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Tell the Truth: The Whole Gospel to the Whole Person by Whole People: a Training Manual on the Message & Methods of God-Centered Witness [Paperback]

Will Metzger
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Jun 1981
Will Metzger's training manual on the message and methods of God-centered evangelism is now in its third edition! This revised and expanded version of the original guide published in 1981 is written to address the concern that many Christians, entrusted with the gospel message, have forgotten the message and their responsibility to accurately convey it. The recovery of a God-centered and grace-centered gospel is imperative, says Will Metzger. In the third edition of his critically-acclaimed training manual he expands on the topics of grace and worship. And he emphasizes the centrality of sovereign, saving grace that completely exalts God. In addition, he offers a narrative approach to witnessing with the story """"Come Home,"""" training materials for Christians who want to learn God-centered evangelism, and a study guide on evangelism suitable for individuals or groups. More than ever, Tell the Truth is ready to serve the church as a comprehensive, accessible and effective guide to God-centered evangelism.
--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Product details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Intervarsity Pr (Jun 1981)
  • ISBN-10: 087784464X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0877844648
  • Product Dimensions: 20.3 x 14 x 2.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,145,436 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best book on evangelism 14 Dec 1998
By A Customer
I am a pastor in southern california with extensive experience in campus evangelism (cold turkey and open air preaching) and evangelism through the local church. I must have read over 20 books on evangelism and this book is by far the best book on evangelism that is both effective and God honoring. The author employs several charts to highlight the differences between God centered and man centered approaches to evangelism which are very helpful. A must read for all Christians!
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By A Customer
Have ever felt frustrated in evangelism? Or lost in what to say? This is the book for you. It will train you in understanding the message of the gospel. Most people feel frustrated in evangelism because they have a man-centered approach and don't consider evangelism in light of God's sovereignty and free offer of salvation in Christ alone. I've used this book in training many college students and they have been very encouraged to speak forth Christ with boldness.
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Amazon.com: 4.6 out of 5 stars  28 reviews
53 of 54 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A God Glorifying, Practical Book on Sharing Your Faith 21 April 2004
By John Botkin - Published on Amazon.com
In his introduction, Will Metzger gives the reader his rationale for writing the book. He wrote this book under the conviction that while the Church has a mandate to evangelize, many within the Church were not doing evangelizing at all, and those who were evangelizing were not doing it well. In response to this trend, Metzger intends this book to help Christians "tell the gospel in a way honoring to God, helpful to others and liberating for you."
Metzger's book is comprised of three parts, each focusing on the three elements listed in the subtitle of the book. The first section deals with the content of the `whole gospel.' Here, he begins by emphasizing that bearing witness is more than just giving one's testimony. There is a specific message to which one is bearing witness. This point leads Metzger to go on to explain what he perceives to be the essentials of the biblical gospel. Metzger says that any biblical gospel presentation must be God-centered, and include an explanation of: (1) "God - the Holy and Loving Creator," (2) "Man - the Sinful Creature," (3) "Christ - the Merciful Redeemer," and (4) "Our Necessary Response." He also believes that knowing accurately the content is more important than simply sharing with as many people as possible.
In section two, Metzger focuses on the idea of converting the whole person. The first chapter in this section explains his view of biblical conversion. Here, Metzger wants to convey the distinction between God's work, regeneration, and the individual's response, conversion. He goes to share his desire to see a better, biblical balance between the use of the emotions and the mind in evangelism. Metzger encourages those who present the gospel not to rely on an appeal to the emotions. The truth of the gospel should inform the mind and so move the emotions. He ends this section by reminding his readers that the will also plays a key role - the gospel is not only an offer of the forgiveness of sins, but a radical call to live a life that is obedient to the Lord.
The third and final section deals with the whole person (character and actions) who delivers the message of the gospel. Metzger begins by explaining that a good methodology is needed, but Christians must not be satisfied with simply having a biblical methodology - they must practice it! He then goes on to explain some ways to do that effectively. He makes the point that the presentation should be a personal one. That is to say that while the message does not change, how we present it to a person may change. One must show an interest in the person's life and move the conversation from the everyday to the eternal.
One of the strengths of Metzger's book is his desire to be thoroughly biblical in his basis for the methodology that he espouses. This is important today when much of what the church does is based, not on the Bible, but on apparent pragmatism. Metzger evaluates many approaches throughout the book and finds them wanting.
Another strength of the book comes in Metzger's distinction between the Christian's responsibility in evangelism and God's responsibility. While, believers have a clear mandate to make disciples by proclaiming the good news of Jesus Christ, they have no obligation to actually save the person. That is to say, they serve as the message-bearer, and God is the one who is responsible for illuminating the sinner's heart and allowing him or her to believe the gospel. This is, in many ways, a liberating truth. It means that one need not be consumed with feelings of guilt if a person does not accept the gospel. Instead, Christians should strive to be faithful to their call to share the gospel and leave the results of that proclamation to God.
A final strength of the book is its practicality. Not only is Metzger theologically precise, but he offers helpful discussion on the very basic ways in which one may begin a conversation that leads to the gospel, and how to do it well. He also provides thirty pages of Appendix material that ranges from listing some complementary approaches to evangelism to suggested schedules that lay out a plan for an evangelism-training course at a local church.
Metzger's book is perhaps one of the best books available on evangelism. This is evident in that he has avoided two classics pitfalls in evangelism. The first is that he has avoided the problem of allowing his theology to be disconnected from his practice. It is clear from his explanation of the gospel that Metzger holds a high view of God's sovereignty that is characteristic of the Reformed faith. Many others who claim to hold to such a faith often embrace evangelistic methodologies that are inconsistent with their theology. Again, Metzger's definition of the gospel, his understanding of how one goes about sharing the gospel, and his belief about how one actually receives salvation all reflect his theology beliefs. Second, Metzger has not, in any way, let his theology squelch his zeal for evangelism. Too many times, those who embrace a high view of God's sovereignty lack a passion for seeing the lost come to saving faith. Like the apostle Paul, Metzger's enthusiasm is driven by his view of God and the truths of the gospel. Many would do well to listen and learn from Metzger's book.
Through this book, Metzger has provided an excellent resource for pastors, missionaries, and all believers who heed the call of God to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ to every tribe, language, and nation.
22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Telling Gospel Truth 22 Oct 2005
By William E. Turner Jr. - Published on Amazon.com
Theology matters in evangelism. A man-centered theology will result in man-centered evangelism. But a God-centered theology will bring forth the fruit of a God-centered evangelism to the glory of Christ. Will Metzger in Tell the Truth seeks to set forth a gospel theology which will compel a faithful proclamation of the name of the Lord. He argues for a holistic presentation of the gospel to the entire person by complete people. In other words our witness must present the whole gospel to the whole person by whole people.

The truth of the gospel has become only a watered down version presented in man-centered theology. Yet, Metzger rejects this reduced gospel and argues that it is imperative to recover the full glory of the gospel to present a faithful witness to the world. Humanity must see the depth of their depravity. They must feel the burden of sin heavy upon their backs. Then they must look up to the cross of Christ, falling down on their knees, where their burden will be lifted. He writes, "You will find that as people begin to grasp the significance of God as creator and man as the sinful creature, they begin to sense that Christ has done exactly what is needed for their dilemma" (71). This is the heart of the gospel which must be recovered.

The gospel of God is for the whole person. Biblical conversion radically changes the mind, emotions and will. The regenerative work of the Spirit takes our hard stony hearts and recreates them into soft and malleable vessels for his use. Conversion is not mere intellectual assent, but a grasping of the gospel with heart, mind and soul. Metzger writes, "We must forsake any kind of evangelism that either overtly exalts the mind or unduly neglects it" (98). Yet, in exalting truth we must not forsake our emotions. Our emotions are to be stirred.

We must proclaim the truth of the gospel to the mind with passion all the while calling for a response. The will cannot be forsaken for if no response is called for; if no change of life is required than the gospel has not been preached. The gospel is calling sinners to embrace Christ. "True evangelists do pop the question. In fact, we are to plead, command, invite and beg" (106)! The gospel is for the whole person.

In a day where methods are placed over the message Metzger succeeds wonderfully in explaining the glorious gospel message of Jesus Christ. In particular, his insistence on the proper use of the law and gospel in evangelism serves as a much needed corrective to an often lopsided gospel presentation (53-82). Many evangelism methods today focus on the "simple gospel message" but fail in declaring the whole gospel by leaving out the law. They tout that Jesus is the answer, but they have forgotten the question. Without the law there can be no gospel. Without sin there is no grace.

The law of God convicts of sin but it is powerless to save. Metzger binds the law and the gospel together thus upholding the biblical message of hope for unbelievers. The law of God must be espoused within the context of the love of God (68-69). Sin would not be known if it were not for the law and the poor sinner would recoil at an angry God unless redeemed by the grace of Christ. It is in recognition of sin that grace is made known. Grace cannot be grace without sin and the convicting work of God's law.

Metzger also lays the axe to the root of false assurance based upon a past profession of faith without the semblance of any present fruit (79-81). There are many who believe that they are Christians because when they were little they prayed a prayer of salvation at Sunday school. Yet, Metzger debunks this false security by effectively arguing that what matters most is not a past profession but a present possession. He writes, "Our eternal security should be focused not on remote past actions but on our present attitude toward Christ" (81).

Metzger's work is a shining spot on the horizon of writing on evangelism for he exalts the sovereignty of God but forsakes not the responsibility of human words and actions. By lifting up God as sovereign hope is assured to those who seek to evangelize the lost. Evangelism centered on human methods and a truncated message will be left ultimately standing dependent on the will of man. However, a God-centered evangelism believes in the biblical hope that Christ purchased people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation (Rev. 5:9). The faithful evangelist can rest in the sure promises of God that his word will not return void. The gospel proclaimed will not vanish off echoing into non-existence. It will be heard, it will be believed and it will be obeyed.

Lastly, it should be briefly noted that Metzger places evangelism within its proper context in the total and comprehensive plan and purpose of God. Evangelism is at best secondary to worship which is number one on God's agenda. He writes, "Worship is our response to his extreme grace" (152). And yet worship and evangelism exist in a reciprocal relationship. One cannot worship without first believing in Christ through the tool of evangelism. And worship brings a deeper understanding of the grace of God which is the natural compelling factor in evangelism. Evangelism brings forth worship and worship constrains evangelism. Evangelism is not an end in itself, but only a means to the end which is worship.

Metzger gives us a gospel saturated book on gospel centered evangelism. He gives cogency and clarity on the nature and reality of our hope - the gospel. He exemplifies the necessity of reaching the whole person: mind, emotions, will. And he reminds us that God uses broken clay pots to carry the thirst-quenching wine of his gospel. In short, he holds forth the gospel as our hope and motivation to bring the message of Christ to a world at enmity with the Sovereign creator of the universe.
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Go Tell It All 25 Nov 2000
By E. D. Seaman - Published on Amazon.com
In a day when pragmatism rules and numbers count and walking the aisle or raising a hand is believed to indicate a new life in Christ, Will Metzger is refreshingly honest in his handling of the Gospel presentation. Metzger divides his book into three sections following the theme of the sub-title; part 1)The Whole Gospel, 2)To the Whole Person, 3)Offered by Whole People. In part one Metzger does a good job of addressing those hungry only for numbers, "Our task is to present faithfully the gospel message by our lives and our lips. Any definition of our task that includes results is confusing our responsibility with God's prerogative." (25)
In part two Metzger discusses presenting the Gospel to the whole person and spends a chapter on each aspect of the whole person; mind, emotions and will. This section of the book addresses the seeming inconsistency in many believers by presenting the view that perhaps these believers are not believers at all because they have only heard and been taught a watered-down version of the Gospel.
Chapters eight and nine, which comprise section three, address the mode in which persons are confronted with the Truth. Here character and communication are discussed in regards to spreading the Gospel on a person to person level. The appendix has two very helpful sections about complementary approaches in evangelism and worksheets for improving our witness.
This book is most definitely a keeper and on a scale of one to twelve I would give it a ten. Metzger's style is easy to read and flows smoothly. This book can be read in a day and most definitely kept as a resource when information on spreading the Truth--Jesus Christ, is required.
Semper fi & agape, Ed D.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally An Evangelism Book Focused On God 17 Aug 2004
By Seeking Disciple - Published on Amazon.com
Most evangelism books that I have read focus on methods and numbering results without giving true honour to the King of kings and the Lord of lords (1 Timothy 6:15) but this is not the case with Will Metzger's book. He truly seeks to establish a God-centered approach to evangelism that is refreshing and encouraging to read.

Metzger's book is not a "how to" manuel for evangelism although he does give you a great overview of the true gospel message and helps the believer to understand that witnessing is made less difficult when we realise that our purpose is to simply tell the whole gospel to the whole person. Metzger challenges modern evangelism by asserting that the message of the gospel is not just the person of Christ but the doctrines of grace.

Overall if you are looking for a book on evangelism than purchase this book today. You will enjoy the study questions at the end of the book that make this book quite easy for small group Bible studies or personal studies. It's time to allow the sovereignty of God to be involved in evangelism and yet it's also time to proclaim the entire gospel to the nations (Matthew 28:19-20) and exalt our awesome God!
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best book on evangelism 14 Dec 1998
By James Shin - Published on Amazon.com
I am a pastor in southern california with extensive experience in campus evangelism (cold turkey and open air preaching) and evangelism through the local church. I must have read over 20 books on evangelism and this book is by far the best book on evangelism that is both effective and God honoring. The author employs several charts to highlight the differences between God centered and man centered approaches to evangelism which are very helpful. A must read for all Christians!
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