Written by Martin Goldsmith, IVP (2014)
The premise of this book is that while people may be resistant to hearing the gospel in the form of a traditional sermon or presentation, most will listen to a well-told story. Martin Goldsmith was a missionary in South East Asia for ten years, in are as where evangelising was illegal and dangerous. It was here he honed his skills at communicating biblical truth in fresh and compelling ways. He shares his experiences from this time and the subsequent years of travel and teaching, giving lots of colourful examples to illustrate his message.
Goldsmith’s argument for the medium of story, and his overview of the place of story in other faiths and in the biblical context were compelling and interesting. However, I was less convinced by his chapter on using Bible stories in evangelism in a Western context. He describes standing at a bus stop and noticing a rainbow. He tells the story of
Noah to the cluster of people waiting for the bus, and just reading it made me cringe. His trick was not to mention Noah or God until the end of his narrative, an omission that he feels is enough to get past his listener’s defences with the truth that God hates sin but offers merciful grace. I commend his opportunism but I am not convinced telling disguised Bible stories to strangers is an effective way of communicating the gospel. Storytelling is a good read, and I think would be useful and thought-provoking for anyone interested in reaching a cynical and distracted world with the good news of salvation.
Reviewed by Jo Swinney