Book Review: Evangelism in a Skeptical World – Dr Ben Tong


from Luke’s Journal 2020 | #CMDFAlyf | Vol. 25 No. 1

Ben Tong - Book review - cover

Sam Chan’s Evangelism in a Skeptical World is a book that provides great insights into the difficulties we face in telling people about Jesus in our cultural context. Having heard sam Chan speak on the topic a few times before, I have long been keen to read his book in order to learn how I can better approach relationships and gospel- hearted conversations with my non-Christian friends.

The book digs deep into a variety of topics – everything from the basics of “What is evangelism?” and simple everyday “strategies for sharing Jesus”, to the importance of giving people a “contextualised gospel” and “gospel-cultural hermeneutics”. (If you’re anything like I was, right about now you’re thinking, “What the heck is hermeneutics?!”)

Whilst there were times when reading the book that I did start to feel that I was getting lost in technical terms and theory, at those moments I would come across refreshing gold nuggets of wisdom, or relatable real life examples. These often served to highlight just how accurate Sam Chan’s observations seemed to be and how important it is for us to understand them if we are going to be effective witnesses for Christ.

How the book has challenged me

This book has challenged me in many different ways. In particular, it has highlighted the importance for me to develop a variety of methods in order to effectively convey the gospel message in conversations with friends.

Additionally, I now better understand that whilst it is important to present the gospel as a truth that needs to be believed, in our cultural context “facts, evidence, and data” are unlikely to convince a person of the gospel on their own. Thus,

I feel it is essential that I work at putting more effort into recognising the hopes, dreams, and aspirations within my friends; what desires underlie them; and how the gospel ultimately fulfils these for them.

Why you should read it

In Matthew 28:19-20 Jesus says these words:

“Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” (NIV)

As disciples of Christ, this command also stands for us. We are to be ambassadors for Christ and have a responsibility to tell friends, family, and others around us about the gospel. In order to do this well we need to be appropriately equipped to do so. Evangelism in a Skeptical World details a number of different ways to better equip yourself (and others) in having gospel- hearted conversations. If you’re serious about telling people about Jesus then you really need to read this book!

Ben Tong - photoDr Ben Tong is first and foremost a child of God. He currently works as an unaccredited Emergency Department trainee in Newcastle, and will soon start GP training in 2020. CMDFA and Newcastle Med Bible Study were always a big part of his years at Uni. He tries to stay connected where he can, attending CMDFA events as much as shift work allows!

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