Book Reviews

The Seven Principles of an Evangelistic Life

Douglas M. Cecil Chicago 2003-06-01

This helpful guide to faithful and effective evangelism focuses on two major keys to an evangelistic lifestyle, “Personal Preparation” and “Practical Proclamation.”

In part one the first principle, “Keep your priorities straight,” provides a firm foundation with three commands from John 15, “Abide in Jesus, love one another, and reach the world.”

Principles two and three, “Evangelism is an event in the process of disciple-making” and “Make the gospel clear,” provide direction through murky waters. Cecil shows that evangelism takes place at a point in time and is related to a clear communication of humanity’s sinful condition and Christ’s death and resurrection. True evangelism provides this information and an invitation for a faith response. Common misconceptions related to these biblical basics are corrected.

The fourth principle, “Evangelism is more spiritual than methodological,” challenges every believer to be a source of  “living water.” “The question in evangelism is not how you can get better equipped or find the newest and latest method of sharing the Good News. The main question in evangelism is, What’s holding you back?” (p. 99). The book outlines how to make sharing Jesus Christ a passion.

Part two, “Practical Proclamation,” includes helpful instructions on how to be an effective witness; how to get involved in ministry and service; and how to disciple, nurture, and assimilate new believers into the church. Cecil offers wise counsel to utilize aggressive evangelism (one’s “talk”) in brief, casual encounters and relational evangelism (one’s “walk”) in more extended, deeper relationships. He provides steps on how to organize church evangelistic outreach and offers instructions on how to use one’s personal testimony, perhaps the most effective means of evangelism.

Every Christian can benefit immensely from this helpful volume by Dallas Seminary’s director of alumni and church relations. Renewed relationship with the Lord will result in a life characterized by evangelism. This book provides essential keys to spiritual vitality and compassionate outreach. 

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