The subtitle of the little book written by Randy Newman is Engaging People’s Hearts the Way Jesus Did. “The Way Jesus Did” here is referring to the usage of questioning to trigger deeper rational thinking of the seekers. The author divides the book into three sections: Why asking questions, What Questions are people Asking, When aren’t questions and answers enough. However, though the title of the book suggests that it’s a book regarding evangelism through questioning, the content of the book is more focused on the second section which is using questioning skill to deal with questions raised by seekers. Instead of viewing it as a book about evangelism, I’d rather to say it’s a book of Apologetics.
Though the focus of the book sounds shifting, it’s still a good book on evangelism conversation skills. It’s very beneficial for the author to invest some chapters on the Biblical background of questioning in conversations. He not only showed us how Jesus did evangelism and conversation in New Testament, but also guided us through the conversation skills discussed and demonstrated in Wisdom books. These steps can help us to realize the value of using questions. However, I have to say it again that the subtitle of “the way Jesus did” is too big and not fit because Jesus also did other more important things like training disciples, healing and exorcism.
The second and third section of the book is very practical in contemporary evangelism because every chapter is focused on a specific challenge we might be facing in our daily ministry with seekers. Some of those questions are just inquiries from a curious heart, while some are more like condemnments against Christianity and Christians. Newman handles every challenge with theological analysis, Biblical hermeneutics, practical scenarios and sample conversations. It’s not wise to put his sample conversations into our mouths word by word, but his heavy usage of cases and samples are very helpful in personal ministries. Moreover, he refers back to the methodology of questioning in every case, and he uses samples to demonstrate how questioning can continue the conversation and engage the seekers into deeper thinking.
I also appreciate that Newman honestly admits the cons of using questioning. He doesn’t intend to teach us to use questioning in every case. In some scenarios, he provides direct and clear answers. But I can see that his purpose of every conversation is not to provide the “theologically correct” answer, but to engage the opposite to think deeper about the spiritual things and challenge his original perceptions.
Human reasoning is one of the evidence for the existence of God as our creator. Newman did a very good job of showing us an interactive way of doing evangelism. It’s a very practical and useful book in personal evangelism. I think I will be very glad to use part of this book in my future personal evangelism trainings.