Book Critique of “Share Jesus without Fear”

liberty university

Book Critique

Share Jesus without fear

A Paper Submitted To Mr nicholas dodson

In Partial Fulfillment Of The Requirements For

The Course evan 565

Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary

By

Anthony D. Padgett

JONESBOROUGH, TN

Thursday, april 8, 2011

Bibliographical

Fay, William and Linda E. Shepherd. Share Jesus Without Fear. Nashville, TN: Broadman and Holman Publishing Group, 1999.

Author Information

            William Fay and Linda Evans Shepherd are the authors of “Share Jesus Without Fear.” William “Bill” Fay was at one time president over a multi-million dollar corporation, and had close ties to the mob through racketeering and gambling. He owned one of the largest houses of prostitution with several well known clients who attended the house.  He was on his fourth marriage to Peg Fay, doing well and succeeding by today’s worldly standards.

He soon hit rock bottom when he was notified that his Fantasy Island house of prostitution in Lakewood, Colorado, had just been hit by the police and that a warrant for his arrest had been issued. As part of his plea agreement he was given a warning to not participate in any further criminal activity and if so he would avoid any jail time, which could be a six to eight year sentence.  Sometime after that he began to slide once again and was caught soliciting an undercover officer for prostitution. Having been on parole from the raid on the prostitution house he fully expected to be put in prison for having violated his terms of parole. However, through God’s loving grace he was released and all the charges were barred from being used against him. He once again through God’s divine intervention was given the opportunity for a better life in Christ, if he would just open the door.  During this time he began to have the word of God shared with him by a long time friend.

He was quickly fired from his president and CEO position, but found work as an executive in a search business. Throughout this process he began to feel like something was missing in his life but he wasn’t really sure what that something was. He continued to struggle with this but soon met Dr. Paul Grant, a Christian who shared the Gospel with him one day on a racquetball court.

Fay has shared his faith and personal testimony with over twenty-five thousand people on a one-to-one basis. He travels around the world, teaching and preaching his techniques to better equip Christians to be successful evangelists. He graduated from the Denver Seminary in 1987 and has written the series Share Jesus Without Fear New Testament. He has a radio program “Let’s Go with Bill Fay” which is now heard on more than 100 radio stations. His website http://www.sharejesuswithoutfear.com boasts that over five million copies of his booklet, “How to Share Your Faith without an Argument” are in print. He currently resides with his wife, Peggy, in Ft. Myers Florida.

Linda Evans Shepherd is an award winning author and a nationally known speaker and member of the National Speaker’s Association. Some of her most recent work includes Encouraging Hands-Encouraging Hearts: How to be a Good Friend, and Heart-Stirring Stories of Romance, and Heart-Stirring Stories of Love (Fay, pg 195).

Content Summary

            William Fay in “Share Jesus Without Fear” is an easy to read book with a systematic approach of sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ with others in a non-aggressive way. William Fay begins his book by reassuring the reader that evangelism has nothing to do with saving ones soul but that it is what we are called to do by obedience (p.3) That success in evangelism is nothing more than sharing ones’ faith and love for Jesus Christ, not from seeing that person come to know Jesus Christ. Fay is convinced that by planting the seed through one’s personal testimony to a unbeliever that they will plant a seed of curiosity or will have further watered a seed that had been planted earlier.

Fay explains his concept of the “Sin of Silence” (p.6) by urging his readers to overcome any obstacles or fear they may have in approaching the unsaved by simply approaching them in casual conversations. He thin lists some statistics about how most come to salvation. Only five to ten percent of Christians have shared their faith in the past year with someone. Fay says that those who claim to be Christians do not match their professed commitment to spread Gods word. Fay breaks Christians down into two groups, those who talk about the lost and those who talk to the lost (p.8). Fay continues to make a case for all believers to fulfill God’s commandment in obedience of having an active evangelistic life. He then moves to why most object to sharing Jesus Christ with others, fear. To overcome this fear of approaching the unsaved, he suggests simply engaging in casual conversations; a term he refers to as “conversation jogging” (p.30). He then continues by listing his “Five Questions” that Fay believes will help in witnessing to others in a non-confrontational way, but also probe what the Spirit is doing in that individuals life.

1. Do you have any kind of spiritual beliefs? 2. To you, who is Jesus Christ? 3. Do you believe in heaven or hell? 4. If you died, where would you go? And the last one, 5. If what you are believing is not true, would you want to know (p.35)? Each question is designed to provoke a yes or no answer, so that the individual will have to answer exactly how they believe and allow the one who is sharing to follow-up on specific questions with scripture. Fay all so talks about being quite and attentive while listening to the answers, try not to make any quick answers back but actually listen. He also encourages the unbeliever to resolve some of the questions for themselves in an effort for them to more clearly understand the decision that needs to be made.

Fay suggests that once a person answers “yes” to question number five, it is then that we should us scriptures. He suggests that the scriptures do the convincing through the Holy Spirit on the unbeliever. Fay continues by listing several suggested scriptures that will help lead a person to Christ. He is quick to note that trusting in the power of scripture is important and letting the Holy Spirit do the convicting in one’s life. He continues in Chapter six with bringing someone to a decision with using what he calls the five “Commitment Questions.”

1. Are you a sinner? 2. Do you want forgiveness of sins? 3. Do you believe Jesus died on the cross for you and rose again? 4. Are you willing to surrender your life to Jesus Christ? And 5. Are you ready to invite Jesus into your life and into your heart (p.61)?

Fay continues by showing what to do after someone has just accepted Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior, to objections that many who do not believe have and how we should answer their questions. He is a firm believer in developing and keeping Non-Christian friends in order to be a witness to them and their lives through our own lifestyle. But one of the last things Fay teaches in his book is to continually pray for the lost and dying. He sees this as a monumental step in reaching the lost with which we come in contact daily. He concludes his book with five appendixes, the first four being reviews of the steps on how to share Jesus; the last one is his personal testimony.

Evaluation

            William Fay’s subject is that of personal evangelism and exactly how to Share Jesus without Fear. He shares that, though evangelizing to the lost can be very difficult and fearful, there can be success if we follow a simple plan. He wants his readers to understand that we do not have to be preachers, deacons, or others who work in the ministry fulltime, to be evangelists and reach the lost and dying. We only need the proper tools and overcome our fears of sharing the word of Jesus. He is focusing us on the path of the “Great Commission” as commanded of us by Jesus Christ in the New Testament. Fay accomplishes that goal by providing us as believers with the proper tools, Scriptures, and directions intended in starting that conversation of salvation that for many we fear.

Fay does an excellent job of using the scriptures and pointing us in the right direction as well as the unbeliever. He uses the Scriptures to not only give us the courage and strength to follow Jesus’ commandment of spread the word, but he also points the unbeliever on a path of self discovery through questions and answers. If an unbeliever was to pick up this book with an open heart and mind, though filled with questions, I don’t see how they could justify anything but the calling of Jesus Christ.

One of the most important things to take away from Fay’s book is that of the responsibility of the conversion of an unbeliever. Fay believes that the evangelist only shares the word; it is the Holy Spirit who is the only one who can actually perform any conversion of a sinner. He continues by reassuring the evangelist that we only plant the seed, it is ultimately between them and the Holy Spirit at that point. That alone gives encouragement for the evangelist not to fear, but to simply obey by sharing God’s word with others. This is in far contrast from the Southern Baptist Convention which pushes numbers and expects pastors and churches to excel in numbers by flashing them on reports and sent throughout the convention.

Fay mentions keeping a “Sharing Bible” specifically for sharing with the lost, with specific notes and teaching for the evangelist who is not well versed in Bible verses. That is a wonderful idea but Fay only shares two responses for any objections to the authority of the Bible. He assumes that any non-believer will openly accept the authority of the Bible based once the multiple translations and what are considered by some errors are addressed.  In today’s society with the internet and the question of authority in about everything that happens that might be a challenge if only using the “Sharing Bible” and Fay’s book.

The book is biblically sound and doesn’t really share anything more than what anyone in the ministry should already know. However for someone who struggles with opening up conversations or has trouble sharing the word of Jesus this is a must read book. For those who are somewhere between not knowing as much as the pastors, but a little more than someone who is early in their Christian walk, using the lesson’s in this book could greatly help overcome some of the obstacles we face in sharing Jesus, like starting that conversation and having the resources needed in one simple little book. The overall content of the book is very well structured and thought out, even with the few flaws of not having enough examples of unbelievers not accepting Christ after following his guidelines, and the fact that he believes most accept the Bible as the true authority once translations and errors are answered, this is a great resource book.

If looking for an easy laid out book with clear steps to apply to your evangelism without any memorization this book is it. If looking for a book that will help overcomes any fears of talking about Jesus with the unbeliever and help is needed with some “Conversation Joggers” then this is the book.  If looking for something with a little more depth about evangelism and what it takes in today’s society to win someone to Christ, might be suited better with another book.

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