Book Review: Questioning Evangelism

Questioning Evangelism:  Engaging People’s Hearts The Way Jesus Did, by Randy Newman

[Note:  This book was provided free of charge by Kregel Book Tours.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.]

As someone who has always been very fond of asking questions and who is intrigued by the debate within Christian circles concerning the matter of evangelism [1], this book greatly intrigued me.  Those who look at the title of this book alone may think that the author is questioning evangelism, but in reality the book champions the use of leading questions as a way of overcoming objections and getting to the heart of what is on the minds of those whom one is talking with.  The author has clearly thought through the implications of some of the concerns that many people have with apologetics, in that dry and philosophical answers do not address the concerns of the heart that are at the basis of many of the issues that people have with Christianity and Christians, and that makes this book one that will likely be greatly appreciated by those engaged in efforts at Christian outreach.  The fact that this book is in its second edition speaks highly of its continued worth.

In writing this book the author expressed concern that people would use it as a template for what to say instead of a guide to help the reader develop an approach of asking questions.  This concern appears to be a valid one given the fact that the author includes such a large amount of sample dialogue in this work as a demonstration of the author’s approach, which means that some unwary users may be very likely to use it as a catechism instead of as illustrative.  This tendency to seek after scripts and templates is all too common.  At any rate, this book includes thirteen chapters in three parts.  After a foreword by Lee Strobel, a preface to the second edition, acknowledgments, and a short introduction, the first part of the book examines why we should ask questions by telling us why questions are better than answers, what the book of Proverbs tells us about questions, and how questions pave the way for answers.  The second part of the book looks at questions that people have about God and Christians, often of an unfriendly nature.  The third part of the book looks at the insufficiency of mere questions and answers by asking the reader to take a look at their own heart and their own motives and the importance of silence in providing a context to what is said.  Some of us are not very good at silence.

Overall, this book can be characterized by a few qualities that will make it a much appreciated work on the subject of evangelism.  For one, the author shows himself highly respectful of others and greatly interested in what they think and feel.  This always bodes well for someone being able to successfully communicate in the face of continual threats of misunderstanding.  Likewise, the author is pretty humble about his own struggles and his own growth process when it came to being able to successfully communicate with other people and use questions to get at the real issues that people were wrestling with.  This is not an ordinary book on apologetics that seeks to overwhelm opponents with logic, but rather a work that uses questions to discern where someone is coming from in order to help give an answer that meets them where they are rather than pummeling them with unwelcome truth expressed in an uncharitable fashion.  There are more than a few writers I am familiar with that could use a lot more of the approach given here.

[1] See, for example:

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
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6 Responses to Book Review: Questioning Evangelism

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