Is “evangelism” a daunting word for you or your family?
Do you hold back from sharing your faith for fear of being mocked or excluded?
If you answered “yes!” to any of these questions, then you need to read this new book.
Evangelism as Exiles addresses all these questions and more.
The author, Elliot Clark, is himself an experienced missionary who has served for years in Muslim-majority countries.
Clark draws on his vast experience as a cross-cultural missionary to encourage and challenge the American church in its efforts at evangelism.
Clark centers his teachings around the insights offered in the biblical letter of 1 Peter. This book, Clark argues, is more relevant than ever to the modern church, especially in America.
The book of 1 Peter was written to a group of Christians who are in much the same situation as modern American believers: “ridicule and social exclusion,” according to Clark.
“Those…Christians lived with some measure of stability and comfort, yet they experienced repeated reviling from family members, neighbors, and coworkers,” Clark writes. “‘Christian’ became the cultural byword for idiot or…bigot.”
Doesn’t this sound familiar?
As American Christians, we often face the same circumstances as these believers from 1 Peter. We don’t often experience the extreme persecution faced by our brothers and sisters in other nations, but we still find ourselves on the outer ring of society because of our faith.
In his letter, Peter “labeled such inconveniences and harassments as ‘fiery trials,’” Clark writes. Even though we may not die for our faith, we’re still being persecuted.
Clark urges his readers to accept this uncomfortable state of affairs as a blessing, however. “When the church is ostracized and suffering, we’re following in the footsteps of Jesus,” he writes. “We’re joining our King in exile.”
This is an incredibly encouraging point for modern Christians to understand. But Clark doesn’t stop there.
If we’re living in cultural exile, he asks, how are we to conduct evangelism? How do we live on mission for Christ when “we’re strangers and sojourners in our own land?”
That’s what this book is truly about.
Clark begins his examination of 1 Peter by highlighting the concept of “the hope of glory.” The future glorification of believers in Christ is an important theme throughout 1 Peter.
“By God’s power [you] are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now, for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials…” (1 Peter 1:5-6)
Clark urges his readers to meditate on this truth. “When we face relational suffering and social exile, this hope-filled eternal outlook is what we most need,” he asserts.
“That hope…is a hope of heaven.”
When we’re hurt by the constant rejection of a culture that’s deeply antagonistic to Christ, we must hold on to the knowledge that better days are coming for us in eternity.
And that kind of hope is often what attracts unbelievers to our witness!
“Hope in future glory fills our hearts with joy and animates our witness,” writes Clark, “even overcoming hindrances to evangelism like shame and exclusion.”
Shame, Clark argues, is an all-too-common reason why Western Christians don’t share their faith.
If you’ve been mocked by friends, family, or even strangers for your beliefs, you know what that shame feels like. It may lead to a desire to be silent about your faith.
But 1 Peter addresses this as well. How can shame keep us silent when we know that, without the Gospel, those around us will perish in eternity?
“For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and it if begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God?” (1 Peter 4:17)
Clark uses this verse to remind his readers that “if we have the appropriate fear for [the unsaved] and of God, we’ll preach the gospel. We’ll speak out and not be ashamed.”
And this is only the beginning of Clark’s study of 1 Peter!
Throughout the rest of the book, Clark writes about witnessing with respect (1 Peter 2:13-17), declaring the praises of God in a culture hostile to His Name (1 Peter 2:9-10), and more.
It’s an incredibly empowering book for those of us who may not face physical persecution for our faith but still struggle to witness to our culture.
Clark’s strong understanding of 1 Peter provides a fresh perspective on evangelism, our eternal future, and the joy of walking closely with Christ.
Find your copy today!