Personal Evangelism for Today
G. William Schweer, Broadman Press, Nashvilk, Tennessee, 1984, $9.95, paper. Reviewed by Dennis Smith, pas tor, Tacoma, Washington.
Pastors who feel that personal evangelism is important will find this book a good resource for helping develop their own role model as well as for leading laypeople into more effective ministry.
After dealing with the Biblical basis for witnessing, Schweer presents the urgency of evangelism from the theological, practical, and ethical points of view, then deals with the practical how-to aspects of witnessing, sharing some important tools, and also some important questions about "instant conversions" through gospel presentations that do not place enough emphasis on discipling the person who accepts Christ. The chapter on "Winning the Satisfied" gives valuable insights for reaching the secular mind.
The author has done a good job of covering many aspects of witnessing. Both pastors and laypersons should find his insights and suggestions helpful.
Before Saying "I Do"
James L. Christensen, Fleming H. Revell Company, Old Tappan, New Jersey, 1983, 163 pages, $4.95, paper. Reviewed by Ron Flowers, associate director, Home and Family Service, General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists.
In this time when marriage difficulty and deterioration affect the Christian community as well as the secular world, premarital books and guides are proliferating. Many give consideration to the dozen or so topics that sooner or later concern couples money, sex, in-laws, and so forth. This volume, however, reflects much more thoroughly than others on the meaning of Christian marriage with such chapters as "The Case for Exclusive Marriage," "The Spiritual Dimensions in Marriage," "Are You in Love?" and "Confirming Your Choice." The material here is so good no couple should marry without considering it.
The difficulty is that couples preparing for marriage may give only limited attention to such a book. Perhaps calling their attention to the chapters on "Sex Before Marriage," "Planning the Honeymoon," and "Bedroom Knowledge for Beginners" may entice them to read the entire book. Reflection questions at the beginning of each chapter may also help lure readers to discover the insights the author shares.
Bible-centered as well as people-oriented, the author shares practical counsel based on a lifetime of ministry. He includes thoughtful consideration of the issues involved in remarriage, and a chapter on marriage and divorce laws in all fifty States. A fairly extensive bibliography suggests further source materials.
The Minister's Library. Cyril J. Barber, Moody Press, Chicago, 1985, 510 pages, $15.95.
This thorough annotated bibliography of books useful to the pastor in various areas of need and interest was originally published in 1974 and has just been updated. Also included are practical suggestions and specific plans for organizing and cataloging your library.
When Bad Things Happen to God's People. Richard Rice, Pacific Press, Boise, Idaho, 1985, 93 pages, $4.95, paper.
Rice deals not only with the problem of suffering but with its value and place in "soul building," and goes on to suggest ways of coping with suffering.
J. B. Phillips: The Wounded Healer. Vera Phillips and Edwin Robertson, William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1984, 110 pages, $5.95, paper.
The widow of the famous author and Bible translator reveals the internal struggles her husband endured throughout his life. Phillips' correspondence portrays his ability to guide and help many through trying times, and also reveals a man who knew what it meant to struggle with doubt and depression.
The Hospital Handbook. Lawrence D. Reimer and James T. Wagner, Morehouse-Barlaw Company, Wilton, Connecticut,-1984, 128 pages, $5.95, paper.
This book contains not only helpful suggestions for prayers and Scripture readings but practical information about modern hospitals and how the pastor can be a part of the healing team. A brief glossary of medical terms focuses on the types of procedures and terminology a pastor is most likely to encounter.
Fundamentalism Today: What Makes It So Attractive? Marla J. Selvidge, editor, Brethren Press, Elgin, Illinois, 1984, 144 pages, $7.95, paper. As Jerry Falwell's foreword to this book of critical essays points out, fundamentalism today is difficult to stereotype, and this makes fair criticism difficult. Nevertheless, the authors pose some important questions for fundamentalist thinkers. The chapter on Reagan and the Evangelicals provides some intriguing history of how religion can get entangled in politics.