Evangelism as Exiles
Life on Mission as Strangers in Our Own Land
The days of cultural Christianity are fading. It's time to rethink normal.
Suffering and exclusion are normal in a believer's life. At least they should be. This was certainly Jesus's experience. And it's the experience of countless Christians around the world today.
No matter your social location or set of experiences, the biblical letter of 1 Peter wants to redefine your expectations and reinvigorate your hope.
Drawing on years of ministry in a Muslim-majority nation, Elliot Clark guides us through Peter's letter with striking insights for today. Whether we're in positions of power or weakness, influence or marginalization, all of us are called to live and witness as exiles in a world that's not our home. This is our job description. This is our mission. This is our opportunity.
A church in exile doesn't have to be a church in retreat.
“Few things are harder, in the time of our sojourn in this present age, than to see ourselves as we are, as pilgrims. But harder than that, it seems, is the challenge of carrying out our calling as bearers of the good news. We seem to want to embrace the world in all the ways we shouldn’t, while avoiding engaging the world in all the ways we should. Elliot Clark offers us a vision of how we evangelize in an American context. His vision is drawn from his years of ministry overseas and a heart for the local church. May this book prompt us to live as exiles and evangelists, at the same time.”
—Russell Moore, president of The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention
“What a profound, important, and timely book Elliot Clark has given to God’s exiled peoples! We all know the world has changed around us. And we realize our gospel proclamation needs to change as well. Evangelism as Exiles helps us make the necessary shifts. And it does so with humble grace and deep theological reflection. I’m very grateful for this book and the insights it delivers.”
—Randy Newman, senior teaching fellow at the C. S. Lewis Institute and author of Questioning Evangelism.
“Even as Christianity cedes its pride of place in North America, the sky isn’t falling according to Elliot Clark. Having spent years outside the United States, Clark recognizes the hopefulness of exile for Christians. By God’s grace, we can be rescued from our bigotries, our cowardice, even our moral laxities and delivered into greater boldness. I’m both chastened and compelled by Clark’s powerful, poetic words—and inordinately hopeful that we will reclaim the radical mission of proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ.”
—Jen Pollock Michel, author of Surprised by Paradox and Keeping Place
“A helpful, hopeful, and very practical treatise from Elliot Clark. Evangelism as Exiles offers a much needed real world perspective; that cultural hostility against Christianity—often seen as a purely negative force by Western believers—can actually energize and revitalize the church’s evangelism.”
—K. A. Ellis, director of the Center for the Study of the Bible and Ethnicity, Reformed Theological Seminary, Atlanta
“As sojourners and strangers in a secular age, the call to Christian witness is one that can feel daunting to many of us. But as Elliot Clark’s wonderful new book demonstrates, the opportunity is not to be missed. If you want to be challenged and equipped for greater faithfulness in personal evangelism, this is a book you can’t afford to ignore. Through keen theological insight and careful pastoral wisdom framed by his own experience, Clark’s Evangelism as Exiles is a powerful reminder that times of greatest spiritual darkness are also those of greatest opportunity for the light of the good news of Jesus Christ to shine all the more brilliantly.”
—Matthew J. Hall, dean of Boyce College and senior vice president of academic strategy at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
“Having lived a good portion of my life as a stranger in other lands, I identified with Evangelism as Exiles. Elliot Clark issues a clarion call to believers in America to realize the opportunity for evangelism in a society that is more and more similar to the society that faced the early church—and we know what happened then! It’s good to be reminded that though society has changed, the power of the gospel has not. Use the wisdom in these pages to fuel your evangelism in the modern world.”
—Mack Stiles, pastor of a church in Iraq and author of Evangelism: How the Whole Church Speaks of Jesus and Marks of the Messenger: Knowing, Living and Speaking the Gospel
“Perhaps you have practically given up on personal evangelism—maybe because you’ve depended too much on the attractional model of evangelism or because you fear the social stigma of speaking the gospel of Christ boldly. For those of us who are overwhelmed by the mounting evangelistic task, Evangelism as Exiles: Life on Mission as Strangers in Our Own Land offers us the biblical help and doxological motivation to confidently initiate gospel conversations in a society that is becoming increasingly hostile towards Christianity. The author takes us back to an approach that we should’ve never left, and I feel confident that you will be, as I was, greatly profited by this book.”
—Mark Allen, executive director of the Center for Apologetics and Cultural Engagement, Liberty University and professor of biblical and theological studies at the Rawlings School of Divinity
“Elliot Clark’s perspective is desperately needed—it’s grounded in Scripture and relevant for the context in which the American church finds herself. He clears up so many misconceptions about evangelism that I lost count. I’m praying this book and its influence reaches far and wide to a great and lasting effect.”
—Gloria Furman, crosscultural worker and author of Missional Motherhood
“We are reminded in this challenging book that there is a cost to evangelism, that we are exiles and strangers, that we too often long for comfort and popularity instead of speaking up boldly as disciples of Christ. Clark’s book is convicting, reminding us of our great responsibility to proclaim the good news about Jesus even in adverse circumstances.”
—Thomas R. Schreiner, professor of New Testament Interpretation and professor of biblical theology at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
“This book offers conviction and challenge we urgently need, in regard to evangelism. It asks believers in Christ to grasp hold of our identity as sojourners and exiles. It speaks from the ground of Scripture. And it lets us in to stories of witness and faith in parts of the world where Christians know hard exile and vibrant hope. It’s a book that helps wake us up.”
—Kathleen Nielson, speaker and author of Women and God: Hard Questions, Beautiful Truth
“Evangelism as Exiles gives us the insight we need for evangelism in the 21st century. Elliot Clark shows us that evangelism is a lifelong mission where we are the strangers and exiles. This book will get you excited (once again!) to be bold for the gospel in a world that needs it now more than ever!”
—Sam Chan, public evangelist, City Bible Forum in Sydney, Australia