Saturday, March 7, 2015

Book Review: Get Real by John Leonard

A few months ago we read this book as a family.  Here is Anna's review of it.

Get Real: Sharing Your Everyday Faith Every Day

By John S. Leonard

What does it look like to share the gospel of grace with those around us on a daily basis?  This is the question asked and soundly answered in this book.

Leonard begins in the first chapter by drawing the distinction between a “real” approach to evangelism and the conventional presentation-style approach.  He continues to develop this distinction throughout the book, but this first chapter shows how the conventional approach can be awkward and artificial at best, cold and uncaring at worst.

Chapters 2 and 3 lay the theological foundation for the rest of the book.  In chapter 2, Leonard describes the gospel of grace for us and reminds us that we can no more save ourselves from sin than fly.  This is crucial, for we cannot share God’s grace with others if we have not been transformed by it ourselves.

Chapter 3 builds on this picture of grace by expounding how Jesus Himself communicated grace to others in Luke 7.  His ministry touched the lives of a poor Jewish widow, a rich Roman centurion, the prophet John the Baptist, and the sinful woman.  Leonard refers to these as “the four compass points of humanity,” representing the full spectrum of both human and spiritual experience.  This shows that no one is beyond the reach of God’s grace.  If we are to follow in the steps of Christ, we are called to get dirty in His service as we learn to love sinners well and communicate grace to those who need it most.  This is messy business that lies beyond our power, bringing us right back to our own need for God’s grace.

The remainder of the book (chapters 4-17) contains the practical development and application of these truths.  Leonard discusses good listening, being engaged in our communities, praying with unbelievers, using illustrations that apply to our hearers, raising curiosity, the importance of the local church, the nature of our testimonies, using apologetics with love, and the importance of asking unbelievers for help.  Liberally sprinkled throughout are fascinating anecdotes from Leonard’s own experiences.

The “real” approach that Leonard advocates is a breath of fresh air.  It is simple, humble, and loving.  It is also the natural expression of grace-centered theology; if we have been saved by God’s grace alone, then we know that it is only His grace that can save anyone else.  If it is not up to us to guarantee the salvation of those to whom we speak, we are free to simply love them as we have been loved and to allow the grace that we have received to overflow into all aspects of our lives and relationships.  The results are in God’s hands.

Leonard’s writing is clear, engaging, and accessible.  While the content is meaningful and thought-provoking, it is communicated in a way that is easy to read and understand.

I highly recommend this book to anyone!

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