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 Taz.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Do Calvinists Believe in Evangelism?

If there is one thing, above others, that is true about Southern Baptists, it is that they are a missions minded people. Now, when I say missions, I mean reaching the world with the gospel of Jesus Christ beginning at our homes and going to the farthest reaches of the planet. Sop you can see that missions is not only foreign missions but includes home missions and evangelism. By evangelism, I mean personal witnessing.

One of the charges that are often leveled against Calvinists is that they do not believe in evangelism and therefore, they do not practice evangelism. It is reasoned out that since Calvinism hold to the doctrines of election and predestination, that Calvinists believe God will save his elect even if no one carries the gospel to them. So, if the elect are going to be saved anyway, why evangelize? Now, there are actually some people who think this way. We call them Hyper-calvinists. As a system, their theology is heretical and is not within the boundaries of orthodox, historic Christianity. Hyper-calvinism is a cancer within Evangelical Christianity. One author noted that whenever you have a robust biblical Calvinism, you always have a danger of Hyper-calvinism raising it's ugly head. We need to be vigilant to guard against it.

But I am not blogging here about Hyper-calvinism. I want to talk about the Biblical, Evangelical kind of Calvinism. That Calvinism is very much interested in missions and evangelism. Indeed, the Calvinistic system of theology gives the Calvinist every reason to be involved in missions and evangelism.

First, the doctrine of election leads us to evangelize. The Bible is clear that God has elected people from every tongue, tribe, nation, and people group on the earth to be His people. The Calvinist knows that means that everywhere we go, someone will get saved. From every group of people, there are people who will be saved. No one is left out. Indeed, if someone rejects Christ today, that is not proof that they will ultimately reject Christ. The moment of one's physical death seals a person's eternal fate. But so long as someone is still alive, they might yet be saved and prove they are one of God's elect. Even the hardest hearts are not beyond God's power to save. Calvinists know that God's elect are in every group. Therefore, any person they meet might be one of the elect. Since no group is left out the Calvinist is compelled to go to everyone they can ... the Arabs, the Communists, the terrorists, the drug dealers, the prostitutes, the worst of the lowest examples of humanity, as well as the kings, presidents ... the greats and near greats... anyone of them might be among the elect. We are seed scatterers. We spread the word of God (the gospel) far and wide. But, as the Bible says ... "I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase." We preach and God saves.

Second, the Calvinist has faith in the promises of God through His word. He has said that the gospel is the power of God unto salvation to every one who believes. We know the gospel is the means God has ordained by which to save people. No one gets saved without hearing the gospel and believing it. So, people will get saved if we get the gospel to them. So, we go. We preach to our families, our friends and our neighbors. We go to the world, sometimes to the most dangerous places on the planet .. why? Because the elect are out there. And God calls them out of the world by the preaching of the gospel. And that brings me to my next point.

Calvinists have a very high view of scripture and of Christ. In scripture, Christ has commanded his people to "Go ye into all the world preaching the gospel to every creature..." So we go. We obey. To do less is to deny the very thing we say we believe. If this were the only reason a Calvinist would have to go into the world with the gospel, this one reason alone would be enough. Jesus is our Savior, Lord, King, Master, and God. Disobedience to such a clear command is not an option.

Friend, some of the greatest evangelists and missionaries in church history have believed in Calvinistic doctrine. Hudson Taylor, Adoniram Judson, Charles Spurgeon, William Carey, Andrew Fuller, George Mueller, and many, many others were all men of missions and gospel preaching. Some of the first white men to reach out to the American Indians were impelled by Calvinistic doctrine. Men like Jonathan Edwards and David Brainard.

Calvinism is not opposed to missions and evangelism. It is opposed to the easy believism that leads so many to make professions of faith and disappear from Christian fellowship before the next church meeting. It is opposed to tawdry and shallow evangelism methods that convert people to spectators at religious entertainment shows instead of converting them growing disciples in the Lord Jesus Christ. Calvinism is against everything that cheapens and trivializes the holy things of God. Calvinism is for everything that glorifies the Lord our God in every corner of the earth.

And that's the truth about Calvinism and evangelism.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Check out this blog link. These folks are "calvinistic" yet are preaching and witnessing on the streets of UK!

10:34 AM  
Blogger John Wenderlein said...

If I here one more time. "than why do we evanglize" I think I shall scream .This is a question not derived by educated men ,but from some reaction to a lack of understanding .No were in the Calvinist thought do we say we should not tell the world about our Lord and Matthew 28 tells us .Also the bible is clear that we are used of God as his mouth peice .So again much like other comments made by un educated people this is simply another .God bless.

3:53 AM  

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