CALL AND RESPONSE: Biblical Foundations of a Theology of Evangelism by Walter Klaiber ($24.95)*

ABG: 0-687-04602-5

How Christian is evangelism? How biblical is it? In Call and Response: Biblical Foundations of a Theology of Evangelism, Walter Klaiber seeks answers to such provocative questions. After reviewing the different understandings of evangelism abroad today (fundamentalist, charismatic, pietist, liberationist), he articulates the conviction that evangelism is a central part of the church's mission. At its most basic level, asserts Klaiber, evangelism is the announcement of the good news of salvation to those both outside and inside the church. This understanding of the nature of evangelism provides the basis for the two major themes of the work. The first is a discussion of evangelism in the New Testament in terms of its original contexts and meanings. Here Klaiber examines the rich variety of New Testament images for the task of evangelism, which range from the announcement of glad tidings to the poor, to the revelation of God's righteousness. The second is the question of the significance of personal decision in evangelism. Here the biblical evidence provides the foundation for the author's discussion of the nature and necessity of conversion.


"In the midst of the church's current anxiety and bewilderment and its frantic attempts at effectiveness, Klaiber's book conies like a breath of fresh air—or better, a dash of cold water. The book presses underneath glib answers and easy solutions to the meaty demands of gospel evangelism. To conventional church marketeering, Klaiber responds with a starchy, unsettling vocabulary, daring to make use of words like 'judgment,' `repentance,' and `conversion.' The book stays close to the offer of the Bible and will give spine and energy co those who are serious about the `good news."' - Walter Brueggemann, Columbia Theological Seminary

"This is a book which quietly exposes a gap in contemporary practical theology and then proceeds to fill it in an exemplary fashion. Klaiber has provided us with a classical Protestant treatment of the theology of evangelism. It deserves to be a standard text for years to come; future treatments of evangelism will have to reckon with its carefully developed arguments. Written in a clear and succinct manner, Call and Response covers a wide range of pertinent topics in biblical and systematic depth. Where is here a treasury of insight and resources for the discerning reader. This is a splendid contribution to the scholarly literature on evangelism." - William J. Abraham, Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University

"Bishop Klaiber's insights as a New Testament scholar, his passion for the gospel, his perceptiveness as a church leader, and his analysis as a theologian have converged in this comprehensive book on evangelism. Call and Response provides a much needed, biblically grounded, theologically astute, and pastorally sensitive summary of the evangelistic mandate inherent in the gospel. Bishop Klaiber takes seriously both the biblical and theological foundations of evangelism and the contemporary contexts in which the gospel must be proclaimed and lived. The result is a book that informs, inspires, and motivates the reader." - Kenneth L. Carder, Resident Bishop Nashville Area, The United Methodist Church

"The translation of Klaiber's Call and Response is a very major event for Christian leaders who believe evangelism is important and for those who are not so sure. From a distinctive European perspective, Klaiber advances the discussion about evangelism more than anyone in recent memory." - George G. Hunter III, B. Stanley Jones School of World Mission and Evangelism, Asbury Theological Seminary

"In a field saturated with 'pop' evangelism, Bishop Klaiber's book comes as a bracing reawakening to the church's missionary mandate. Eschewing all passing fads, he offers a probing exposition of the biblical ground of a theology of evangelism. There is no theological reductionism here; he boldly tackles such themes as judgment, repentance, conversion, justification, and discipleship. For a church really serious about witnessing to the Gospel, this book is not simply a 'tract for the times' but solid sustenance for the journey. Make it a 'must' on your reading list." James C. Logan, Wesley Theological Seminary

"Bishop Klaiber's book fills a gap in scholarship and practice—the connection between serious biblical inquiry and present-day evangelism. He calls for accountability to scripture in all things having to do with `missional' preaching." - Neil L. Irons, Resident Bishop Harrisburg Area, The United Methodist Church

WALTER KLAIBER is Resident Bishop German Central Conference, The United Methodist Church.

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