26
Feb
08

Are Calvinists anti-evangelism?

     A few months ago, a good friend of mine who is a pastor gave to me an un-published book that he had written about the Wesleyan perspective on other doctrines. This book was well written and very accurate when it came to defending his point of view doctrinally. As I was reading through a section about Calvinism and the reformed faith, I came across a very unfortunate situation that gave my friend the complete wrong impression of what it means to be Calvinistic.
     Basically, my friend had an experience with what I would call a “hyper-Calvinist”.  This Calvinist that my friend was talking to, started to mention how he was not concerned with evangelism because no matter what, the elect will be saved. Here is the exact quote.

“I asked the pastor about his method of evangelism and he quickly told me he did not consider evangelism to be important. Shocked by an answer I did not plan on receiving, I asked him why. He told me evangelism is not an issue the church should concern itself with because anyone who is destined to be saved will be saved; anyone not destined to be saved will be lost; there was nothing we could do about it. Still in shock and disbelief over what I was hearing I asked him, “So, it doesn’t matter if we try to win people to Jesus or not; is that what you are saying?” “That’s right”, he replied, it doesn’t matter.”

     Friends, it is very unfortunate that this happened, but is this what we, who are Calvinistic really view about evangelism? I think I can answer for the majority who are Calvinistic when I say NO! With all the humility I can muster, this view of evangelism is not right. We are to do evangelism and that is what I want to talk about for the rest of this post.
      I would like to bring to your attention three key passages when looking at scripture that indicate how vital it is for us as believers, Calvinistic or not, to be involved in evangelism.

1. Jesus commands us to do so- Matthew 28: 18-20

And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you…”

2. Sharing the gospel is how people who are saved- Acts 13:48

And when the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the Lord; and as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed.

3. Through evangelism, it gives glory to God and Fellowship with Him-  1 John 1: 3

What we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, that you also may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.

     Notice that all three passages tell us something different and unique about evangelism. In the first example, we are commanded to do so and since Jesus is the one who commanded us, we out of obedience and desire should want to do it for our Lord. The simple fact is that God could wipe every single one of us out and could not at all be blamed in doing so, but God chooses in his sovereignty, grace, and mercy to use us, sinners, as the means to which the gospel is spread. What an awesome God!
     In the second example, it just goes to show that even through evangelism the elect were still saved, but it was through them hearing that they believed their election. In the third example, we see that by proclaiming the gospel and others hearing, that it brings us into a fellowship with each other, but more importantly, into fellowship with God. This is where we as believers should want to be. That is how God has designed the Christian life to be. So to say that evangelism should not be a concern is absurd.
     Now that we have looked at a few passages to indicate the need for evangelism, I would just like to say that God truly has blessed us as believers to be able and have the privilege to do the work of God. I hope that my friend who has had this unfortunate experience will come to the knowledge of what true Calvinistic doctrine teaches about evangelism. I pray that we as believers continue to pray for instances like these, that they do not get into the rest of our churches. Evangelism is very much important and without-a-doubt I know it’s biblical.

Some good resources on this topic:
1. www.carm.org

2. www.theopedia.com

3. www.monergism.com

4. www.desiringgod.org

5. www.reasonablefaith.org

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3 Responses to “Are Calvinists anti-evangelism?”


  1. 1 Mike
    February 27, 2008 at 10:25 PM

    great post bud, this is a really touchy topic to those that disagree with calvinism. maybe you could do a post on the necessity of prayer within the realm of calvinism…

  2. 2 Jessica
    March 3, 2008 at 4:33 AM

    Yeah, I totally agree with you on this one. In some ways it is hard to believe the total disregard for the Great Commission. God commands us to go and make disciples of others… so shouldn’t we do it? We can’t pick and choose what parts of the Bible we want to obey and disregard the others. It doesn’t work that way and neither does God. While it is a touchy subject, how can the truth be ignored?

  3. March 3, 2008 at 8:16 PM

    hey, dil-bo baggins, yeah, i just came up with that name for ya; maybe you should just love Jesus and “it might solve some stuff”. anyways, pretty good post…..continue praying for the home church thing and later baby, thats all. bye…….


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