think Jesus said such a narrow-minded thing?

Non-Christian: I don’t think Jesus was narrow-minded.

Christian: Me neither. Why do you think He claimed that He’s the only way to God?

Non-Christian: Are you sure He said that, or is that just something His followers made up?

Christian: No, I’m really sure that He said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.”

Non-Christian: Well, I don’t understand the Bible all that well. I don’t know why Jesus would say those things.

Christian: Would you like to hear what I think He meant?

I’m proposing a style of evangelism that is more dialogue than a sales pitch. If we were to try to convince someone to “buy” the gospel, we’d shy away from some difficult words that need to be said. Confronting a prospect with unpleasant truths doesn’t work in sales, but it is essential in evangelism.

Christian: Do you ever think much about spiritual things?

Non-Christian: A little. I think religion is a private thing, though.

Christian: Are you saying that people shouldn’t discuss religion with others?

Non-Christian: No, I wouldn’t say that. I just don’t like it when people blab on endlessly.

Christian: So is some talk about God OK?

Non-Christian: Sure. But not when a total stranger talks to you about God like they talk about the weather.

Christian: Oh, I see. You say it’s a private thing because you don’t talk about private things with just anyone.

Non-Christian: Exactly. I think your religion is something reserved for only certain situations.

Christian: It sounds like you think religion is very important.

Non-Christian: Yeah, but I don’t know what I believe about God.

Christian: Is that something you’d like to find out more about?

Non-Christian: I think so. But where do you begin to find answers?

Christian: I think I’ve found some good answers. Would you be interested in what I’ve found?

By asking questions in our evangelism, our conversations can lead to conversions, rather than presentations that lead to preconceptions. An exchange of ideas might lead both participants to the truth of the gospel. For one participant, it will be the first arrival at that point; for the other participant, it will be a rediscovery and a new appreciation of the message of the Cross.


5 Responses to “Great Book Reviews: “Questioning Evangelism”….”

  1. I agree with what you said regarding the way that brother presented himself. It was accurate but not Christ-like. Or was it? Think for a minute with the way Christ spoke to the Pharisees or how John The Baptiste did? It was pretty harsh as well. But do we have that liberty at times? Of course Christ was 100% accurate since He knew their hearts. I personally think the dude could have been more polite in his approach but since he knew they were faulty in their doctrine was he correct? I say no since he could have brought them in to some truth in a more gentle manner. This may be an issue of preference even though I still agree the dude was a little too harsh not knowing the heart of those two men/Good post and I think it is time for you to write your first book!! LOL

  2. Still don’t know if a book’s possible at this point..& honestly, I’m a better speaker than I am a writer…..but hey, GOD’S MORE THAN ABLE TO WORK IN A MYRIAD OF WAYS Brah…

    By the way, thanks for sharing your comments (FINALLY, LOL). The thing that immediately came to my mind was Acts 17, where Paul dialouged AND REASONED with the people he was witnessing to/found common ground before moving to a presentation of the WORK/PERSON of CHRIST…..and it was in a way that was very humble yet effective, easy, and to a degree understandable (i.e. the “UNKNOWN” god)…..and that seemed to go in line with what the Word of God says in I Peter 3:15 about presenting one’s case with gentleness and respect.

    Those in the video, however, seemed to be very OBNOXIOUS and rude in their presentation….lacking even the BASIC THINGS one would think you should have in a conversation according to the Word of God.

  3. I agree brother. Thanks for the post. I linked to it at mine and posted my own simple and short analyzation too. Thanks again bro!

    jonathan chambers
    sheep of rob the shepherd
    and member of
    thanks again bro!

  4. Sorry, forgot the post:


  5. […] Check out a more extensive review on this video and its related topic at Emissary7! […]

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