Will Metzger of Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship, begins his treatise reminding us of the Apostle Paul’s declaration that he had “not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.” (Acts 20:27). As a new believer he began to question the salesmanship approach to evangelism. Why would we borrow a format when God’s Word gives us all we need to evangelize our friends, families and others?
In his section on “The Whole Gospel”, Metzger discussed the terms “evangelism,”
“witness,” and “soul-winning.” He concludes by reminding his readers that “The chief end of man” is not to be a soul-winner, but “to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.” (Westminster Catechism). This is not said to speak lightly of “soul-winning” but rather to distinguish the two terms (soul-winning; glorifying God). They are not synonymous. Luke 24: 44-48 relates a time when Christ taught his disciples from the Scriptures and His Work on the cross leading to repentance and remission of sins. We are to be witnesses of these things. In a court of law, a witness gives an eyewitness account of the truth regarding the event in question.
Dr. Lloyd-Jones studied the Word of God, especially the Book of Acts, the Epistles, and the Life of Christ. Also, we can learn from Church history, especially during those times of revival. From his study, Lloyd-Jones came to the following conclusions:
- The main goal in evangelism is to glorify God, not to save souls.
- The work of the Holy Spirit, not our own strength produces results.
- Only through the Scriptures does the Spirit work.
- These truths give us the true motivation for evangelism – a zeal for God and a love of others.
- Beware, heresy is a constant danger.
Metzger contrasts man-centered and God-centered efforts in evangelism in the areas of the view of God, view of humanity, view of Christ and view of response to Christ. For example, the point of contact in the man-centered view of God is that God loves the individual. On the other hand, the God-centered view presents God as the individual’s creator with authority in his life. Will Metzger presents the dangers of truncating the gospel in some simple package and favoring method-centered evangelism over message-centered.
In the chapter, The Gospel Recovered, Metzger fleshes out his previous outline with more details and Scriptures. God is presented as Creator and Redeemer; Man is presented as the Sinful Creature; Christ is presented as the merciful redeemer; and finally, Our necessary response to be united to Christ.
In section two, “To the Whole Person: Conversion of the Total Person,” Metzger quotes I Thessalonians 1:4-10, pointing out that believers in Thessalonica had turned from idols to Christ and those around could see the difference in their lives. Our author reminds us that when the whole gospel is not declared there results many professors, not possessors. To the mind, the whole gospel informs and humbles the mind rather than produce intellectualism. To the emotions, the whole gospel shows love and touches the heart, not producing mere emotionalism. To the will, the whole gospel invites, persuades and demands allegiance to a new master, not appeal natural desires
Finally, in the third section, “Offered by Whole People: Character and Communication in Witnessing,” the author discusses the normal Christian evangelist and how to communicate personally with others. Throughout the book, Metzger uses Scriptures to drive his conclusions. He provides worksheets or study guides for different topics present in the book. Whether you agree with everything Metzger writes, his book provides a good study guide for any Christian wanting to obey Christ in this very important area of life.
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