Cork Free Presbyterian Church, 10 Briarscourt (Annex) Shanakiel, Cork, Ireland Pastor: Colin Maxwell. Email:firstname.lastname@example.org
SEVEN REASONS WHY CALVINISTS BELIEVE IN EVANGELISM
1) Because God has commanded it. The gospel is to preached to every creature (Mark 16:15) This is why Calvinists have been to the forefront of missionary endeavour. The man acknowledged as "the Father of Modern Missions" was William Carey… and William Carey was a Calvinist. If a missionary (strictly speaking) is someone who leaves his homeland to preach the gospel elsewhere, then John Calvin qualifies as a missionary. Spurgeon said of him: " John Calvin…is looked upon now, of course, a theologian only, but he was really one of the greatest of gospel preachers. When Calvin opened the Book and took a text, you might be sure that he was about to preach "Through grace are ye saved, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God." (MTP 14:216) Even if we had no other reason, we would still evangelise…because it is a clear command from God.
2) Because we believe that God has ordained the means of bringing many sons to glory as well as the end. Hyper Calvinists believe He has ordained the end but not the means, non Calvinists/Arminians believe that He has ordained the means but not the end… Calvinists alone consistently take the balanced view that He has ordained both. If we don't evangelise…someone else rightly will. Calvinists believe as much in man's responsibility as they do in God's sovereignty.
3) Evangelism gives Calvinists the glorious opportunity to praise the God whom they believe unconditionally elected them to salvation. We love to preach the gospel in all its fullness. Just to recount the old, old story of Jesus and His love thrills our soul and leads us to praise His name. We glorify God when we proclaim the gospel.
4) Evangelism gives us the opportunity to unburden our souls for the lost. We cannot be silent while souls around us are bound for hell. We believe the gospel ourselves and therefore we speak (2 Corinthians 4:13) Many of us were brought savingly to Christ because someone else was burdened for us and prayed for us and witnessed to us. Any man who names the name of Christ, Calvinist or not, should have the burden to win others. It is an evidence of grace when we want others to experience it for themselves. If there is no burden for the lost, we are left to wonder does the professing Christian (of whatever school) believe there is a Day of Judgement…an immortal soul and an eternal hell?
5) Evangelism gives us an opportunity to serve God. The fields are white unto harvest and yet the labourers are few. There is a great reward awaiting for soul winners (Daniel 12:3) …but even if there wasn't, we would still labour just for the sheer joy of being in God's work and spreading His word.
6) Evangelism gives us an opportunity to bear reproach for the name of Christ. Paul witnessed to the gospel with much contention (1 Thessalonians 2:2) and whilst such is irksome to the flesh, yet the spiritual man rejoices every whit. Such were the Apostles (Acts 5:41) Obviously we do not set out to annoy, but we recognise that the natural heart is going to kick hard against the message of Christ. If we have to bear reproach in our evangelism…then amen! ("Amen" means: "So be it")
7) Far down our list, but there nevertheless, we evangelise because it nails the lie often uttered against us that Calvinism kills evangelistic endeavour. Why should it? The doctrine of predestination is the only grounds of evangelism. If God did not predestine folk out of their sins to be saved, then no one would be saved. The non Calvinist says that if there were no faith, then there would be no predestination because the latter (which is God's work) is totally and absolutely dependent on the former which is due ultimately to man's decision. The Calvinist says that if there were no predestination, then there would be no faith because the latter (which is man's responsibility) flows from the former. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God (Romans 10:17) and the word of God comes to sinners through gospel preachers (Romans 10;13-16)
With the exception of the last point, every Christian (Calvinist or not) has a reason for evangelism. Evangelism is the common lot of every child of God, no matter what his understanding of the outworking of the decree of God may be. Both Whitefield (Calvinist) and Wesley (Arminian) preached together and rejoiced in each others great work. This is the way it ever should be.
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