Item description for Evangelism for "Normal" People: Good News for Those Looking for a Fresh Approach by John Bowen...
Overview John P. Bowen's Evangelism for "Normal" People is tuned in to today's world. Without being simplistic, this book gives clear direction, is a combination of personal journey, biblical and theological grounding and stories of real people and situations.
Publishers Description Noted author and teacher John Bowen takes a unique look at what it means to witness to one's faith. Evangelism is something that all Christians can do as a "normal" part of being a follower of Jesus. Witty, wise, and biblically grounded, the book challenges in a gentle way. Includes study questions for congregational use.
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John R. Bowen is Dunbar-Van Cleve Professor in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis, and recurrent Visiting Professor at the London School of Economics. He has been studying Islam and society in Indonesia since the late 1970s, and since 2001 has worked in France, England, and North America on problems of pluralism, law, and religion, in particular on contemporary efforts to rethink Islamic norms and civil law. His most recent books are A New Anthropology of Islam (2012) and Blaming Islam (2012).
John Bowen has an academic affiliation as follows - Washington University, St Louis University of Keele University of Keel.
Reviews - What do customers think about Evangelism for "Normal" People: Good News for Those Looking for a Fresh Approach?
Foundational to Evangelistic Efforts - A Must Read Sep 4, 2007
I can't recommend this more highly! In the last year or so, I've read several great books on evangelism. Share Jesus Without Fear & Evangelism Explosion are great with "techniques." Out of the Saltshaker is a classic. Master Plan of Evangelism is superb and a must-read. Living Proof: Sharing the Gospel Naturally is wonderful. I highly recommend all these books. But I have to put Evangelism for Normal People in a class by itself. It started out slow, in a way that I though he was "watering down" the whole topic. But as it got rolling, my whole perspective on evangelism started changing in a more biblical direction. Bowen' treats the big picture of evangelism, encompassing much more of what the Bible has to say on the topic beyond the usual, commonly cited verses. The net result is a perspective on evangelism with greater biblical fidelity and therefore greater likelihood of "success." This is not a book on "personal evangelism methods," in the sense you may think. It is more a book about spreading the good news, getting more souls into the fold, and having their lives transformed by God's grace. With that said, there is a good outline or plan of "how to." You just aren't going to get the usual clever witnessing techniques and dialog examples of "how to share your faith" you may expect out of an evangelism book. Yet this book is not just a lot of blah, blah, blah. It is a real plan to make you and your community an evangelistic community that is a conduit of God's grace and mercy. While the philosophy and approach may be different from the other books mentioned above, it is not incompatible with them. It emphasizes more the role that the community of believers - as a community - plays in evangelism. The role the individual plays is, however, spelled out too. If you are interested in the spread of the faith, get this book!
Intelligent and Passionate Aug 24, 2004
This is probably the most significant book on evangelism written by a Canadian since Don Posterski's "Reinventing Evangelism." John Bowen is on a quest to discover what evangelism might look like for "normal" people who do not see themselves as evangelists or who may even be suspicious of evangelists. In his characteristic witty style, the "normal" person is contrasted with the "flasher" evangelist who assaults people's sensibilities with inappropriate expressions of spiritual exhibitionism. His purpose is "to help rescue evangelism from the red light district of the church and put it back on the main street of church life, where it belongs" (16). This is not just another "how to" book on lifestyle evangelism. It is particularly appealing because it is well grounded in missiology and seeks to address a number of critical issues in the encounter of the evangel and western culture, in particular. It is refreshing to read a book on evangelism that draws from theology of mission as well as the contributions of people like Lamin Sanneh, Paul Hiebert and Lesslie Newbigin. There are many strengths to commend about this book and a few weaknesses to note. At least some discussion of the postmodern mindset and the unique challenge this presents to the Christian communicator would seem to be essential in chapters that deal with translation and cultural sensitivity. Perhaps Bowen felt that other books on evangelism have already explored this topic well. Likewise, the theme of "belonging before believing" is not developed nearly as well as it is in Rick Richardson's "Evangelism Outside the Box." There are also times when Bowen's emphasis on the Christian community's role in evangelism seems to eclipse the individual Christian's responsibility. The strengths of this book far outweigh any of the concerns outlined above. Bowen's writing style is engagingly personal, narrative and witty. At the same time he lays a solid biblical/theological foundation and goes on to tease out the implications of the biblical material for an application to the postmodern pluralistic context of the West. The language of the book is accessible to lay people and appropriate for use as a small group study book. At the same time, the breadth of biblical work and application to contemporary issues make it suitable as a textbook for an evangelism course.
The 'natural' way! Mar 10, 2004
Bowen takes seriously the complaints/reflections of un-churched or de-churched people. His key image is to contrast correct evangelism with what he calls "flasher" evangelism. In his view, many approach evangelism as a project that is accomplished by formula in a 'flash' with no real interest in the life experience of the person they are attempting to convert. We need to educate ourselves about our neighbors lives. With Buddhists, Muslims, Mormons, Jews, etc. If we are going to be intentional about reaching out to others we must come with questions -- not statements. Statements can come later, as offerings to be 'tasted' by our new friends. Christians (like those of many faiths) have a mixed record with our non-Christian neighbors, we need to let our actions speak first, prove ourselves authentic to Christ's teaching (as best we can) then be committed to friendship WHETHER OR NOT we are convincing/converting our neighbors. To do otherwise is misrepresent Jesus.