There are, it seems, as many definitions of the term "evangelism" as there are people doing the defining. For some, it means proclaiming the gospel to those who have not heard it. To others, it means making disciples of Jesus Christ. To others, it means working for the transformation of the world into the kingdom of God. For still others, it has principally to do with building vibrant, healthy congregations. Underlying this confusion is a fundamental inability to locate the practice of evangelism within one's overall theological convictions.
We will never understand the part that proclamation, disciple making, kingdom building, and church growth play in evangelism until we first ask a more important question: What does evangelism have to do with who God is? What is it we know about God that makes evangelism a central part of what it means to be Christian? In this comprehensive theology of evangelism, Scott J. Jones proposes to ground the practice of evangelism in an understanding of God's love for the world, specifically as seen in the incarnation of God in Christ. In Jesus, God took on all of what it means to be human. Because of this, evangelism must be a ministry to the whole person. The typical distinctions between soul-winning, social action, and church growth evaporate; individual conversion and acts of mercy are part of the same ministry of bringing persons more fully into the reign of a loving God.
"This new book begins where a faithful ministry of evangelism needs to begin: in our response to the love of God in Christ, and in God's love for all neighbors and our love for all neighbors. Jones is a careful theologian, and he addresses many of the issues, theological and practical, that are pivotal for informing the outreach of the churches."
George G. Hunter III
Distinguished Professor of Church Growth and Evangelism
School of World Mission and Evangelism
Asbury Theological Seminary
The Evangelistic Love of God and Neighbor is a significant text for the study and practice of evangelism. It is both scholarly and pertinent. Scott Jones's careful theological reflection and attention to biblical foundations provide a valuable contribution to conversation within the field, and offer shape to faithful and effective evangelistic practice. This text is an important resource for scholars and practitioners of evangelism."
Assistant Professor of the Practice of Evangelism and Methodist Studies and
the Royce and Jane Reynolds Teaching Fellow
Duke University Divinity School
Whether he is discussing message, motivation, or congregational practice, Scott Jones demonstrates how evangelism is decisively shaped by love for God and neighbor. The book contains helpful analysis and wisdom on a wide range of controversial and practical issues. It is a welcome contribution to the theology of evangelism, advancing scholarly discussion even as it informs pastoral practice.Ž
Henry H. Knight III
E. Stanley Jones Professor of Evangelism
Saint Paul School of Theology