Biblical Perspectives on Evangelism Review

Walter Brueggemann. Biblical Perspectives on Evangelism: Living in a Three-Storied Universe. Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, 1993.
Brueggemann’s vision for evangelism consists of helping people to switch narratives from the world of consumerism, individualism and violence to the narrative of the people of God. He proposes a simple schema and method for evangelism as this imaginative telling/re-telling of the story of God, applying it to several texts and audiences. The schema is: 1) the victory of Yahweh in the conflict between the powerful forces of good and evil, life and death, etc.; 2) the reliable witness who makes the credible announcement; 3) the appropriate response or appropriation of the story. Brueggemann works through this schema applying it to a number of texts which draw out the primary themes of the story of God. He then shows how this schema might be applied to three main audiences: outsiders, jaded insiders, and children. Brueggemann’s vision for how we tell the story to children is key. This section should be required reading for every children’s minister/pastor.
Walter Brueggemann has been extremely influential in my theological formation. I am not surprised by my visceral “amen” to this book. I most resonate with his precision while describing the central conflict of our time. He rightly argues this conflict is with the “socio-economic, political practices which bespeak theological idolatry…which has come to exercise sovereignty over most of our life.” His vision for overcoming this idolatry is a patient, imaginative re-articulation of a counter-narrative – the narrative of the people of God found in scripture – which proclaims the good news that the way of Christ is the only way to the life that is truly life.
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