Most books on evangelism are about a method of sharing one’s faith. Marks of the Messenger: Knowing, Living and Speaking the Gospel is different. It is about the heart of the evangelist. J. Mack Stiles gives a passionate call to live out one’s faith, boldly following and sharing.

Some aspects worth noting: First, doctrine matters. Stiles shows that additions and subtractions to the gospel are dangerous. “If we don’t realize the magnitude of what we’ve been forgiven, we may identify more with the Pharisee,” he warns. Stiles also points out an all to common slippery slope that begins when the gospel is assumed (and thus not longer preached, shared, or studied) and ends with it being lost altogether. Second, Stiles shows that the gospel will have radical, profound changes in the way we live. “There are fantastic implications that explode into meaning when we live out the gospel.”

Unfortunately, many are arguing that the implications (particularly social justice) are the gospel themselves, but Stiles accurately claims that the gospel itself is social change: “We must confess that pain, deprivation, and injustice at times seem to trump the message of the gospel and when this happens we see the naked thinness of our faith, and how we don’t believe the gospel through and through.”

A proper understanding of the gospel leads one to a bold life in the gospel. Boldness, he describes, “is not a lack of fear. It is faith in something much bigger than our fears so that we appear fearless.” Such faith will inevitably lead to a Church where the gospel is clearly visible. (see here)

The Marks of the Messenger is a quick, easy read that would benefit any Christian. I highly recommend it. Stiles does an excellent job simply pointing his readers to the goal of a bold witness for Christ.

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