"The one who is coming after me is stronger than I am. I’m not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire."
Ministry of John the Baptist
3 In those days John the Baptist appeared in the desert of Judea announcing, 2 “ Change your hearts and lives! Here comes the kingdom of heaven! ” 3 He was the one of whom Isaiah the prophet spoke when he said:
4 John wore clothes made of camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist. He ate locusts and wild honey.
5 People from Jerusalem, throughout Judea, and all around the Jordan River came to him. 6 As they confessed their sins, he baptized them in the Jordan River. 7 Many Pharisees and Sadducees came to be baptized by John. He said to them, “ You children of snakes! Who warned you to escape from the angry judgment that is coming soon? 8 Produce fruit that shows you have changed your hearts and lives. 9 And don’t even think about saying to yourselves, Abraham is our father. I tell you that God is able to raise up Abraham’s children from these stones. 10 The ax is already at the root of the trees. Therefore, every tree that doesn’t produce good fruit will be chopped down and tossed into the fire. 11 I baptize with water those of you who have changed your hearts and lives. The one who is coming after me is stronger than I am. I’m not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. 12 The shovel he uses to sift the wheat from the husks is in his hands. He will clean out his threshing area and bring the wheat into his barn. But he will burn the husks with a fire that can’t be put out. ”
Those who serve on mission fields in areas where Christian faith is not the dominant religion quickly come to understand a central truth: when one is sharing the gospel, one must have a place to start the conversation. If the person being addressed is unfamiliar with Christian concepts and terms, one must pick up on things with which he or she is familiar and relate these to the Christian message. Without this middle ground, there can be no effective witness to God’s salvation in Christ. Everyone who shares the good news today, Robert Tuttle points out, would do well to learn this basic truth for communicating the gospel. While the Christian message is universal—intended for all persons, everywhere—the language we use to convey this message may not be. The key is always to be sensitive to the deep questions with which one’s friends and acquaintances are struggling, and to look for ways to relate the life-changing message of the gospel to these questions.
The lively and direct writing style offers a clear, user-friendly guide to sharing one's personal faith. Illustrations and examples are drawn from the contexts of both North America and outside of North America. The material is focused on the crucial and difficult task of communication the gospel to persons who have not grown up with the language and symbolism of the church. Readers will understand that in an effort to communicate the gospel to persons unfamiliar with its terminology and concepts, they must first learn to identify a common middle ground from which to begin. They will learn the basic tools for communicating the gospel, including how to relate the life-changing message of the gospel to the deep questions people ask.