It can be difficult to know how to tell others about our Christian convictions. It can be difficult to know the best way to tell others about what we believe and why we believe it. And while I am sure this has always been the case, there are new challenges that come with the seismic shifts we’ve seen in Western culture over the past decade or two—shifts that have carried us into what is increasingly obviously a post-Christian West in which our religious convictions are now a social liability far more than an asset.
I am often asked for recommendations on books that someone can hand to an unbeliever, a skeptic, or a religious wanderer—books that may help persuade them to come to the Christian faith. I generally recommend Keller’s The Reason for God because of the way he engages intellectually with the modern mind, but now I’m glad to also be able to recommend a newer option: Rory Shiner and Peter Orr’s The World Next Door. This book, they say, “is our best shot at commending the Christian message to our friends. It’s driven by the universal human instinct to increase the joy of finding a good thing by sharing it with others. We both think we’ve found a good thing—the best thing—in finding God through Jesus. We want to share it.”
They take an interesting angle on an evangelistic work by framing it around the Apostle’s Creed, the most widely accepted summary of Christian truth. And so they lead the reader through the Creed, phrase by phrase. They discuss the being and nature of God and tell of his creative power; they introduce Jesus as God and man, as incarnated and virgin-born, as crucified and buried, as resurrected, reigning, and returning; they tell of the Holy Spirit and his ongoing work in this world. In other words, they lead the reader through the most essential claims of Christianity.
While I am obviously not a skeptic of the faith, I do believe its approach is helpful and will prove effective. I admire the authors for not running away from even the most offensive of Christianity’s claims and from its most difficult doctrines.
There are all sorts of good reasons to become a Christian, some of them very serious. But one of the more surprising reasons is that being a Christian is actually really interesting and, in its own way, fun.” I couldn’t agree more and it’s my hope that many people read The World Next Door and come to embrace the faith it describes.