One-Verse Evangelism. By Randy D. Raysbrook. Navigator Napkin Evangelism Series. Colorado Springs: DawsonMedia, 1996. 11 pp.
This booklet presents a very simple method of evangelism. Raysbrook suggests that rather than putting an unbeliever through a complicated Sword drill jumping from verse to verse, that we settle on one verse and explain it carefully. He recommends that we write the verse on a piece of a paper, even a napkin if our evangelistic conversation takes place in a restaurant.
Ten years ago Randy Raysbrook published an article by the same name. In the very first issue of JOTGES Kevin Butcher critically reviewed that article (Autumn 1988, pp. 91-93). Butcher pointed out a number of problems with the way the message of the Gospel was presented there.
Don’t let the fact that this booklet has the same title as the previous article make you think that its message is unchanged. Actually, Raysbrook has responded to all of Butcher’s criticisms. A comparison of the two is very encouraging. Raysbrook has modified his article signficantly, yet retaining its attractive feature, its simplicity.
No longer does Raysbrook suggest that we tell people that in order to have eternal life they must make Jesus Lord of their lives, allow Him to have total control, or turn away from their sins. Instead, he exhorts us to tell people that to have eternal life they must believe (or trust) in Christ. He strongly emphasizes that eternal life is a free gift and that it’s received at the moment of faith and can never be lost. And, while he encourages leading a person in prayer to express his faith in Christ, he tells us to “remind him, though, that he is not forgiven because of how or what he prays, but instead because he trusts in Jesus” (p. 9).
There were two minor inconsistencies in the booklet which should be noted.
First, in his introduction Raysbrook asks a person he is witnessing to “if he wanted to turn his life over to Christ” (p. 1). What he means by this is not clear. In any case, this statement does not fit with the rest of the booklet since Raysbrook makes it clear that faith in Christ, not turning over one’s life, is the only condition of receiving eternal life.
Second, the verse chosen to illustrate one-verse evangelism, Rom 6:23, does not state the condition of receiving the free gift of eternal life. This, of course, is a problem. Yet Raysbrook doesn’t deal with it directly. His bridge illustration diagram is filled with words taken straight from the text. Yet one key word, trust, in the diagram is not to be found in the verse. At the end of the booklet Raysbrook does suggest that we should “know at least one verse that backs up each step in the illustration in case the person needs further explanation” (p. 11). It would thus be helpful if when Raysbrook mentions writing the word trust in the diagram that he tells us to put in parenthesis another verse like John 3:16 or 6:47 or Eph 2:8-9.
Kudos to Randy Raysbrook and the Navigators. This booklet is much improved and it’s one I’m happy to recommend.
Robert N. Wilkin
Journal of the Grace Evangelical Society