Fay, Bill. Share Jesus Without Fear. Nashville, TN: Broadman and Holman Publishers, 1999.
Fay, in Share Jesus without Fear, walks believers through why, when, where, and how they must point sinners to Jesus Christ. He begins by emphasizing the underlying reason for evangelism. Fay writes that evangelism has nothing to do with saving souls and everything to do with obedience (p.3). He argues that faithfulness must be the motivation for Christians that claim to serve the only true God.
Pointing the reader to the vision of evangelism, Fay details some scathing facts concerning the evangelism of Evangelicals. Only five to ten percent of Christians have shared their faith in the past year (p.6). The claims of Christians aren’t matching their professed commitments. As put by Faye, they are guilty of the sin of silence. According to him, there are two groups of Christians, those who talk about the lost and those who talk to the lost (p.8). The least area of evangelism for believers, according to Faye, is the primary area where the majority of sinners come to faith in Christ (p.12). The lack of urgency in Christianity is a testimony that doesn’t communicate the claims of Christianity. Hypocrisy therefore permeates the majority. Fay however argues that the present situation isn’t how the future must be.
Continuing his pleas for consistent Christianity, Fay clearly longs to help believers share their faith consistently and openly. Being obedient himself, he permeates his writing with many examples of his own personal evangelism. All of his arguments are founded on the authority of Scripture alone (p.41). With God as the author of salvation and His Word being part of His equation, it makes sense to use Scripture as the foundation of evangelism.
Continuing his presentation, Fay encourages the believer to use specific questions which make the believer a “fork in the road” for the lost. The goal is to present the gospel, encouraging a “yes” or “no” decision. If the sinner trusts in Christ, Fay encourages the believer to point him or her to some foundational beliefs and a local Bible believing body of believers to connect with.
Fay finishes with showing the reader how to respond to various objections that may come against Christianity as he or she seeks to share the gospel. He even gives believers some suggestions for developing and keeping non-Christian friends. Lastly, Fay teaches his readers to pray for the lost. He follows this up with a review of his content, as well as, some more detailed emphasis in various appendixes.
William Fay deals extensively with the subject of personal evangelism in his book Share Jesus without Fear. He is very confident of his book being needed due to the lack of personal evangelism by the church. Using examples from personal experience, Fay shows how easy it is for any believer to share the gospel. Not only does he use personal examples where individuals accept the gospel, but he also uses some examples where they reject the gospel. His purpose–that Christians cannot fail if they simply share the truth–is clear. God can use imperfect attempts to share the gospel; however, Fay argues that God cannot use a Christian’s silence to save anyone.
With a plethora of examples from various Christians, from all walks of life, Fay’s theme convinces his readers that even they can “share Jesus without fear.” Fay not only uses examples of cowardly Christians sharing Jesus without fear, but he also shows examples of believers using his method on intellectuals and uneducated people. He shows that the gospel is powerful and God the Holy Spirit is the only “Convincer.”
Fay’s foundation for evangelism is the 66 books of the Old and New Testaments. He is unashamedly conservative, and he presupposes the Bible is God’s holy Word. He also assumes his readers believe the Bible as well. If a reader does not have this same presupposition, then he or she will find little use of this book. Fay’s arguments are convincing. Christians will find his arguments scathing if they were previously silent concerning the gospel. In one instance Fay ponders what makes a “good” Christian. Then, assuming “obedience to God” is the reader’s answer, he asks how can a “good Christian” not share his or her faith? The answer is obvious that a good Christian cannot be silent. This naturally follows that if the reader isn’t sharing his or her faith then he or she isn’t a good Christian.
Fay’s uses the illustration of drowning in water to vividly remind Christians of where and what they were saved from. There are still people just like the readers who are still drowning, and Christians must get to the edge, throwing in the lifeline of the gospel. Without the obedience of believers in this endeavor, sinners are doomed for hell.
Fay’s book is interesting in that it teaches the opposite of what most Southern Baptists teach. Numbers are exalted to such an ungodly position in the SBC as if pastors are capable of producing them. There are even reports released every year based on the number of baptisms, member growth, Sunday School growth, fastest growth, etc. Fay teaches that as long as believers share the gospel, they cannot fail. This is desperately needed throughout evangelicalism. Every member of God’s kingdom must see himself or herself as stewards of the mysteries of God. They are either good stewards or bad stewards, and according to Fay, most are bad stewards.
Fay doesn’t teach Evangelicals anything biblically they don’t probably already know, but he does teach them how to live out the truth. Fay includes “Five Share Jesus Questions” to help believers pave the way for sharing the gospel. Not only this, but he gives the reader several “Conversation Joggers” to help him or her open the door to start the “Share Jesus Questions.” Furthermore, if the believer starts receiving objections to Christianity from the unbeliever, Fay lists possible responses to many possible objections while always reminding the reader that God the Holy Spirit is the only One who convinces and saves sinners.
The greatest asset of this book is that it is thoroughly biblical. With the Word of God and his scathing statistics, Fay emphasizes the necessity for every believer to live out all of his or her beliefs. Christians, who realize that they’re not responsible for the salvation of anyone, should be liberated to tell everyone the good news. Not only this, but if Christians will show their love of Christ through their lives, then they will be as attractive to sinners as Christ was in the 1st Century. Also, Christians aren’t playing the lottery when they share the gospel, for if they tell, then they succeed. One out of one Christian who verbalizes the gospel, succeeds, for the goal is to tell everyone.
The only bad aspect about the book is the lack of negative examples. Almost every example Fay used ended with the unbeliever accepting Christ. If his goal was to encourage believers to share the gospel regardless the response, then he should have included more examples of unbelievers rejecting the gospel. After all, as Fay said, if the average unbeliever must hear the gospel 7.6 times before he or she accepts it, then theoretically, a rejection of the gospel will occur seven out of eight times. When a believer puts “Share Jesus Without Fear’s” principles into practice, he or she may become quickly discouraged over the lack of acceptance. Fay does argue for the believer’s success regardless the response, but his examples are inconsistently positive if the response is irrelevant.
Even with this small negative statement, every Christian on earth should read this book. The content is thoroughly Biblical and his application is extremely practical. Any Christian can use his suggested questions, and there’s not much to memorize. The book is also an easy read. Any believer with a ninth grade education could benefit from this book. The suggested steps and Scriptures are so easy to understand and apply that they can be memorized in a single day of moderate work.
Not only can believers study this, but it can be used by anyone teaching on the subject of personal evangelism. Fay’s questions, suggested Scriptures, Conversation Joggers, and Responses to Objections can be used to teach teenagers up to the elderly. Although this book can be used in teaching, there is little to be learned which is “new knowledge” on the subject of personal evangelism. However, if Christians are looking to learn practical ways to start a conversation, share the gospel, point a sinner to Jesus, and point them to a Bible believing church, then this is the book for them.