Item description for Tell the Truth: The Whole Gospel to the Whole Person by Whole People by Will Metzger...
Overview This revised and expanded version of the original Tell the Truth published in 1981 is written to address the concern that many Christians, entrusted with the gospel message, have forgotten the message and their responsibility to accurately convey it.
The recovery of a God-centered and grace-centered gospel is imperative, says Will Metzger. In the third edition of his critically-acclaimed training manual, he expands on the topics of grace and worship. And he emphasizes the centrality of sovereign, saving grace that completely exalts God. In addition, he offers a narrative approach to witnessing with the story "Come Home," training materials for Christians who want to learn God-centered evangelism, and a study guide on evangelism suitable for individuals or groups.
More than ever, Tell the Truth is ready to serve the church as a comprehensive, accessible, and effective guide to God-centered evangelism.
Publishers Description Will Metzger's training manual on the message and methods of God-centered evangelism is now in its third edition This revised and expanded version of the original guide published in 1981 is written to address the concern that many Christians, entrusted with the gospel message, have forgotten the message and their responsibility to accurately convey it.The recovery of a God-centered and grace-centered gospel is imperative, says Will Metzger. In the third edition of his critically-acclaimed training manual he expands on the topics of grace and worship. And he emphasizes the centrality of sovereign, saving grace that completely exalts God. In addition, he offers a narrative approach to witnessing with the story "Come Home," training materials for Christians who want to learn God-centered evangelism, and a study guide on evangelism suitable for individuals or groups.More than ever, Tell the Truth is ready to serve the church as a comprehensive, accessible and effective guide to God-centered evangelism.
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Studio: IVP Books
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 8.2" Width: 5.5" Height: 0.8" Weight: 0.75 lbs.
Release Date Nov 1, 2002
Publisher IVP-InterVarsity Press
ISBN 0830823220 ISBN13 9780830823222
Availability 0 units.
More About Will Metzger
Metzger has been a campus minister at the University of Delaware since 1965, where he serves with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship and Christian InterAction (a church and campus connection). His evangelism ministry has taken him to every continent, and he has witnessed to people from varied nationalities both on campus and through a church that he pastored.
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God-centered Evangelism Jan 15, 2007
PART ONE: THE WHOLE GOSPEL In the opening sentences of the first section of the book, the author recounts a personal experience. He tells the story of how he once listened to a speaker, teaching on the subject of Christian evangelism, gave the audience methods and techniques for personal evangelism. The author tells of how the techniques of the speaker amounted to developing a strategy of rolling the gospel up into a little tract which could be dropped out of a car window so that passers by could pick it up and "get the message of the gospel."
The author takes issue with sort of presentation of the gospel as so much less than an accurate representation of the message and person of Jesus Christ. He says that so often Christians, in their effort to develop a strategy for evangelism, dilute the gospel into a bandage for surface wounds rather than an answer to the deeper needs of reconciliation to God. Such an evangelistic approach ignores or mishandles the real issues of sin and separation while offering up a gospel which only attempts, but never even adequately addresses, peoples perceived needs of loneliness, lack of love, hurt, stress, and discouragement.
The author draws a clear distinction between the gospel and our testimony of it. In many modern Christian circles personal evangelism, and large scale evangelistic events and crusades for that matter, center around the retelling of personal testimonies of how a believer encountered God individually or how faith in God affected the life of a person positively. The author does not dismiss the possible power of the personal testimony in evangelism, but does clarify the difference between the gospel and a personal testimony.
"Why is it important to distinguish between gospel truths and testimony? In an age of religious pluralism, we find many who are testifying... To put it another way, never do we find Paul trying to prove the truth of Christianity to others `because of the difference it has made in my life.' " The truths of the gospel are steadfast and unchangeable. The author instructs us that while testimony has a place in evangelism, it is the ageless biblical truths of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ that comprise the gospel message.
The author describes how the gospel presentation methodologies have shifted considerably since the turn of the 20th century. Prior to that time it was understood that the gospel message contained intricacies and details that required significant mental and spiritual assent to gain their understanding. The gospel message, it was assumed, required much teaching to the unbeliever in order that the unregenerate person might come first into knowledge of their own sinfulness and need for a savior. It was only then that the person might, through faith, receive the fullness of the gospel message of repentance unto salvation.
The gospel message is not "a pill that will cure all." Though the message of the gospel does have essential and central components, according to the author, it is not easily packaged up into a simple formula which can be sprinkled upon the ears of unbelievers. This modern packaged gospel should be unpacked and presented in full and complete terms.
The modern notion of quickly mobilizing every Christian into evangelistic service, regardless of how well they do or do not understand the gospel message is based on faulty modern evangelistic methodologies which employ methods more than content. The author is laying out a plea for modern Christianity to "taste the difference between modern evangelism with its methods/me-centered gospel and the historic God-centered gospel.
PART TWO: TO THE WHOLE PERSON
In this section the author discusses the difference between regeneration and conversion. Regeneration is salvation from God's perspective. It is the instantaneous impartation of new life into the soul of a believer. It occurs at a specific moment in time, though it is likely that only God knows the exact moment this takes place. Conversion is salvation viewed from man's perspective. It is the entire process of God's grace working within an individual, bringing them to a point of commitment and identification with Christ in new birth. For some people this process takes years, though for some it may take only an hour.
The author effectively communicates the need to address the mind, emotions, and will of an individual with the truth of the gospel. He makes a convincing case that genuine faith is that which is based in the truth of the gospel, rather than spiritual religious experience alone. "He had never really been converted, for he did not make truth the criterion of experience. There was no submission of his rebellious mind to the authority of Scripture or his thoughts to the review of higher thoughts."
The author goes on to make the case for a balanced view of emotion in relationship to conversion and Christian living. Emotional responses to Christ are valid and are to be welcomed but if they ought to be kept in balance. No emotional response leads to a dry fervor-less faith. Overly emotional responses to Christ are easily brought out of balance and are likely to lead to an experience based faith which grows or diminishes in relation to how a person feels on a given day and in a given situation. The author encourages balanced emotional response which is led by truth and touches the heart!
The author discusses the will of the evangelized largely in relationship to motive. When the unbeliever is approached by an appeal to his or her will biblical content must accompany the appeal. "Why? Because such content is needed to instruct the mind in its choice and humble its sinful desires." According to the author, when evangelizing the lost it is imperative to take into consideration the whole person by means of biblical appeals which encourage unbelievers to open themselves to the power of the gospel on its terms.
WHOLLY BY GRACE
In this section the author makes the plea for God-centered evangelism. The author asserts, very much in line with a reformed theological position that, "we exist to benefit God, not vise versa." This section is where the author "shows his theological cards." He puts forth a treatise for a reformed evangelistic model where the glory God is the ends and not one of many means. God alone is autonomous and he is the beginning and end of reality. Whatever he does is, by logical necessity, good.
God created humanity in order to express his glorious nature. Evangelism, therefore, is an act of worship as we gather people into a loving relationship with God that he might be glorified by them as well. The recognition of the divine sovereignty of God is an essential component to biblical evangelism. God is full of grace and desires to pardon sinners to bring them into fellowship with him. As we evangelize the lost we are pointing others toward the grace of God in recognition of his sovereign will. We are not manipulating them, with selfish desires or perceived needs, into placing their trust in a "tooth fairy" God. We are steering them toward worship of their King. It is grace that makes salvation possible. God, in his unending mercy, saves though who place their trust in him. His grace is the essence of salvation, not mans free will. Man can only respond to the grace of God and be saved.
Man's will is freed to respond by the grace and power of the Holy Spirit moving in the life of the believer. In the end it is not man who seeks God but God's grace is poured out abundantly to those who will receive it.
OFFERED BY WHOLE PEOPLE
In an age of religious pluralism and intolerance to anything perceived as absolute, it is often difficult for Christians to feel free to share the gospel with others. Friends and coworkers may seem, or in fact be, hostile. The author asserts that believers who understand their fullness in Christ can be empowered to witness. In fact, as a believer recognizes the beauty and fullness of the God they serve, they will likely be naturally drawn into witnessing as an expression of worship to God.
The author provides some rather practical insight into how to communicate personally with various types of unbelievers. The author encourages the reader to know to whom they are speaking in order to be more effective as communicators of the gospel. The author gives the reader some very sound questions to ask in order to steer a conversation toward opportunities to genuinely and honestly share the gospel message.
GOAL OF THE AUTHOR
The author's goal is clearly to offer a God-centered view on evangelism and evangelistic techniques. In this regard Metzger is right on target! The author does not stray from his task at all during the course of the book. He supports his claims well and provides clear thoughts which are easily understood and received by the reader.
STRENGTHS OF THE BOOK
The book is well written and follows a logical thought progression. The author begins the work by describing some of the things that are wrong and ineffective with common methods for evangelism and then lays out his strategy.
The book is incredibly insightful and easy to understand. For the professional the book is a valuable resource. For the laymen it is equally valuable.
WEAKNESSES OF THE BOOK
For those who do not appreciate a reformed view of the sovereignty of God there may be some sticky points in the book. The strict proponent of free will Armenianism is likely to take some issue with the overtly reformed, or Calvinistic, tone of the evangelism model. The author has presented a fair presentation with the support of scripture, however, and the book should appeal to a varied audience.
COMPARISON WITH OTHER BOOKS ON THE TOPIC
This book presents a picture of evangelism very much in keeping with J.I. Packer's "Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God" as well as John Piper's "Let the Nations Rejoice." Both of these books are equally excellent books on the subject. Like Piper and Packer, Metzger presents a view that evangelism is as expression of worship as we gather people into the recognition of their need for reconciliation to God. This book is as well written and as accessible as both of these modern classics of evangelistic writing from a reformed perspective.
This book is a must read for any believer who wants to know why he or she should share the gospel with others. It is also a valuable tool for learning how to share the gospel through personal evangelism. The case for God-centered evangelism is well presented and convincing. The practical tools toward the end of the book are easily understood and as easily applied. This book is, in the opinion of the reviewer, the strongest book on the topic of personal evangelism available.
A Good View of God in the Gospel Dec 7, 2006
Firstly, he is concerned with the content of the Gospel message. He discusses the definition of witnessing, how we as human beings distort the Gospel message, and what a true Gospel message includes. In this section he lists five primary points of the Gospel. The five points he mentions are: God, the law and love, being separated or holy, the provision in Jesus Christ, and our response. He says that in our witnessing we must define God and understand who our audience is. He explains how the Scripture carries a double message of both law and love, and further how they are to interact. He writes about the conviction of sin and how the grace of God is apprehended in Christ Jesus. Finally he concludes his five primary points by explaining what is necessary in a call to respond. He also includes what he says is the controlling element in evangelism and the goal of evangelism. One of the memorable quotes in this part one section is: "Well-meaning Christians dilute the Gospel into a bandage for surface wounds and medicine for selfish wishes. The deeper need of reconciliation with their Maker on his terms of unconditional surrender is omitted" (24). The author wants to make clear that witnessing involves persuading people to turn to God, yet the actual results are not ours. Metzger includes graphs that illustrate the difference between me-centered and God-centered gospel content. Secondly, the author is concerned with the conversion of the whole person. In this part he explains how some seem to heavily change in one area knowledge, emotions, or will, at the time of conversion. Yet, the author points out is it is important that we emphasize not only an objective understanding of gospel content, but also the emotional effect of that content. Metzger says that the me-centered approach to evangelism helps perpetuate this effect of not reaching the whole person. To illustrate this point Metzger quotes James Denny's The Death of Christ: A man is sitting on a pier fishing on the calm summer day. Suddenly another man comes running down the pier, dives into the water, and drowns. Having witnessed this, I explained to the fisherman, "This man died for you!" The fisherman, however, has great trouble understanding why the man needed to die for him. After all, he was in no danger that he could see. .... Denny says that the parable of the fishermen unaware of his peril reflects the way modern day evangelists often present the gospel. They minimize human depravity, and so the preaching of the cross loses its power (111). Thirdly, the author asserts that grace is the foundation for evangelism. He discusses the meaning of grace, why grace make salvation possible, and some of the things that distort grace. The author says that we have a compulsion to earn salvation and again promotes the idea that we have to be God-centered instead of me-centered. An interesting point is that the author argues that the image of God in human beings was defaced but not erased, which is often a point of argument for Arminians to say that sinful beings still have choice. Yet, he goes on to say that our wills are captive to our natural desires, which would indicate that we are not free to choose what is good and right. It is his belief that if we must become God-centered. Some of the myths that distort grace are relying upon our `inalienable' rights, or human goodness, and reliance upon our `free will.' Metzger refers his readers to Jonathan Edwards as recommended reading concerning decision-making according to our own motives and desires. In describing God's grace, the author attempts to explain, mostly in theological terms; the questions that man brings up concerning his part in salvation. For instance: "The doctrine of God's sovereignty is that God selects those on whom his favor will rest. God is self-determined. He has supreme independence; he is autonomous - a law unto himself. As each goes to their appointed destination in the afterlife, no one will shake their fist at God, saying, "I didn't get what I deserved." except, of course, for the person in heaven" (141)! Finally in this section, Metzger discusses the response to the whole gospel. He says that worship is both the passion and purpose of evangelism. The author believes that evangelism comes second to worship, that worship focuses us towards a Redeemer who saves us, and that worship (like evangelism) engages the whole person. Fourthly, Metzger's final part involves who the Gospel is offered by. He asserts that ordinary Christians can make an effective gospel presentation. This includes fears about witnessing, reasoning with people, and simple conversation. Metzger explains how our society has developed concerning pluralism and relativism, and how people have unconscious beliefs about the world. When relating the gospel personally, the writer says that we must be careful not to shift the focus to our personality and experience, but include essential elements of the Gospel message. He concludes the textual section of the book by describing some practical effects of grace-centered evangelism with a goal leading to discipleship. True conversion leads to sincere obedience, a love for the brethren, and a life of service. Appendix A consists of training materials for learning God-Centered evangelism, which includes preparing a testimony and answering questions. Appendix B includes a diagram that assists a person in presenting the gospel. Appendix C is a twelve session study of the whole book. Appendix D is an essay on why "doctrine is not an obscene word." I appreciate the authors' attempts to provide a whole or holistic view concerning evangelism and the book provided a catalyst to think more about my views concerning the topic, yet I did find some theological difficulties that I continue to struggle with. For instance, the author says, "This book is about the scandal of sovereign salvation. In it, I blame God for salvation, in the sense that he is totally responsible. .... It's all God's fault - a grace that gives response-ability to the spiritually dead" (13). But then, of the uses some relatively weak words to say that actually this totally responsible God only "woos" us from death to life. Certainly, this is the age old theological debate; but I believe that it is worth mentioning. I can appreciate and even agree with Metzger's seemingly strong Calvinistic views, but in approaching a more holistic view of evangelism these problems will become apparent. Metzger says, "All my questions can be boiled down to one: what was the way to witness that would be shaped by a high view of a Creator-Redeemer God who does not merely make salvation available but actually empowers a person to respond by repenting and receiving" (18)? He also titles a section of the book: Not Free Will But A Freed Will, which implies that free will without God's grace is really not free will at all. But essentially, I do agree that the author does a good job of a holistic view concerning a presentation of the Gospel. It does include what the Gospel is, who presents the Gospel, and what some of the questions concerning those two elements. I found work to be somewhat extensive in its topics and helpful in explaining the situation we find ourselves in today as we attempt to be God's messengers, bringing a message, to those who do not realize that they need to hear it.
Obscure the Truth Nov 30, 2006
"Let us be willing to test our spiritual experiences and evangelistic practices by Scripture," Pastor Will Metzger implores (51). Regrettably, Pastor Metzger was loathe to follow his own sound advice, opting instead to test his and the rest of Christendom's spiritual experiences and evangelistic practices by the standards laid down so long ago in the Westminster Confession of Faith (1646). And that is the main reason this latest revised and expanded edition of his ironically titled Tell The Truth (Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 2002) remains a wealth of hyper-Calvinistic misinformation.
Twenty-one years after the first printing of Tell The Truth (hereafter, TTT), Pastor Metzger remains deeply troubled that increasingly cynical Christendom is still attempting to evangelize the unbelieving world by showing only the attractive parts of the gospel message, and as a result are creating a vast army of God-damned (literally) pseudo-converts. Pastor Will, who began his career as a campus minister on the staff of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship at the University of Delaware the same year Sir Winston Churchill departed for his eternal reward (1965), believes a return to "biblical evangelism" can reverse the curse of "me-centered" evangelism (38). And so TTT attempts to remedy the current sorry situation by explaining fully the content of the gospel (part 1: pp. 23-86); insuring that gospel message converts intellect, emotions, and will, i.e. the entire soul (part 2: pp. 87-111); explaining proper Calvinistic soteriology (part 3: 112-158); and learning how to competently defend and communicate the faith (part 4: 159-207). If for some reason the reader feels the need to have the main points of TTT rehearsed and/or get some idea how they might be put to good use in the real world, Pastor Metzger offers appendixes A-D (pp. 208-259).
In Pastor Metzger's considered (read: Reformed Church tradition) opinion, the numerous miracles performed by 1st century A.D. evangelists in the book of Acts may be hanged, because there are really only two ways to proclaim Christ: "The airplane of Christian witness has two wings: our lives (conduct) and our lips (conversation)" (25). Strangely, Pastor Metzger offers no scriptural reference(s) to buttress this rather sweeping claim. The omission is particularly glaring given the bitterness of the complaint he voices in TTT's introductory chapter: "Why is there such reticence to examine the biblical basis for methods of witness (especially if they are the ones our church uses)?" (17). The irony is already palpable.
Just a few pages later Pastor Metzger folds and tucks away one of his two wings of Christian witness, observing that numerous religious persuasions and philosophies will also produce positive, observable changes in conduct capable of impressing others (28). But a few pages later the wing is reopened by Pastor Metzger, who now declares new converts may safely conclude they are truly saved when "they see the fruits of a changing life" (38). Fine.
Pastor Metzger next reminds that "in the book of Acts we see the apostles as teachers--reasoning, persuading, explaining--involved in all sorts of teaching activity in order to communicate as much truth as possible to nonbelievers" (34). Unfortunately Pastor Metzger omits the fact that secularists, Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, and numerous other cult leaders are also actively engaged as teachers--reasoning, persuading, explaining--involved in all sorts of teaching activity in order to communicate as much "truth" as possible to nonbelievers. The all-important difference is that unlike these false witnesses of God, the apostles were able to perform many wonders and signs (Acts 2:43). Those signs and wonders authenticated the apostles' divine bona fides, just as they had previously authenticated Jesus Christ's divine bona fides, and the divine bona fides of the true prophets' of the OT before him.
(Where exactly in the NT did Pastor Metzger read that God would go into semi-retirement immediately after giving the apostle John a revelation of the future? Where?)
Pastor Metzger spends the rest of part one differentiating between "me-centered evangelism," i.e., spreading Christianity by emphasizing the many personal benefits that will attend salvation, and "biblical evangelism," i.e. five-point Calvinism. "Conversion is both a turning from and a turning toward" Pastor Metzger insists (67-68). "Both law and love are basic ingredients in telling the gospel story" Pastor M. admonishes (71). Consciences need to be pricked. People must be made to understand that they do not have proprietary rights to their own lives, God does.
Pastor M. is not keen on encouraging new converts to make a public confession of their faith, ala Romans 10:9-10. He thinks they should be left alone to meditate on Scriptures like Isaiah 53, Psalm 51, and Galatians 2:20 (76). Apparently never having read Acts 16:31 or Philippians 2:11, Pastor M. declares "There is not one exhortation in Scripture to `accept Christ as Lord,'" (77).
On page 79 Pastor M. lists three ways to know you are saved. The first is when you "trust in the promises of God as being promises to you." The second is "a change in your attitude and actions corresponding to the fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5) and the marks of salvation (1 Jn)" (Pastor M. ignores his earlier observation that New Agers can also experience profound attitude changes). The third assurance of salvation is "the inner witness of God's Spirit to your spirit." Pastor M. does not unpack that statement, leaving it to the reader to exegete what he will from it. By marked contrast, the gospel writer Mark recorded Jesus' decidedly different criteria for determining who is saved:
And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well. (16:17-18).
Part two tries to distinguish professors of Christianity from possessors of same in order to increase more of the latter. Conversion is a process, not an event Pastor M. cautions. Christianity is not a self improvement plan; it is God's method for restoring you to fellowship with Him. Converts need "to ask God for faith," since "they are not choosing to be saved" (91). Pastor M. then presents a short, biased analysis of the age-old Arminian-Calvinism debate on soteriology, concluding that the five points of Calvinism are "orthodox theology ... in need of further filling out" (109).
Part three, "Wholly by Grace," is largely a continuation of the Calvinist rant begun in part two. Pastor M. admits the arbitrary election of a relative handful to heaven and the overwhelming majority to hell is not fair, but hey, God is sovereign, and He would have been justified to throw everyone in hell, not just almost everyone. Humanity's free will has been disabled by sin, and now it cannot choose anything but sin (if that is true, and doing right is not an option, how could sin then be termed a "choice?"). "God hides the truth from some people. He doesn't reveal himself or Jesus to them. Why (Lk 10:21-22)?" (146). Pastor M. misinterprets that passage in Luke to mean intelligent people are tricked into unbelief by a vengeful or capricious God, as opposed to them being deserving victims of their own misplaced self-confidence.
Part four begins by enumerating some of the difficulties philosophical pluralism creates for successful evangelism. Pastor M. defends Christian exclusivity by referring to John 14:6: Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." Pastor M. ignores the fact that Jesus' comments were offered to his own disciples at a private gathering, not addressed to the masses in general during a public sermon.
Pastor M. observes all religious faiths save Christianity require its adherents "to do something" (165). Pastor M. apparently has not noticed that repenting, confessing, baptizing, trusting, etc., are verbs.
Pastor M. believes the evangelistic value of Christian apologetics is limited. "God's chosen instrument in conversion is His Word, not our reasoning ability" (169). In that case we can only pity that great swath of humanity that was never taught how to read, or could never afford to purchase a copy of Scripture, or never had the Word translated into their native tongue.
Pastor M. soon changes his mind about God's chosen instrument in conversion. "Prayer for others is the supreme God ordained method in evangelism" (178) As usual, Pastor M. offers no scriptural support for his emphatic, sweeping statement. He goes on to say "evangelism is asking the right questions" (189), but once again cites no NT anecdote to support his contention. Besides asking all the right questions, the Christian evangelist also needs to make sure an unbeliever understands "the impossibility of ... exercising faith on their own" (203). Fine.
In summary, Tell The Truth proffers a pneumatology, a soteriology, and a strategy for evangelism that seems alien to those described in the book of Acts. When all is said and done, TTT is hoisted by its own petard: "... to be unwilling to evaluate our evangelism in the light of the Bible is to not take Scripture seriously" (19).
Telling Gospel Truth Oct 22, 2005
Theology matters in evangelism. A man-centered theology will result in man-centered evangelism. But a God-centered theology will bring forth the fruit of a God-centered evangelism to the glory of Christ. Will Metzger in Tell the Truth seeks to set forth a gospel theology which will compel a faithful proclamation of the name of the Lord. He argues for a holistic presentation of the gospel to the entire person by complete people. In other words our witness must present the whole gospel to the whole person by whole people.
The truth of the gospel has become only a watered down version presented in man-centered theology. Yet, Metzger rejects this reduced gospel and argues that it is imperative to recover the full glory of the gospel to present a faithful witness to the world. Humanity must see the depth of their depravity. They must feel the burden of sin heavy upon their backs. Then they must look up to the cross of Christ, falling down on their knees, where their burden will be lifted. He writes, "You will find that as people begin to grasp the significance of God as creator and man as the sinful creature, they begin to sense that Christ has done exactly what is needed for their dilemma" (71). This is the heart of the gospel which must be recovered.
The gospel of God is for the whole person. Biblical conversion radically changes the mind, emotions and will. The regenerative work of the Spirit takes our hard stony hearts and recreates them into soft and malleable vessels for his use. Conversion is not mere intellectual assent, but a grasping of the gospel with heart, mind and soul. Metzger writes, "We must forsake any kind of evangelism that either overtly exalts the mind or unduly neglects it" (98). Yet, in exalting truth we must not forsake our emotions. Our emotions are to be stirred.
We must proclaim the truth of the gospel to the mind with passion all the while calling for a response. The will cannot be forsaken for if no response is called for; if no change of life is required than the gospel has not been preached. The gospel is calling sinners to embrace Christ. "True evangelists do pop the question. In fact, we are to plead, command, invite and beg" (106)! The gospel is for the whole person.
In a day where methods are placed over the message Metzger succeeds wonderfully in explaining the glorious gospel message of Jesus Christ. In particular, his insistence on the proper use of the law and gospel in evangelism serves as a much needed corrective to an often lopsided gospel presentation (53-82). Many evangelism methods today focus on the "simple gospel message" but fail in declaring the whole gospel by leaving out the law. They tout that Jesus is the answer, but they have forgotten the question. Without the law there can be no gospel. Without sin there is no grace.
The law of God convicts of sin but it is powerless to save. Metzger binds the law and the gospel together thus upholding the biblical message of hope for unbelievers. The law of God must be espoused within the context of the love of God (68-69). Sin would not be known if it were not for the law and the poor sinner would recoil at an angry God unless redeemed by the grace of Christ. It is in recognition of sin that grace is made known. Grace cannot be grace without sin and the convicting work of God's law.
Metzger also lays the axe to the root of false assurance based upon a past profession of faith without the semblance of any present fruit (79-81). There are many who believe that they are Christians because when they were little they prayed a prayer of salvation at Sunday school. Yet, Metzger debunks this false security by effectively arguing that what matters most is not a past profession but a present possession. He writes, "Our eternal security should be focused not on remote past actions but on our present attitude toward Christ" (81).
Metzger's work is a shining spot on the horizon of writing on evangelism for he exalts the sovereignty of God but forsakes not the responsibility of human words and actions. By lifting up God as sovereign hope is assured to those who seek to evangelize the lost. Evangelism centered on human methods and a truncated message will be left ultimately standing dependent on the will of man. However, a God-centered evangelism believes in the biblical hope that Christ purchased people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation (Rev. 5:9). The faithful evangelist can rest in the sure promises of God that his word will not return void. The gospel proclaimed will not vanish off echoing into non-existence. It will be heard, it will be believed and it will be obeyed.
Lastly, it should be briefly noted that Metzger places evangelism within its proper context in the total and comprehensive plan and purpose of God. Evangelism is at best secondary to worship which is number one on God's agenda. He writes, "Worship is our response to his extreme grace" (152). And yet worship and evangelism exist in a reciprocal relationship. One cannot worship without first believing in Christ through the tool of evangelism. And worship brings a deeper understanding of the grace of God which is the natural compelling factor in evangelism. Evangelism brings forth worship and worship constrains evangelism. Evangelism is not an end in itself, but only a means to the end which is worship.
Metzger gives us a gospel saturated book on gospel centered evangelism. He gives cogency and clarity on the nature and reality of our hope - the gospel. He exemplifies the necessity of reaching the whole person: mind, emotions, will. And he reminds us that God uses broken clay pots to carry the thirst-quenching wine of his gospel. In short, he holds forth the gospel as our hope and motivation to bring the message of Christ to a world at enmity with the Sovereign creator of the universe.
Finally An Evangelism Book Focused On God Aug 17, 2004
Most evangelism books that I have read focus on methods and numbering results without giving true honour to the King of kings and the Lord of lords (1 Timothy 6:15) but this is not the case with Will Metzger's book. He truly seeks to establish a God-centered approach to evangelism that is refreshing and encouraging to read.
Metzger's book is not a "how to" manuel for evangelism although he does give you a great overview of the true gospel message and helps the believer to understand that witnessing is made less difficult when we realise that our purpose is to simply tell the whole gospel to the whole person. Metzger challenges modern evangelism by asserting that the message of the gospel is not just the person of Christ but the doctrines of grace.
Overall if you are looking for a book on evangelism than purchase this book today. You will enjoy the study questions at the end of the book that make this book quite easy for small group Bible studies or personal studies. It's time to allow the sovereignty of God to be involved in evangelism and yet it's also time to proclaim the entire gospel to the nations (Matthew 28:19-20) and exalt our awesome God!