When was the last time you explained the gospel to an unbeliever one-on-one or one-on-three in a more-or-less neutral or even hostile environment? That is how the gospel advances. I know that conversion is finally a work of God. God can sweep through a population with great power and bring countless thousands into the kingdom in very short order. But normally the God of the Bible uses means. He has ordained that the gospel will advance by the foolishness of the Word preached, by bearing witness to Christ.
~D. A. Carson~
Scandalous: The Cross and Resurrection of Jesus (Wheaton, IL; Crossway Books; 2010) p. 106
Books by D.A. Carson
The Bible’s bad news is not to be glossed over, hidden away, or avoided. Without the Bible’s bad news, its good news will have no meaning. The center of biblical theology is nonnegotiable for evangelism precisely because God saves people through judgment for his glory. If a man does not perceive that God is holy, righteous, just, and personally offended by transgressions, he will sense no need for Jesus.
God is holy, righteous, just, and personally offended by the sins we commit, and the more clearly we see this, the more deeply we will feel our desperate need for Jesus. God’s wrath makes his mercy beautiful. Without his wrath, his mercy has no meaning and no one has any need for it.
Seeing that the glory of God in salvation through judgment is the center of biblical theology will liberate us to announce the bad news so that the gospel will be seen as good news. Our culture tells so many lies about what it means to do evangelism that we need huge doses of the Bible to counteract the world’s poison. We must love God and know him in all his judging and saving glory so that we will have boldness to tell the truth.
God’s Glory in Salvation Through Judgment (Wheaton, IL; Crossway Books; 2010) p. 566-567
Books by James Hamilton
James Hamilton’s Blog
In much contemporary evangelism, there is little concern for whether or not God will accept us, and much concern for whether or not we will accept him. Little attention is paid to whether or not we please him, and much to whether or not he pleases us. Many popular evangelistic methods are molded by these considerations. As a result, there is far too little stress on God’s character and the requirements of the kingdom, and far too much stress on our needs. Worse, our needs are cast in preeminently psychological categories, not moral ones (alienation and loneliness, not bitterness and self-seeking and hatred; frustration and fear, not prayerlessness and unbelief). To top it off, peace, joy, and love are preached as desirable goals. These are desirable, but they suffer from two defects. First, virtues such as peace, joy, and love can easily be interpreted in merely personal, almost mystical terms. As a result, the biblical emphases on peace with God and with men, joy in the Lord, and tough-minded love which gives sacrificially to both God and men, are reduced to a warm, pleasant glow.
~D. A. Carson~
Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount and His Confrontation with the World (Grand Rapids, MI; Baker Books; 2004) Part One; Chapter 6: Conclusion to the Sermon on the Mount
Books by D.A. Carson
When we are dealing with people who think differently from us we cannot put the gospel of Christ to one side. Our faith in God is not just a philosophical belief in a supreme being; it is a life-changing experience of the one who has made us what we are. Everything we think, say, and do bears witness to this, and there is no aspect of our lives that is not affected by it. Other people need to under- stand the all-embracing depth of our convictions, even if they do not share them. Because we love them as we believe God loves them, we have a duty to tell them that what has happened to us can and ought to happen to them too. The treasure we have received is not for hoarding but for sharing, and it is our duty to go out and find those whom God has called to be his sheep.
God is Love: A Biblical and Systematic Theology (Wheaton, IL; Crossway Books; 2012) p. 19
Books by Gerald Bray