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.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

If Election Is True, Why Evangelize?

This is a question that comes up a lot when opponents of Reformed Theology try to "disprove" Calvinism. But it is really a straw man argument. It is setting up something that does not really exist just to knock it down. Then, one can claim a symbolic victory over their opponent. Opponents of Calvinism use this argument in just that way. They will claim that a belief in the doctrine of election kills a need for evangelism. Or they will claim that people who believe the doctrine of election have a hard heart towards evangelism. The argument crops up in a number of different variations. They are all equally without foundation. So, let's answer the question ... if election is true, why evangelize?

First, because Jesus said to. In the Great Commission Jesus tells us to go into the world to preach the gospel to every creature (Matt. 28:19). That is enough there for any Christian who calls Jesus "Lord" to evangelize. Calvinist or non-calvinist, anyone who names the Name of Christ ought to be about being obedient to Christ. He said "go" that is enough.

Second, God ordains the means as well as the ends. God has chosen who will be saved, his elect people, and he has chosen the means by which they will be saved. It is through the preaching of the gospel that God calls his people out of the world. Three passages of scripture bring this out very well.

"For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek." (Rom. 1:16).

"For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!" (Rom. 10:13-15).

"For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe." (1 Cor. 1:21).

God the Holy Spirit works through the preached word in the hearts of his elect people to bring them to himself. But no human knows who the elect are before they believe. We cannot (and should not) be trying to decide who is elect and who is not. Our job is to preach the gospel to "every creature." God will call his people to himself as Paul pointed out when he said "I planted, Apollos watered, but God gives the increase." In the parable of the soils, the sower scattered the seed far and wide. That is the same thing we are called to do.

In the end, if election is true we still need to preach the gospel because that is how God has chosen to call the elect to himself and out of the world. And we do it in obedience to Christ's command. And that ought to be enough for any Christian.

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