Graceful Evangelism

Christian Witness in a Complex World

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"Adeney's book has helped me frame and understand my own experience in the context of scripture, history, my changing world, and the need to frame and articulate a 'graceful evangelism' for today."--William D. Taylor, Evangelical Missions Quarterly
 
Although evangelism has been practiced in different ways across the centuries, it has always been crucial to Christianity. This text by a seasoned evangelism scholar offers a comprehensive treatment of evangelism, from biblical models to contemporary practice. Frances Adeney shows that new evangelism theologies and methods are necessary in today's religiously pluralistic and secular contexts. She provides a historical survey of evangelism, assesses the current situation, and offers a way forward. By understanding different contexts and approaches to evangelism and accepting the views of others on this crucial topic, readers can replace the "evangelism wars" (social action vs. proclamation) with a more graceful approach to sharing God's good news with the world. Professors and students in evangelism, outreach, ministry, and missions courses; evangelism and mission scholars; and pastors, church leaders, and missionaries will value this work.
Contents
 
Introduction: What This Book Is About
Part 1: Where Did We Come From?
1. What Is Evangelism? Perspectives and Problems
2. What Does the Bible Say? Biblical Models of Evangelism
3. Patterns of Evangelism through the Ages
4. The Western Missionary Movement in the Nineteenth Century: An American Perspective
Part 2: Where Are We Now?
5. The Situation for Evangelism in the Twenty-first Century: Two Sides of a Coin
6. Today's Mission Trends
7. Contemporary Theologies of Evangelism
Part 3: Where Are We Going?
8. Abundant Life
9. A Mission Statement for Evangelism
10. Changing Context: Transforming Mission
Part 4: Can We Craft a Graceful Evangelism?
11. Insights from Contemporary Theologies of Evangelism
12. Challenges to Crafting a Graceful Evangelism
13. Changes: New Movements and Institutional Re-visionings
14. Seeing through Their Eyes: A Spiral of Knowledge Acquisition
15. Radical Habits: Practices for Evangelism Today
Appendix: Constructing a Congregational Timeline
Indexes

Endorsements

"In Graceful Evangelism, Professor Adeney combines her proficiency as a scholar with her talent and wisdom as a teacher to provide an extremely valuable resource for those learning and teaching evangelism today. She carefully draws from biblical, theological, and historical foundations to frame thoughtful and balanced practices, offering a comprehensive guide to evangelism in today's complicated North American context."--Laceye Warner, associate dean for academic formation and programs, associate professor of evangelism and Methodist studies, Royce and Jane Reynolds Teaching Fellow, Duke Divinity School

"Frances Adeney calls the church to be graceful--gentle, humble, respectful--in its evangelism, and she writes her book in the same graceful way. These pages are filled with experience, conviction, and faith. They should inspire pastors, students, and ordinary Christians, all of whom are called to live out their baptismal vocation to evangelize."--Stephen Bevans, Louis J. Luzbatek, SVD Professor of Mission and Culture, Catholic Theological Union

"Frances Adeney draws from Scripture, theology, anthropology, missiology, and from historical and contemporary case studies to produce a very useful reflection for rethinking a church's engagement with pre-Christian people. I hope that Graceful Evangelism makes an enduring contribution."--George G. Hunter, distinguished professor of evangelization, Asbury Theological Seminary

"Graceful Evangelism is a wonderfully accessible, thoroughly researched book that belongs in every introductory course in evangelism in both the seminary and the church. Adeney offers a robust vision for evangelism that is exactly what the church needs today."--Elaine Heath, dean, Duke Divinity School

"Frances Adeney has written a book that draws us away from the slick marketing gimmickry that sometimes passes for evangelism. Graceful Evangelism directs would-be evangelists to get in step with the God who is neither contrived nor hurried. Here is an evangelism textbook that is as concerned with the integrity of the messenger as it is with the packaging of the message."--Jonathan J. Bonk, research professor of mission studies, Boston University; former editor, International Bulletin of Missionary Research


The Author

  1. Frances S. Adeney

    Frances S. Adeney

    Frances S. Adeney (PhD, Graduate Theological Union) is William A. Benfield Jr. Professor of Evangelism and Global Mission Emerita at Louisville Seminary. She has authored and contributed to many books, including Christianity Encountering World...

    Continue reading about Frances S. Adeney

Reviews

"[This book] stretch[es] both thinking and practice of those of us who are committed to thoughtful evangelism in our day. I especially appreciated a number of items. First, the material is framed in four thoughtful and memorable questions. . . . Second, with tight argumentation [Adeney] answers each lead question with material that any orthodox Christian can use. I found her sidebars extremely helpful. . . . Third, her material is rooted in the life of the local church . . . and hence is designed to help both laity and clergy to face the challenging tasks before us in North America. Fourth, her historical survey is extremely helpful in capturing briefly where we have come from since New Testament times. . . . Finally, she is honest to face the failures and shortcomings of Protestantism . . . in the broader global context. . . . Adeney's book has helped me frame and understand my own experience in the context of scripture, history, my changing world, and the need to frame and articulate a 'graceful evangelism' for today."--William D. Taylor, Evangelical Missions Quarterly

"Interactive questions and group dialogue sprinkled throughout the book, along with an appendix to help congregations take an historical look at evangelism in their own church, make this resource applicable for small group study. . . . Graceful Evangelism is an excellent overview of a holistic view of evangelism--sharing God's love in word and deed--from an ecumenical landscape. . . . Today's relativistic world demands the kind of insight Adeney demonstrates."--Laurie Fortunak Nichols, Great Commission Research Journal

"I found [Adeney's] discussion of context and location most accessible and thought that this would be helpful for an introductory preaching course. Adeney offers a 'Context Worksheet' small group exercise for congregations that I believe will be equally as appropriate for seminary students. . . . [I offer] a strong recommendation for this book. I will definitely include this on future bibliographies."--Lucy Lind Hogan, Homiletic

"Adeney seeks to find a way to craft a graceful evangelism that holds onto deep convictions while respecting the convictions of others, one that is suited to today's diverse church and pluralized world. Drawing upon her interactions with seminary students and congregations, and her own research and cross-cultural experience, Adeney fills her book with examples that illustrate the varied theologies and approaches to evangelism that she describes. . . . Teachers, students, and serious readers will find Graceful Evangelism to be helpful and formative. Sidebars throughout clearly summarize key content, and pastors will value the practical tools for addressing differences and engaging in graceful evangelism at the congregational level."--Robert J. Weingartner, Missiology

"[This book] is fully cognizant of the contemporary world and the complexity of the evangelistic task before the church. . . . Graceful Evangelism covers areas needed to answer the often divisive questions related to the task of outreach. . . . This book will prove useful, and even essential, for congregations and denominations working through their understanding(s) of evangelism. . . . The book overall will resonate more likely with Christians in mainline churches. Evangelicals will do well by reading this book for understanding a broader view of evangelism. It should help to dispel the myth that being aware of our religiously plural world makes us religious pluralists. Frances Adeney guides us well in that direction."--William T. Purinton, Trinity Journal