Dear friends, I would like to say before the onset of this review that I highly recommend this book.Given that 90% of professing Christians never share their faith with non-believers, this book is desperately needed in the church today! Many “intellectuals” are critics of this book, honestly because of its simple, straightforward approach to sharing the Gospel. Buy this book and give it a read. You’ll be surprised at how easy it really is to share your faith with the lost! Again, I highly recommend this book!!
Bibliographical Entry: Fay, William, and Linda Evans Shepherd. Sharing Jesus without Fear. Nashville: B & H Publishing, 1999.
Bill Fay is both an evangelist and a radio personality. He was the president and CEO of a multi-million-dollar corporation before the Lord took hold of him through a series of life-shattering events. He owned a house of prostitution and other not-so-morally correct businesses, and was hostile towards the Christian faith.
Trials and near-imprisonment brought him to his knees and to a saving relationship with Christ. Since then, it has been his passion to equip others to share the good news of Christ and overcome their fears of evangelism. Fay has witnessed to approximately 25,000 people since becoming a Christian, credentials far more impressive than his authorship or his Denver Seminary degree. Fay currently lives with his family in Englewood, Colorado.
Share Jesus without fear is a no nonsense down-to-earth, practical book about how easy it is to share one’s faith. Its author, William Fay, had it all. He was “successful” by the world’s standards and lacked for nothing, or so he thought. As the leader of a multi-million dollar corporation, Fay thought he would never need God. However, something happened in his life that would sever his ties from the mob, from his brothel house, and from his life of iniquity. After an arrest, for running a house of prostitution, a friend who had been witnessing to him over the previous year reached out to him. Paul and Kathie Grant invited him over for dinner one evening and shared about how the Lord had changed their lives. Sometime later, after having been arrested for solicitation of prostitution and facing a 6-8 year jail sentence, Fay reached out to his former pastor who had married him and his fourth wife. The rest was history. Fay immediately began sharing his faith, first witnessing to his daughter that he had not heard from in 23 years. He then went on to share his faith with officers and detectives who had previously arrested him, and has over the past 20 years shared his faith with more than 25,000 people. His message is simple; you cannot fail.
Fay begins his book where any book on evangelism should begin. Chapter 1 is entitled “You can’t fail”. Whether people are receptive to what one says is irrelevant. What is important is that one is obedient to God in sharing their faith. If someone is not receptive, the person sharing their faith has not failed, because “God is sovereign” (p. 3). Sharing one’s faith has “nothing whatsoever to do with bringing anyone to the Lord. It has everything to do with obedience. Even if you don’t have the privilege to see someone respond, you have not failed, because you were obedient” (p. 3).
Fay discusses in chapter 2 that as little as 5-10 percent of people in church have shared their faith in the past year (p. 6). This means that 90-95 percent of people in the church are guilty of the sin of silence. Fay expounds on the sin of “silence” by boldly stating that “the wound that killed [Jesus] was silence. No one spoke up for Him.” Likewise, “we deny Jesus by never opening our mouths” to share our faith (p. 6). Churches that choose not to evangelize will indeed fossilize, says Faye (p. 7).
Fay places the readers of his book into two categories: those who talk “about” the lost and those who talk “to” the lost. Having a silver fish symbol on your car, or a “Honk if you love Jesus” bumper sticker will not suffice. Evangelism involves telling one’s friends “how to go from the state of death to the state of life” (p. 8). It doesn’t matter how new the Christian is, or how old the Christian is – every Christian is ready. Christians need not fear being qualified to share their faith. Every Christian is qualified by being obedient to God’s command to go and make disciples. According to Fay, it takes an average of 7.6 times of hearing the gospel for a non-believer to respond, and one never knows if, when one shares their faith, if it isn’t the 6.6th time they’ve heard. Sharing one’s faith is fundamentally important because “75-90 percent of new believers come to Christ through a friend or acquaintance who explained the good news on a one-to-one basis” (p. 12).
Chapter 3 addresses the biggest reason people give for not sharing their faith. Whether one feels they have the “gift of evangelism” is irrelevant. Each Christian is commanded in the Great Commission “to evangelize, to encourage evangelism and to urge evangelism” (p. 15). God has equipped Christians with the strength to share their faith (Phil 4:13) regardless of our gifts, talents, or abilities – whether they realize it or not. Christians must lay their fears of rejection aside and be obedient to the commands of God. One need not be afraid because success doesn’t rest within the confines of their actions. The evangelist will never win someone to Christ. God may indeed work through someone, despite their fears. If people reject the message, they are not rejecting the messenger, “they are rejecting Jesus and God’s Word. Therefore you did not fail in your obedience” (p. 17). Excuses such as “I’m afraid of what my friends will think”, “I don’t know enough”, “I’m afraid of losing my friends”, and “I don’t know how” are just that – excuses. Fay vehemently exclaims, “you will have to drop those excuses for not sharing your faith” (p. 27). As Christians learn to disregard those excuses, they experience new levels of joy and new depths in their relationship with God.
In chapters 4, 5, & 6, Fay reaches the heart of his subject matter. In these chapters, Fay introduces us to his method for reaching the lost with the good news of Jesus Christ. Fay begins with what he calls “conversation joggers” on page 30. He uses questions that are like a thermometer to “determine if God is at work and to see if their hearts are open” (p. 30). Such questions include “What are the biggest problems facing women today?” and “Do you go to church anywhere”? [These and many more optional conversation joggers are found in the handy appendix on page 145-146.] These conversation joggers are lead-in questions to “the five share Jesus questions”. These include questions such as “Do you have any spiritual beliefs?”, “To you, who is Jesus?”, “Do you think there is a heaven and hell?”, If you died tonight where would you go?”, and “If what you were believing were not true would you want to know?” These questions are meant to allow the evangelist to share his faith in a non-argumentative fashion without embarking on disagreements of intellect and world religions. These questions put the evangelist in control without putting the unbeliever on the defensive. Fay emphasizes that it is important to simply listen while administering these 5 questions. After all, listening conveys love, and love for God and love for people should be one’s motive for evangelism. After sharing these 5 questions, Fay encourages the evangelist to share 7 scripture passages with the unbeliever in a unique fashion – by asking the unbeliever to read each of these out loud. After each passage is read, the person sharing their faith simply says, “What does this say to you?” Asking this simple question is not a defense or an argument. The evangelist simply turns the pages and stays out of God’s way. For this reason, this book could be entitled “Turn pages without fear”. It’s just that simple. After having shared these Bible passages, the evangelist may, if the opportunity is right, ask the 5 “commitment questions’ such as “Are you a sinner?” and “Do you want forgiveness of sins?”
Fay’s approach is so simple one cannot fail, only be obedient. The evangelist is in the page turning business, the evangelist doesn’t argue. Additionally, Fay even tells the evangelist “In love, to please shut up” (p. 64). This is so the Holy Spirit can work in the unbeliever’s heart to convict the person. The evangelist must remember that “The battle is not with you or me. The battle is with God and His Word” (p. 64).
Just when one thought Fay’s methodology could not be any simpler, he introduces, “the Why principle” on page 65. When unbelievers give objections to the 5 commitment questions, simply ask “Why?” Asking “why” enough may allow the evangelist to filter through the myriad of alleged objections and get to the heart of the unbeliever’s concerns. He also shares, in chapter 7, steps to take for believers who have accepted Christ as their Lord and Savior. Additionally in Chapter 8, he goes even further to make the process of evangelism both easy and non-confrontational with his “ready responses to common objections” (p. 81).
In Chapter 9, Fay emphasizes the importance of keeping non-Christian friends. He reminds us that Christ died for unbelievers, He loves them, they desperately need Him, and we were called to be fishers of men. For this reason, believers need to make non-Christian friends. If believers isolate themselves from unbelievers, they “will never know the joy of sharing their faith” (p. 114). Fay goes on to say that “God did not call you to hide from the world, He called you to go into the world… we need to go because we cannot make disciples at a distance” (p. 115). Fay offers suggestions on how to make non-Christian friends, with ideas such as meeting neighbors, asking unbelievers for prayer requests, video and story parties, kind deeds, block parties, community service, and reconnecting with people from the past. All of these are avenues that can provide opportunities for the believer to share one’s faith.
Fay concludes his book with an encouragement to pray for non-believers. He says, “I encourage you to take time out of your day to pray” (p. 129). Not only does one pray before, during, and after you share one’s faith with a non-believer, but one also prays that God would open doors and give them opportunities for evangelism. Believers are to also pray that God would give them love for unbelievers, that unbelievers will see Christ in them, and that, when given the opportunity, the believer will have boldness needed to share their faith.
Fay’s final chapter is a call to action and a reminder that the unbeliever’s eternal life is at stake. Fay contends that the time is now, and that when one is burdened by God to share their faith, they must respond immediately with obedience, for “God has been preparing this moment before the world began” (p. 143).
Although Fay hammers home the idea that success isn’t measured in the response the unbeliever gives, he nonetheless uses considerably more positive responses from his experiences while sharing his faith. “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” (Jared Moore, “An Honest Book Review of Share Jesus Without Fear). A believer could become disheartened and discouraged over the lack of acceptance, given the number of successful attempts portrayed in Fay’s journeys. Fay proclaims on several occasions that the believer is successful only by their obedience, however, “his examples are inconsistently positive if the response is irrelevant” (Jared Moore).
Another negative aspect is Fay’s implication that a definition of sin is not needed (pp. 99-100). Understandably, this is a method that attempts to impress upon the believer that argumentation will not gain results, and correctly so. However, intrinsically speaking, it seems important to at least interject a brief explanation of what sin is, especially given that one or two of the passages the believer is asked to share directly address sin themselves. Unbelievers desperately need to understand what sin is – that it is described in the Bible as transgression of the law of God and rebellion against God. They also need to understand what the penalty for sin is – a feat Fay accomplishes in his method of evangelism.
Believers struggle to share their faith. Some may simply not care, however many do care, but are unable to do so. This book provides the means for those who desire to share their faith to actually do something – to share about the hope that is within them. The theme of the book is valid and necessary because there are a lot of believers who struggle sharing their faith. His arguments concerning the simplicity and ease of his methodology are foundationally well supported and convincing. Many believers struggle with and can improve upon [their witnessing skills] if they [would] apply the systems in Fay’s book.
The fact that Fay had been radically changed by God was not only a motivational factor in his evangelistic efforts, but serves as a motivation for thousands who will read his book. Fay is proof positive that God can change a person and make that person a new creation. “The personal testimony of Fay serves as one of the primary means of conveying the effectiveness of God’s word being used to convert lost souls”. Fay seeks to convey the important message that, through a few, simple, non-argumentative questions and scripture verses, the power of God’s Word can have an opportunity to change yet more people. No theological debate or lengthy apologetics sessions needed – merely a willing, obedient vessel through which God can work. All it takes to be “successful”, according to Fay’s method, is a willingness to be obedient and a love for both God and the lost.
Fay’s method of evangelism is simple and fail-proof, provided the believer can remember that success does not lie within their efforts. Fay lays out an easy to follow, step by step, non-argumentative approach to sharing the gospel – an approach that allows the Holy Spirit and the power of Scripture to work. This is a book that not only equips Christians to share their faith, but also inspires and encourages them. Every Christian should have a copy of this book in their library. All Christians can know, through reading this book, that they are indeed qualified to share their faith with even the most intellectual and argumentative unbeliever. The book and the steps of evangelism are simple to understand, practical, and easy to memorize, making this a great tool for sharing one’s faith and allowing one’s self to be an instrument of God through which God can reach the unbeliever.
As long as believers are obedient and share their faith, they cannot fail. They are merely “page turners” who need to “shut up”, get out of the way, and let the Word and the Holy Spirit work in the unbelievers life!!
Summary of Key Questions and Verses
Questions to gage where the person is at spiritually:
- What are your spiritual beliefs?
- To you, who is Jesus?
- Do you think there is heaven or hell?
- If you died tonight, where would you go?
- If what you believe is not right, would you want to know?
Verses to share with non-believers:
- For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23)
- For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:23)
- Jesus replied, ” I assure you: Unless someone is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (John 3:3) [Why did Jesus come to die?]
- Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. (John 14:6)
- If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. With the heart one believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth one confesses, resulting in salvation. (Romans 10:9-10)
- If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9)
- And He died for all so that those who live should no longer live for themselves, but for the One who died for them and was raised. (2 Corinthians 5:15)
- Listen! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and have dinner with him, and he with Me. (Revelation 3:20)
Questions to ask the non-believer after sharing the Gospel with them?
- Are you a sinner?
- Do you want forgiveness of your sins?
- Do you believe that Jesus died on the cross for you and rose again on the 3rd day?
- Are you willing to surrender your life to Jesus and live for Him daily?
- Are you willing to invite Jesus into your life and to submit your life to Him?
Things you want to hear the non-believer say as they pray. You should not pray for the non-believer, but should rather give them an opportunity to pray from their heart. Father, I have sinned against you. I want forgiveness for my sins. I believe Jesus died on the cross for me, and that he rose again on the 3rd day. I give you my life to do with as you wish. I surrender to you, Lord Jesus. I submit to you are the sovereign Lord of my life and will honor you with my life just as you gave your life for me. Forgive me and make me a new creation. Thank you for the blood that was shed on Calvary for the forgiveness of my sins! In Christ’s name I pray, amen.
Key words: Evangelism, The Great Commission, How to Witness, How to share my faith, church growth, Liberty University, EVAN565.