An evocative look at what skeptics--those with genuine and substantive doubt or disagreement with the substance of Christian faith--can teach us about the seekers who come to our churches in search of the answers to life's deepest questions.
To understand the hearts and minds of those who have yet to commit themselves to the gospel, Frank G. Honeycutt assembled two extraordinary groups of people. The first was comprised of skeptics, folks who rarely, if ever, darkened the a church door. Though they were not hostile to Christian faith, they had little sense that it could be personally meaningful for them. The second group was made up of seekers, those who were just beginning to explore the gospel and the claims it might have on their lives. Both groups covenanted to attend worship at Honeycutt's church, and then meet with him afterward to share their perceptions of his sermons. The results provide insights that preachers rarely have the opportunity to gain into the questions and struggles of skeptics and seekers. In sometimes startling ways the author reveals how some aspects of the gospel message appeal easily and directly to skeptics and seekers, while others can often be a stumbling block. Offering the reader helpful guidance in how to craft a sermon so that seekers might best grasp its message, he also reminds them that the work of transforming human hearts is finally God's business, and that when God's word is spread abroad it will not return empty.
"Frank Honeycutt writes from a pastor's heart with the poet's gift for language. He has listened to skeptics outside the church with deep respect and without defensiveness. To borrow a phrase from Jane Wagner's play The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe, he has 'listened with the intensity most of us have only when talking.' He brings equal sensitivity to conversations with those newly returned to the church. But even beyond his thoughtful responses to these particular groups he brings his love of language--unforgettable images, earthy stories, the ordinary deemed holy. His carefully crafted sermons argue against the notion that seekers are looking only for casual conversations jotted on note cards. Every preacher willing to listen will be engaged by this book, for there are skeptics and seekers sitting in the sanctuary every Sunday." -- Barbara K. Lundblad, Associate Professor of Preaching, Union Theological Seminary of New York
"Allowing us to peer over his shoulder as he thinks about the challenges of communicating the faith to people, we see a master evangelist at work. Frank begins with theology, but his theology quickly moves him toward people, particularly people who, for one reason or another, are on the fringes of the faith. He allows them to talk, to tell their stories, to object, to offer resistance. He takes them seriously, and engages them energetically, but he also takes seriously the peculiarity of the gospel. Thus this book is a case study in how pasters ought to lead the church in its missionary, evangelistic task of articulating the faith to those who do not yet have it." -- William H. Willimon, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina (from the foreword)
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