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Bringing The Gospel Home by Randy Newman

Bringing The Gospel Home

While we are all called to evangelise, it's often in the family setting that evangelism is at its most difficult. Author Randy Newman doesn't shy away from this difficulty, rather he embraces it head on.

The inspiration for the book comes from Newman's own family situation having grown up in a Jewish family and becoming a believer in University. Newman had the dual tension in his life of working for an evangelistic missionary organisation (Campus Crusade for Christ) and the reality that sharing his faith home was off limits.

A couple of key themes resonate throughout this book:

Families are difficult: Sharing with family members can be daunting. These people have known us the longest and have seen us at our worst. They are least likely to fall for our pseudo spiritual facades.

Often our choice to follow Christ is counter to the culture of our family which may form its identity along religious or ethnic lines. We have created an offence in the family setting by apparently turning our back on the heritage and values of those who raised us and those we grew up with.

Families are dysfunctional: Newman shares a telling quote from Tolstoy "All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way." With rising rates of abuse, addiction, divorce and betrayal, the pain of wounds inflicted at the family level are very deep.

The response to our decision to follow Jesus out of these places of dysfunction are frequently characterised by anger, manipulation and rejection. Against this background Newman shows us the power and the gift we have in grace hope and love. One of the strengths of this book is that Newman begins his discussions of grace, hope and love by looking at the theology behind these words and concepts.

There is Hope: In the face of difficult and dysfunctional families we can't win arguments though the brilliance of our own logic or persuasive rhetoric. Using Biblical outlines and personal stories Newman provides an antidote to this difficulty with pictures of healing through humility and listening. Bringing the gospel home in effective and life changing ways takes time, love and perseverance.

Though Newman doesn't shy away from the difficulties of life and many of the stories he tells are quite heart rending, this book is actually very readable. His narrative style is conversational and engaging and he shows us biblically and anecdotally that the in midst of perseverance there is hope and salvation for those closest to us.

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