Given the calibre of the commendations on this new book on evangelism, I was excited to get my hands on a copy. Overall, however, I was disappointed. Though the central challenge of The Duty of a Disciple was a good one, the book more broadly felt disjointed and overly simplistic.
The challenge underlying Palmer’s book is a rallying cry to a generation of Christians: how could we possibly keep this message to ourselves? There is a good sense of both urgency and duty in this book. The Christian is a living example of the power of the Gospel and so he must speak of it too. Why wouldn’t we? Throughout Palmer’s book this challenge is hammered home. It’s our duty as disciples, but moreso, it’s simply too good not to share!
Unfortunately, this challenge is transmitted through a book that was often repetitive and frequently neglected its key message. Palmer’s presentation of the Gospel in Chapter 4 almost completely ignored the resurrection. This left his summary feeling incomplete, and set a tone that pervades the book: that helpful wisdom is behind what is written, but it feels at times hard to access or simply missed out. More than this, Palmer often repeats points in later chapters that he has already made, or overuses examples so that the message they are seeking to illustrate is lost.
All in all, this book offered a helpful challenge in its early chapters, but I found it to be one that rapidly lost its impetus. Sharing the Gospel is a duty of the disciple, and this book challenges the reader to remember that, I just unfortunately think that there are other books that do it better.
This book is available to purchase from Christian Focus Publications.
Ed Creedy, Grace Church, Guildford