Chapter Plodding: The Reluctant Evangelist (No 2)
This is week two in our Wednesday 'chapter plodding'. I am moving chapter by chapter through Coekin's book, "The Reluctant Evangelist". Today I am looking at chapter one of Coekin's book. Coekin's goal in this chapter is to showcase how far-reaching the gospel is and he does this by summarizing the whole book of Jonah. As Americans, when we look to Nineveh, we should be encouraged. Coekin states Nineveh was "[a] whole city of violent, idolatrous pagans" (11) that God saved through the message God gave to Jonah, the reluctant evangelist. Certainly, when we think of the moral climate of our day and age and compare it with the pagan city of Nineveh, we should be encouraged. Maybe one of the reasons God gave us the historical account of Nineveh is to eliminate any reluctance to share the gospel or pessimism about how far reaching the gospel will be in our culture. If God saved Nineveh, certainly He can save anyone! I think even of the Apostle Paul in the New Testament. Paul was the biggest sinner who ever lived (1 Timothy 1:15) and God saved him! How much more can he save the second worst sinners?
The historical account of Jonah, according to Coekin, gives Christians essential foundations we need as we approach the ministry of evangelism. These essential foundations are given through the structure of the book Coekin breaks up in this way:
a central declaration: God, Himself is an evangelistic Savior (16).
two parallel halves: broken into God's command, his judgment, His mercy (17).
four chapters: which emphasizes one missional aspect of the LORD's character combined with one of his attributes- holiness/omnipotence (chapter 1); grace/omnipresence (chapter 2); wrath/relenting (chapter 3); compassion/providence (chapter 4).
a challenging conclusion: God asks, "should I not have concern for that great city?" (18). In other words, God cares for all nations.
a glorious fulfillment: how Jonah points to Jesus
a lasting imperative: Just as Jonah was called to go, so too the church is called to go (Matthew 28:18-20)