The Scandal of Evangelism: A Biblical Study of the Ethics of Evangelism

This book is being published under the Cascade label of Wipf and Stock, and will come out in 2018.

In today’s multi-cultural and multi-religious world, evangelism is often viewed as scandalous, not only by those who are opposed to anything religious, but also by many Christians. In this book, I provide a response to those who find most or even all Christian evangelism objectionable. I do this through a careful analysis of what the bible says about the ethics of evangelism. From this inductive study, mainly of the New Testament, I propose 30 guidelines for ethical evangelism. Part II examines some specific contexts that pose unique challenges for doing evangelism ethically — evangelism of children, evangelism within a professional context like the secular academy, evangelism within the context of relief and development work, and finally the problem of proselytism, understood in the special and narrow sense of sheep-stealing.

This book is a sequel to my earlier work, The Ethics of Evangelism (Paternoster and IVP, 2011), written for a broader readership. In this earlier book, I suggested that each religion engaging in evangelism needs to develop a code of ethics for evangelism from within its own religious framework. Hence, The Scandal of Evangelism, written from an explicitly Christian perspective. I am hoping that it will become an indispensable guide for an ethical approach to proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Introduction:
Chapter 2: An Approach to Biblical Ethics and the Ethics of Evangelism

Part I: Ethics of Evangelism in the New Testament:
Chapter 3: The Gospels and Jesus
Chapter 4: Acts and the Apostles
Chapter 5: Paul’s Epistles
Chapter 6: General Epistles and Revelation
Chapter 7: Summary of Biblical analysis of Guidelines for Ethical Evangelism
A. Foundational Guidelines; B. Guidelines Relating to the Interface between the Human
And the Divine; C. Guidelines Relating to Freedom and Coercion; D. Guidelines Regarding
the Content of Evangelism; E. Guidelines Regarding the Delivery of Content and
Persuasion; F. Relational Guidelines: G. Guidelines for Responding to Resistance and
Rejection; H. Motivational Guidelines; I. Means and Ends

Part II: Applied Topics
Chapter 8: Evangelism of Children
Chapter 9. Evangelism in Professional Life: the Academy
Chapter 10: Evangelism and Humanitarian Aid
Chapter 11: Ethics of Proselytism (understood as sheep-stealing)

Chapter 12: Conclusion

Since the Vatican, the World Council of Churches and the World Evangelical Alliance signed the joined statement „Christian Witness in a multi-religious World“ in 2011, denying that unethical ways to propagate the Christian ways are mission and evangelism in the Spirit of Jesus, any yet stating „mission is the very essence of the church“. Since 2011 world christianity has been waiting for a book such as this: A detailed discussions of all the major questions involved, which a document of 5 pages cannot discuss. The result is superb. Thought through for years, taking up the relevant international discussion, tested in discussions with the highest level of representatives of all branches of Christianity, the result is a compendium of all the problems and questions involved. The best ever defense of ethical evangelism in the spirit of Jesus against both, secular and religious enemies of evangelism on the one side and those, that think anything goes in evangelism and the result justifies any means. Both friends and foes of evangelism have much to learn here, as the book will open a new chapter of the discussion.

Prof. Dr. theol. Dr. phil. Thomas Schirrmacher

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