Deeper Waters Podcast 4/30/2016: Luke Cawley

What’s coming up on the next episode of the Deeper Waters Podcast? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Evangelism is sometimes said to be a lost art among evangelicals. We live in a world where we don’t really interact as much with people and make evangelism the focus. The early Christian church spread in an empire where there was no internet, few people writing apologetics works, and great persecution. We have so much more than they and we do so much less than they did. What can we do to improve our track record? How can we better reach those around us?

In order to discuss that, I have decided to bring onto the show Luke Cawley. Who is he?

me on stage

According to his bio:

I am a writer, speaker, trainer and the director of Chrysolis, an organization I helped start in 2012 with the aim of enabling others to better communicate the Jesus story.

Much of my time is spent in contexts where God is not typically discussed in depth. I love interacting with skeptical audiences in universities, schools, bars, cafes and theaters, and anywhere else I’m invited.

I also enjoy enabling individuals and Christian communities to better engage those around them with the story of Jesus.

I have spent most of my adult life founding and developing (missional) Christian communities on university campuses in Britain and Romania and am a regular speaker at conferences and outreach events in different countries.

I was previously part of the writing team at InterVarsity Evangelism and a columnist at the Church of England Newspaper. My first book, The Myth of the Non-Christian: Engaging Atheists, Nominal Christians and the Spiritual but not Religious, was published by InterVarsity Press in 2016.

I have an MA in Evangelism & Leadership from Wheaton College and a Certificate in Theological and Pastoral Studies (concentrated in Christian Apologetics) from Oxford University. I’m married to Whitney, a lovely South Carolinian school teacher, and we have three young children.

Luke is the author of The Myth of the Non-ChristianThis book is not about some kind of idea of universalism. No. It’s a book about how to do evangelism and reach three different types of people. Those people are the ones who describe themselves as spiritual but not religious, atheists and agnostics, and then nominal Christians.
Cawley’s book is one that certainly got me thinking about evangelism and does so still to this day and with my wife and I having a new church here in the area we’re attending, I’m thinking of implementing some ideas if given the chance. Cawley’s book does have apologetics in it, but those are more resources in the back. Instead, consider it a book to be more like Greg Koukl’s Tactics in that Cawley teaches you more how to do apologetics and it depends on the person that you meet.
We’ll be discussing these kinds of matters. Why is it that some evangelistic encounters can fall so incredibly short? Is there a proper time to answer someone’s questions and a proper time to just cut through the questions? How does apologetics play a role in the process of evangelism? What do you do when you encounter people who say they are Christians but who do not really live lives that seem to match Christianity and you fear that they could be Christians in name only?
I hope you’ll be joining me this Saturday for the Deeper Waters Podcast. Please also leave a positive review on ITunes.
In Christ,
Nick Peters

Book Plunge: The Myth of the Non-Christian

What do I think of Luke Cawley’s book published by IVP? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I was recommended by a friend that I should get this book and review it and have the author on my show. Since then, I have got and read the book, I am reviewing it and yes, he will be on the Deeper Waters Podcast. I found the book to be an interesting look at how to do evangelism.

Cawley deals with three types of people in the book mainly. The first group is the one that identifies as Spiritual But Not Religious and frankly, there hasn’t been a lot of material I’ve seen in most apologetics books dealing with this group. The next is that of atheists that you encounter. Finally, he goes with people that we know are nominal Christians.

Cawley’s main idea is to do a lot of relational apologetics and draws you into the story of the people that you’re interacting with. He points out rightly that sometimes, it does take more than just correct answers. Sometimes bridges need to be built to help people relate.

I also think some of these ideas were just excellent. I’m intrigued by the idea of starting up what he called an Agnostics Anonymous where you have people meet together somewhere and just discuss the questions that they have about Christianity. Perhaps when we get some more funding in, I’ll start doing that so we can order pizza for everyone or something. It did sink in for me the importance of having a safe place where people can discuss the issues. Unfortunately for many, that will not be a church because sadly, the church has often closed the door to questioners.

If you come to this book wanting apologetics arguments, you really won’t find a lot of them. That’s not what it’s about. It’s about learning how to connect with the people that you’re interacting with on a regular basis. It did leave me with a reminder of the importance of evangelism, something that can ironically get lost in the apologetics world.

If there were some matters I’d change, I wish more had been said for some who are struggling on the section about nominal Christians. There are a lot of Christians I meet who are doubting their salvation and when I ask them, I find they don’t really have much reason to do so. They’re emotional doubters and some could read sections like the one on nominal Christians and worry that they themselves are the nominal Christians.

I also frankly do not understand the title still and I wish that that had been explained. You could say that authors regularly don’t get to choose the titles of their books, but Cawley does refer to it from time to time. I do not think he is advocating a position of universalism, but I was still unclear at the end what exactly was being advocated. I wish that this had been spelled out more.

Still, this is a book that I think will be helpful for those wanting to learn not apologetics but a method of how to do apologetics. I recommend it.

In Christ,
Nick Peters