Ministerial Meanderings

God centered theology in a man centered world.

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Location: Springfield, Missouri, United States

I was born in Washington D.C. and raised in Laurel, Maryland. I served in the United States Air Force for 20 years then retired. Then God led me to become a pastor. I was converted to Christ in the summer of 1966. I enjoy the company of my wife, children and grandchildren. I live with my three cats Hobbs, Taz, and Chloe.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Does Calvinism Kill Evangelism?

One of the most frequently heard charges brought against Calvinists is that a belief in the doctrine of election will kill the desire for evangelism. It is reasoned that if God had chosen from the foundation of the world who would be saved, then there is no need to go out and tell people about Jesus. They will be saved anyway. But this argument is silly on it's face.

God ordains the means as well as the ends. Yes, God chose who would be saved. But he also chose the way they would be saved. That is through the gospel message. Every biblical Calvinist believes that no one gets saved unless they hear the gospel and believe it. That is the whole premise behind sending out missionaries. The gospel message must be given to the people! They cannot believe in him of whom they have never heard. Read Paul's argument in Romans 10.

When Jesus gave us the parable of the sower, he left us the task of being "seed scatterers." Jesus told us some people will not believe, and he also said some would be false believers who would eventually fall away. But he also said that the seed would fall on good ground and bear fruit. If we believed that argument that election kills evangelism we would have to tell Jesus that since some seed will fall on stony ground, we ought not scatter seed at all. Of course, that would be a ridiculous statement.

God has chosen His people from among fallen humanity. And he sends us into the world carrying the good news of salvation through faith alone in Jesus Christ. Those whose hearts have been prepared by God to receive the message will believe. If a person does not believe when they hear the message, it does not mean they are reprobate. It simply means they did not believe today. They may yet believe. In fact, so long as a person is alive and breathing, they may yet believe and be saved. God's power can reach the hardest heart. Calvinists know we have no warrant from God to give up on any person. God tells us his word will not return to him void but will accomplish the purposes for which he sends it forth. Knowing that, and also knowing that God is calling to himself a people from every tongue, tribe, nation and ethnic group on the planet, we have confidence in our preaching. If we get the gospel out, sooner or later people will be saved. Our confidence is not in ourselves or our methods, but in the power of God to do his own work through his word. Truly Paul spoke when he said "I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase."

Being a Calvinist ought to make a person the most zealous of soul winners. The old puritans called soul winning "man fishing." We ought all to be fishers of men. Knowing what we know, how can we be anything but "man fishers"? Many great Christians, whose names live on in history, have given everything they had to this great work of carrying the gospel to every corner of the world. Why? Because no one gets saved unless they hear and believe. Calvinists know that. And they know that God works through his word, by his Spirit, and that it is God alone who saves, and not us.

No my friend, Calvinism does not kill evangelism. A Calvinist who is not a soul winner is someone who either does not understand what they say they believe, or they do not really believe what they say they do. Calvinism rightly taught leads to zealous soul winning. Or at least it ought to. But then, that ought to be the testimony of every Christian. Right?

3 Comments:

Blogger Pastor Chris said...

Great Post. I too am Calvinistic in my leanings, and am a motivated evangelist -- propelled by the awesome grace of God.

Where i struggle is those who give a conversion, but after a while, simply drop out . . . . seed that spurts on the rocky soil.

Pastor Chris
EvangelismCoach.org

12:46 PM  
Blogger King James Bond said...

Ephesians 2: 1-5 gives us a perfect Biblical look as to how we were, and how we were saved.

We were dead in position and we functioned as such. In such a position we did not follow God. We functioned in disobedience.

We naturally followed the ways of the world and our own sinful desires. By nature (our sin nature) we were objects of wrath.

If we have become obedient to the gospel from our hearts.....it is because of God.

We were not saved because we changed our nature and sought God and Godly things.

It was because of His great love for "us". (the saved)

1As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. 4But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.

Jeff

2:28 PM  
Blogger Diane said...

John, Dr. Belcher's newest Journey book, which will be out anytime, is on this very subject, and is the title of his book. The title of it is A Journey in Evangelism and Missions.

1:45 PM  

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