Thursday, December 30, 2021

TruthB.O.M.B. Book Review - Jesus Conversations by Dave Sterrett

 B - Background

Dave Sterrett founded Disruptive Truth, a non-profit organization that is training Christians in evangelism and cultural engagement. He is the author/co-author of several books, including Why Trust Jesus, We Choose Life and I Am Second. Dave works as an account executive in oncology biotechnology and is passionate about helping cancer patients.

O - Overview

Sterrett is clear about what one will gain by reading his book:

"In this book, we are going to examine biblical examples, conversational strategies, and tips to help you grow in knowledge.  Jesus said the greatest command is to 'love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength'(Mark 12:30).  This book will help equip you in wisdom as you are growing to 'always be prepared to give an answer to anyone who asks you to give a reason for the hope you have' (1 Pet. 3:15).  I will share effective conversational starters and ways to memorize and explain the gospel"
[p. 3].

Sterrett's overall goal is to inspire and equip Christians to share their faith in a winsome and informed manner.

M - Main Arguments

Sterrett begins the book by arguing for the necessity of evangelism and emphasizing how the Holy Spirit can use anyone, regardless of their skill or knowledge level, to share the gospel with the lost.  

He then moves to the practical topic of how to start a conversation about spiritual matters.  His advice here is amazingly workable and should encourage those who tend to be shy about engaging others in dialogue about matters of faith.  Those familiar with Greg Koukl's book Tactics will see his influence here.  Ultimately, Sterrett encourages readers to "[r]eject passivity, pay attention to those around you, and courageously initiate a conversation..." [p.43].

This reader found it refreshing that the author then moves to the important discipline of Scripture memory and memory tools to explain the gospel.  Sterrett's goal here is to equip believers to clearly communicate "the gospel essentials in a way an unbeliever can easily and quickly understand" [p. 76].  And, not only are two different ways to remember the gospel offered, but readers will also learn three diagnostic questions that the author contends will allow a person to discover their need of the gospel.

Sterrett then proceeds to explain the importance of focusing on the essential truths of the gospel when sharing the good news and the usefulness of knowing apologetics-how to defend one's faith-in the project of evangelism.  This reader greatly appreciated Sterrett's suggestion of using the acronym G-O-D when discussing the existence of God with unbelievers.  Each letter in the acronym represents a fact about the universe that the author argues is best explained by God's existence:

G - The standard of all GOOD in the universe.
O - The powerful ORIGIN of the universe.
D - The grand DESIGN of the universe. [p. 129]

He explains:

"When we evangelize, these three arguments may not necessarily convert a skeptic to Christ immediately.  However, you can encourage them to go where the evidence leads.  Perhaps these three arguments will help someone leave their atheism and believe that there must be something or someone out there" [p. 140].

Sterrett ends the book with helpful advice regarding how to interact with members of other religions and by reminding believers that they are ambassador's for Jesus Christ.  He writes:

"Do you ever think of yourself as being an 'ambassador for Jesus Christ?'  Everywhere we go-whether it's because of work, or going out and having fun, participating in a sport, or attending a conference-we should think of ourselves as ambassadors of Jesus" [p. 159].

B - Bottomline

Brian Auten and I had the opportunity to interview Dave Sterrett about Jesus Conversations on the Apologetics315 Podcast.  And while I can confidently recommend the book, it pleases me to know that I can even more so recommend Sterrett himself.  He both talks the talk and walks the walk.  Dave Sterrett is a committed follower of Jesus Christ with a heart for the lost and one can't help but be infected by his desire to share the gospel as you read these pages.

Jesus Conversations is the ideal book for the believer who desires to learn to share their faith or the believer who may have lost their zeal for doing so.  

You can get your copy here.  To learn more about Dave Sterrett and his ministry, go here.

Courage and Godspeed,

Related Posts

Book Review: We Choose Life- General Editor Dave Sterrett

Book Review: Aborting Aristotle- Examining Fatal Fallacies in the Abortion Debate by Dave Sterrett

Book Review: “O” God: A Dialogue on Truth and Oprah’s Spirituality by Josh McDowell and Dave Sterrett

Wednesday, December 29, 2021

Video - A Molinist Response to Schellenberg’s Hiddenness Argument by Tim Stratton

In our podcast with Dr. Tim Stratton, we briefly teased his upcoming talk at the Evangelical Philosophical Society on J.L. Schellenberg's divine hiddenness argument.  Well, here it is!  


Courage and Godspeed,

Related Posts

Apologist Interview: "The Free Thinking Theist" Tim Stratton

Sunday, December 26, 2021

Book Recommendation: See the Strange by Brett Davis

I always enjoy exploring the Christian faith from angles that don't always line up with current or popular theological trends. See the Strange definitely fits that bill. I recently dove into this excellent book about the most misunderstood and misinterpreted book in the Bible - "The Revelation of Jesus Christ", more commonly referred to as just "Revelation" (and it's singular, not "Revelations"). The following are quotes from the book that will give you a nice taste of how Brett Davis tackles a subject even my pastor won't preach about.

“The worst books about Revelation treat it as a coded history of the future, predictions that we can tick of as they get fulfilled – except that those ticks have so far always turned out to be mistaken. Some of the worst books about Revelation read it as a nightmare to be inflicted on the world by a God who gloats over human suffering.”

“No one in church history has agreed on how to exactly read the letter of Revelation. That is absolutely obvious; there is no consensus. But our obsessive decoding of the future is really recent…If seeing the future was God’s primary reason for inspiring John to put quill to parchment, then Revelation has been a big fat failure for the church historic.”

“What if the strangeness of Revelation is not something we need to entirely decode or un-strange? What if Revelation’s oddness and intrigue mean to help us?”

“No part of Revelation means to drive us to bull headed predictions, or over-reaching analysis, or ever-changing flowcharts. All of Revelation means to drive us to our knees. We should remind ourselves early and often that Revelation is primarily meant to be absorbed not analyzed. When we slip into obsessive over-analysis of dissecting and decoding, we are slipping further and further away from the point of the book.”

“…whatever Revelation is, it’s something that these seven churches would have (mostly) understood. Jesus didn’t send a coded puzzle meant for comfortable Christians in the twenty-first century. Jesus sent a stylized letter originally meant for struggling Christians in the first century. If we cannot imagine the original hearers of Revelation understanding our interpretation of this letter, then our interpretation probably needs to be rethought.”

“Jesus inviting us into His life is harder than us inviting Jesus into ours. It takes a longer time. It’s more painful. It requires us to surrender our fantasies about the throne…The invitation of Jesus is difficult because Jesus invites us to die.”

“This, by the way, is the task of every local church. We must cultivate spaces like this altar. Spaces that are ruthlessly vulnerable, brutally honest, fearlessly realistic. There are no questions off-limits within the church. The saints are nothing if we are not honest about our confusion and truthful about the world.”

“What changes the world - what saves the world – is when the church faithfully witnesses to self-giving love of the Lamb. Even when it’s hard. Even when the world despises the truth. And even when forgiveness and mercy are overpowered by hatred and violence.”

“…perhaps we need to remind ourselves that God’s purposes are meant to be eaten not read, ingested not intellectualized, lived not analyzed. The often painful love of the cross is meant to be corporately embodied, not merely cognitively understood.”

“Sometimes people worry that a credit card or the latest technology might be the mark of the beast. Perhaps a better question asks about the consumerism of the credit card itself. When we buy into a system that tells us that more money will bring more security, or that lifelong debt is worth immediate pleasure, or that sweatshops are a reasonable price for affordable goods, or that our money is primarily for us – when that’s the pattern, we should be examining our credit cards. We’re entertaining the lies of the beast.”

“Chemotherapy feels like wrath for the cancer. And it doesn’t look pretty for anyone watching. But the goal of chemotherapy is healing. The goal of chemo is new life. And this is the final treatment – seven blistering bowls of vintage love distilled to destroy evil.”

“This final cycle of seven signals the end of evil’s story. No more delay, no more intermission…and no more repentance. Everyone who wants God – who wants real and everlasting Life – has turned to God. Everyone else would rather “curse the name of God” than live with him or sing his praise. They would rather “gnaw their tongues” than use them for the Song of Life.”

“We’re always being offered counterfeits, and we frequently settle for them. We crave intimacy, we settle for “casual” sex. We thirst for inner peace; we settle for numbing pain. We hunger for satisfaction; we settle for the next big purchase. We ache to be truly known; we settle for applause and popularity. We yearn for significance – to know our lives matter – but we settle for busyness. We’re parched for True Life; the Enemy offers to quench our thirst with death. We thirst for the cup of salvation; we settle for the cup of abominable things.”

“God is the One who can seal away the Enemy at anytime with no battle at all. He’s the omnipotent ground of all reality. And when the final battle arrives between God and Satan – Goodness and Evil, between Life and Death – it’s not a fair fight. It’s actually no fight at all.”

“Revelation ends with Jesus calling us awake with the promise of his coming. The promise of his coming; not the threat of his coming. The entirety of Revelation is framed as challenge and encouragement to the Church. This book does not aim threats at an unbelieving world. The coming of Jesus is the best good news the world will ever know. May we never talk about it otherwise.”

Check it out, but don't take my word for it, read the book, don't wait for the movie (and don't read those other books or watch those bad movies).

Have a little hope on me, 

Roger (now the Reasonable Faith Delmarva Chapter Director meeting in Georgetown, Delaware)

Sunday, December 19, 2021

Unanswered Questions- Jeff Myers

 While attending church recently, I picked up a Power for Living pamphlet and discovered an article taken from an excerpt of the book Unquestioned Answers: Rethinking Ten Christian Cliches to Rediscover Biblical Truth.  The author is Jeff Myers.  I found the article insightful and recommend that you check out his website here.  

Below is a snippet of the ten "unquestioned answers" explored in the book:

God Bless,