My original intention was to review William Fay’s book, Share Jesus without Fear, chapter by chapter all the way through. After reading and reviewing chapter 6, however, I honestly feel that I have read enough, having obtained an adequate, clear view of what drives Fay’s ideas. On a scale of 1 to 5, I would give this book a rating of 1 star—or at most 1.5.

I do want to give credit where it is due: Fay does offer some helpful, practical tips for doing evangelism. Some of his ideas for asking questions (e.g., How do you read that verse?) are sensible and usable, and I would like to try them in my own evangelism. On the whole, the author’s mission to stir up Christians to actively bring the gospel to the lost, his focus on the power of scripture to convert the unbeliever, and his practical tips for engaging in conversations all make this book somewhat worthwhile—at least not a complete loss. Unfortunately, such useful parts could be reduced to about five pages. The rest of what I’ve read, as I see it, is tainted with doctrinal confusion and error, misinterpretation of scripture, and an excessive reliance on anecdotes.

Speaking of theology, I’ve mentioned this in the past, but it is worth repeating here: Theology is indispensable, for it drives practice. Doctrine and practice are inseparable. What one believes spills over naturally into one’s actions. Therefore, I have deep misgivings over Mr. Fay’s teachings. For one thing, he is confusing. While he clearly upholds the sovereignty of God in salvation and the necessity of the Holy Spirit in the conversion of the lost, he also upholds the egregious error of decisional regeneration. The first two doctrines are contradictory to the latter one. In essence, what Fay holds out with one hand he takes away with the other. Is God sovereign or not? Is regeneration his choice or man’s? The way one answers that question has an enormous impact on one’s evangelistic methods. In addition, there are serious deficiencies in his doctrine of man. If people are totally depraved—fallen in all their faculties—then they possess no ability to respond favorably to the gospel apart from regeneration. Nevertheless, Fay’s emphasis on decisional regeneration says the opposite: There is some bit of good, some part of man deep down inside him that is not fallen, some glimmer of righteousness not tainted by the fall that is capable of making a positive decision for Christ. Unfortunately, as much as we might like to believe such a view of man, the Bible does not give mankind that much credit.

In all honesty, I could not recommend this book in good conscience to Christians in general and those interested in evangelism in particular. In my opinion, there are far better books on the subject of evangelism that are theologically sounder. For those who are interested in such material, here is a short list of books that I would recommend (publishers are in parentheses):

Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God, by J.I. Packer (IVP Books)
God-Centred Evangelism, by R.B. Kuiper (Banner of Truth)
Tell the Truth: The Whole Gospel to the Whole Person by Whole People, by Will Metzger (InterVarsity Press)
Today’s Gospel: Authentic or Synthetic? by Walter J. Chantry (Banner of Truth)
Today’s Evangelism: Its Message and Methods, by Ernest C. Reisinger (P & R Publishing)

Although I believe they tend to overemphasize the use of the Ten Commandments, Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron have an interesting and worthwhile ministry called “The Way of the Master.” Their book, The School of Biblical Evangelism, might be worth getting. Their approach provides a simple, helpful, and logical structure to follow when presenting the gospel. This can be very beneficial to those of us who have a hard time sharing the gospel without straying off topic.

One Response to Conclusion of Review: Share Jesus without Fear

  • Darlene says:

    Hi there, Jerry. I sent you an email not long ago, but am not sure if you received it.

    Anyway, I think it would be beneficial, (for me at least) if I were to have a copy of “Share Jesus Without Fear” in order to read it and make a fair assessment of its contents.

    I understand why you oppose decisional evangelization. That is, when it’s packaged with a promise that goes something like this: “Pray this prayer with me to accept Christ as your personal Lord and Savior. Once you do, you can be assured unconditionally that Heaven is your home.” This sort of approach relegates salvation to merely one moment in time. “Yeah, I’m saved. I said that prayer back there in 1987 to accept Christ as my personal Lord and Savior so I know I’m goin’ to Heaven.”

    With that being said, it is incumbent for all of us who follow Jesus Christ to be obedient to Him. Obedience requires that we choose good over evil. Recently, I was faced with a dilemma, a temptation to sin against Christ. I felt at that moment as though I would not be able to resist and that I would give in. Then I heard the words of Holy Scripture, “but with the temptation He will provide a way of escape that you may be able to endure it.” Prayer and supplication were that way of escape. Holy Scripture says, “Resist the devil and he will flee.” Resisting takes some amount of effort. It is not passive but active.

    What do I mean to say by all of this? That our Christian life requires us to “do” somethings in order that we can genuinely call ourselves “followers” of Christ. Jesus said “he who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me;” and “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” and “Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me, cannot be my disciple.” There are many who have begun down that path in following Christ, but have turned aside due to the cares and riches of this life, or tribulations and persecutions on account of the word, as is spoken of in the parable of the sower. So it is that while we cannot base our salvation on some prayer we said back there in time and think that guarantees a place in Heaven, we must not presume to think that the Christian life is one of being stagnant. Rather we must “fight the good fight of the faith.” This requires action on our part, an involvement with the forces of light and darkness, and a renewed determination to resist the evil one.

    I used to keep up with Richard Wurmbrand’s newsletter, “Jesus to the Communist World.” In many issues, he would give testimonials of Christians who were told to renounce their faith in Christ. Those who did were spared their lives (in this world), and many of those who refused to renounce Christ were martyred. If I only lived on a prayer I said somewhere back there, I know I would not have the strength or courage to stand up for Christ, and would be one of those who denied Him. “Whoever hopes in Him purifies himself as He is pure.”

    I will forever be thankful to those who presented the gospel of Jesus Christ to me. I am grateful that they pursued me and stayed with me as I questioned and doubted the promises of our Lord Jesus. And, I am thankful that this former unbeliever raised as an atheist/agnostic was encouraged to relinquish my life to receive His life. I trusted Christ that day because of His mercy and grace. I took a chance in believing that He existed, not knowing whether He did or not. After I prayed to Him and asked Him to forgive me and asked for the gift of His Holy Spirit, I was immediately filled with overwhelming joy. The very first passage of Holy Scripture read to me was that of the Sower and the Seed. I was told that this was just the beginning of a new life in Christ. I am thankful that I was not given the doctrine of OSAS.

    The grace given to me that day has enabled me to resist temptation. That same grace has been changing me into His likeness from one degree of glory to another. Indeed His grace has been sufficient for me in all things.

    I agree that clinging to a decisional prayer said at one time in the past is not enough to guarantee Heaven to anyone. However, all of us who are His have begun that journey of faith at some point. It is a matter of whether or not we will trust in His grace to enable us to be victorious over the flesh and the temptation to sin. “Brethren, I do not consider that I have made it my own; but one thing I do, forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:13, 14.

    In Christ’s Love,

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About the Author

The author of this blog, Jeremy (Jehanne), is a Catholic who strives to think God's thoughts after Him and obey Christ's exhortation to take up the cross daily and follow Him on the way to Golgotha. He likes reading theology, evangelizing, and, of course, writing.