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Calvangelism. Does Evangelism Work With Calvinism? [Calvinist Caucus]
Patheos ^ | April 4, 2013 | Stephen McCaskell

Posted on 04/10/2013 12:10:36 PM PDT by Alex Murphy

How can you evangelize if you’re a Calvinist?

Every once in a while someone will challenge me, specifically about how I can believe in the Reformed view of salvation and be into evangelism. Many know, that entails a view of God’s sovereign election and predestination. In plain English that means that God in the end gets to decide who will come to believe. Isn’t there a contradiction between that and evangelistic zeal? Truth be told, I’m not an argumentative Calvinist and would really rather talk about the other JC if given the chance. But I do believe in Calvin’s view and while I don’t like to force it, I don’t hide it either. And yes, I do have John 3:16 in my Bible just like everybody else does. When someone does ask me I usually point them to my all-time favourite passage from Calvin himself. Reading Calvin himself (something more people should do) is like trying to take a sip from a waterfall but this passage, aside from Scripture, has shaped my passion for sharing the Gospel more than any others. The logical order of these two sentences is important.

Men indeed ought to be taught that God’s loving-kindness is set forth to all who seek it, without exception. But since it is those on whom heavenly grace has breathed who at length begin to seek after it, they should not claim for themselves the slightest part of his praise.

John Calvin – The Institutes of the Christian Religion, 2.3.10.

The first of these sentences confirms that the Good News ought to shared as widely as possible. Everyone needs to hear about Christ and His atoning work. Everyone needs to be told of the love of God that is offered to us through that work. Everyone needs to be challenged to repent and believe in the Good News. This is Gospel work – talking, persuading, explaining, inviting to believe. Personally I derive great pleasure from sharing about Christ with others. I love to ask questions to see where they’re coming from, and I love to talk about the One whom I love. There is no contradiction between telling everyone we can and the fact that God’s irresistible grace draws those whom He has called. We aren’t to preach pre-destination, we are to preach Christ crucified and risen. We are not to guard the Gospel Story for ourselves but to tell as many as we can. The invitation to believe is extended to all. Those who seek will find, that’s a promise from the highest authority. People need to be told that very thing, if they search for God they will find Him. The Gospel is like an open door above which reads: Enter All Who Will.

The second sentence is even more amazing. All who seek find but after the fact it can be realized that even the seeking was an act of God upon the heart. Above the open door is an invitation to all but once through, looking back we can read above the lintel: Chosen From the Foundation of the World. It turns out that it was wholly and completely God’s work from the very beginning. Why is the looking back part important? Because we don’t always lead off with the doctrines of grace. Those are primarily for enjoyment afterwards not necessarily part of the invitation. It is the looking back that produces thankfulness, humility, and confidence. Thankfulness because we see that God’s will has been acting on us the whole way. Our seeking was His drawing. It humbles us because we see that even as we may have seemed to choose to believe, there is not an ounce of self-congratulation to be had. It was Him all along. Confidence because when we tell others about Him, we don’t need to rest on our own ability. I’m all for being persuasive, but it is not up to us. I become much more confident telling the Gospel when I really believe that it is God’s sovereign will that makes any of us believers at all. First, we say “come”, then we say “it was Him”. That why He gets all the glory!


TOPICS: Mainline Protestant; Ministry/Outreach
KEYWORDS: violatedcaucus
....the Good News ought to shared as widely as possible. Everyone needs to hear about Christ and His atoning work. Everyone needs to be told of the love of God that is offered to us through that work. Everyone needs to be challenged to repent and believe in the Good News. This is Gospel work – talking, persuading, explaining, inviting to believe....

....There is no contradiction between telling everyone we can and the fact that God’s irresistible grace draws those whom He has called. We aren’t to preach pre-destination, we are to preach Christ crucified and risen. We are not to guard the Gospel Story for ourselves but to tell as many as we can. The invitation to believe is extended to all. Those who seek will find, that’s a promise from the highest authority. People need to be told that very thing, if they search for God they will find Him. The Gospel is like an open door above which reads: Enter All Who Will....

....All who seek find but after the fact it can be realized that even the seeking was an act of God upon the heart. Above the open door is an invitation to all but once through, looking back we can read above the lintel: Chosen From the Foundation of the World. It turns out that it was wholly and completely God’s work from the very beginning.

1 posted on 04/10/2013 12:10:36 PM PDT by Alex Murphy
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To: Alex Murphy

It wasn’t until I understood the Doctrines of Grace that I had the courage and confidence to share the truths of Scripture. Knowing that His sheep WILL hear and respond to the Master’s voice made all the difference.


3 posted on 04/10/2013 12:28:55 PM PDT by .45 Long Colt
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To: .45 Long Colt; Alex Murphy; HarleyD; smvoice
"It wasn’t until I understood the Doctrines of Grace that I had the courage and confidence to share the truths of Scripture. Knowing that His sheep WILL hear and respond to the Master’s voice made all the difference."

Now, here is a terrific statement of truth. Discussions about the Gospel now have a well-designed outcome with the true Author of Faith at the helm. Thank you, my FRiend.

9 posted on 04/10/2013 12:49:45 PM PDT by Dutchboy88
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To: swampfox101
"HOG WASH....!"

May wish to check the Book, sir.

So then it does not depend upon the man who wills or the man who runs, but upon God. And He will have mercy upon whom He will have mercy and He will harden whom He will harden. Paul...Romans 9

11 posted on 04/10/2013 12:52:08 PM PDT by Dutchboy88
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To: Alex Murphy
Isn’t there a contradiction between that and evangelistic zeal?

You miss the entire point - it's very simple. The joy of the Calvinist is to act on the Father's will. Christ said "Go ye into all the nations...". And so we go...

If you can't accept that, then, methinks you be merely a rabble rouser...

12 posted on 04/10/2013 1:01:33 PM PDT by jonno (Having an opinion is not the same as having the answer...)
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To: Alex Murphy
"Lord, save the elect ... and then save some more."
J. Vernon McGee ... who was probably at least partially quoting Spurgeon.
13 posted on 04/10/2013 1:01:48 PM PDT by dartuser (My firearm is not illegal ... its undocumented.)
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To: swampfox101

Oh, my, these old attempts to undo the Reformation have been dispelled centuries ago.

Gal. has nothing to do with the argument. It is about folks returning to the Law as a means of salvation. Read the context, please.

Rom. 9...Godet should have kept reading.
“So then you will say to me then, ‘Why does He still find fault? For who resists His will? On the contrary, who are you, O man, who answers back to God? The thing MOLDED will not say to the MOLDER, ‘Why did you make me like this,? “ will it? Or does not the potter have a right over the clay to make from the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonor?” The topic is the rescue of men being God’s choice, not man’s.

And the text regarding Jacob & Esau, tells us that “...before they were born, before they had done anything good or bad, in order that God’s purpose according to His choice might stand, not because of works, but because of Him who calls.” Tough to get around.


16 posted on 04/10/2013 3:23:05 PM PDT by Dutchboy88
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To: Alex Murphy

Election, Grace, Predestination, etc. are not a problem for me because of my realization of one thing. Before God made even a grain of sand or a drop of water, He KNEW that the result would be that Adam would rebel, and that mankind would need a Saviour; hence....
1Pe 1:18 Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers;
1Pe 1:19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:
1Pe 1:20 Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you...

Before God created anything, He KNEW who would accept His offer of Salvation and who would reject it; and in His Sovereign Will, he went ahead and did it.

It is strictly up to each individual. Some will accept and trust Christ. Some will reject Him. God knew how it would turn out. But the responsibility for their choice is strictly that of each individual. It’s 100% free will.


17 posted on 04/10/2013 4:37:05 PM PDT by Tucker39
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To: Alex Murphy

“Calvangelism. Does Evangelism Work With Calvinism?”

Of course it does.

http://evangelismexplosion.org/

Started by the late great PCA teaching elder D. James Kennedy.


18 posted on 04/10/2013 5:39:56 PM PDT by ReformationFan
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To: Dutchboy88; .45 Long Colt; Alex Murphy; HarleyD; smvoice
Everything God gives to us is for our benefit. Even though God knows our needs, He asks for us to pray for those need so that we'll learn dependency. He gives us money and opens our hearts to give so that we may learn generosity. We go here or there thinking that we are masters of our destiny, yet all the while God is guiding our path according to His will to help us grow. And He asks us to call His elect so that we may rejoice when we see someone saved and understand the grace we've received when they walk away. Even our death is a blessing to take us and enter His rest, yet we do not see it (Ish 57:1-2).

Calling out the elect isn't to see more "souls saved". It is God giving us a blessing to be part of His work, co-parners and fellow workers with the Holy Spirit. Now what could be a greater reason for evangelism than that! And, when put into that context, it doesn't matter how many "souls" we "save".

19 posted on 04/10/2013 6:14:17 PM PDT by HarleyD
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To: All

This Religion Forum thread is labeled “Calvinist Caucus” meaning if you are not currently, actively Calvinist then do not post on this thread.


20 posted on 04/10/2013 7:57:40 PM PDT by Religion Moderator
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To: Tucker39
"It is strictly up to each individual. Some will accept and trust Christ. Some will reject Him. God knew how it would turn out. But the responsibility for their choice is strictly that of each individual. It’s 100% free will."

If that's the case then why would you ever pray for someone's salvation? If there's nothing God can do about it and it's purely up to the individual it seems there is no reason to ever pray that someone come to Jesus.

21 posted on 04/11/2013 3:33:16 AM PDT by circlecity
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To: Alex Murphy

Calvinists have historically been strong evangelists because a) God commands that we do so and b) evangelism is as much for the benefit of the evangelizer as the evangelee. It sanctifies those who do it.


22 posted on 04/11/2013 3:35:51 AM PDT by circlecity
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To: ReformationFan

I would note that some of the greatest evangelists in history have been Calvinists. George Whitefield, Jonathan Ewards, David Brainard and Charles Spurgeon were all Calvinists.


24 posted on 04/11/2013 5:50:54 AM PDT by circlecity
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To: Alex Murphy
Amen.

If I thought that someone's salvation depended on my exact and proper presentation of the Gospel message I would be paralyized with fear!

What if I said something wrong? What if I didn't say the right thing? That poor sould would be lost all because I screwed up.

I have seen nonbelieves come to Christ after pure gibbersh, and others walk away after the most polished presentation possible.

The Canons of Dort say this:

"This promise, together with the command to repent and believe, ought to be declared and published to all nations, and to all persons promiscuously and without distinction, to whom God out of His good pleasure sends the gospel."(II/5).

25 posted on 04/11/2013 6:06:46 AM PDT by Gamecock ("Ultimately, Jesus died to save us from the wrath of God." ¬óR.C. Sproul)
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To: swampfox101
"Salvation is not a capricious thing, it is a “work” of God."

This may be the only valuable thing offered in your post. And, you spend an awful lot of time trying to disprove your remark.

26 posted on 04/11/2013 6:34:25 AM PDT by Dutchboy88
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To: circlecity

Because Christ told me to. In obedience to that.
I have had the privilege and the joy to not only pray for individuals, but to share God’s Plan of Salvation with them and hear them pray and invite Christ into their life. The only things you can take to Heaven is the money you send on ahead, and the souls you win to Christ. Some might go on ahead of you, and some will follow after you’re gone.


28 posted on 04/11/2013 7:42:45 AM PDT by Tucker39
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To: swampfox101
This Religion Forum thread is labeled "Calvinist Caucus" - if you are not currently, actively Calvinist then do not post on this thread.
29 posted on 04/11/2013 8:09:01 AM PDT by Religion Moderator
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To: Tucker39
"Because Christ told me to. In obedience to that."

Christ wouldn't tell you to do something that couldn't help so it must require more than just an individual's decision. "No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him draws him" John 6:44

30 posted on 04/11/2013 8:17:27 AM PDT by circlecity
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To: circlecity

Everybody gets a fair chance; even those who reject.
Thank you, and goodbye.
Tit_3:9 But avoid foolish questions, and genealogies, and contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and vain.


31 posted on 04/11/2013 11:43:41 AM PDT by Tucker39
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To: Tucker39

So, you post a statement on an internet forum dedicated to reasoned discussion and debate and when the statements are challenged you offer nothing to back them up but just say “goodby” and post a verse about avoiding foolishness. Sounds like somebody doesn’t like being challenged on assertions they can’t back up. I prefer follow Peter’s advice and “always be prepared to give a reason”


32 posted on 04/11/2013 12:08:25 PM PDT by circlecity
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2 Corinthians 4:1-6 - “Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart. But we have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways. We refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God’s word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God. And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”

Only God could bring the light of the gospel into the hearts of people who have been blinded by Satan. I can not give sight to the blind, and the blind cannot heal their own blindness either. As verse 7 says the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.

Romans 9:1-3 - “I am speaking the truth in Christ - I am not lying; my conscience bears me witness in the Holy Spirit - that I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, my kinsmen according to the flesh.”

Like Paul, knowing that God is sovereign in salvation doesn’t stop me from weeping over those I know who refuse to repent and believe, and pleading with them to be reconciled to God.

There is no conflict between these two, except in the mind of those who reject the sovereignty of God, and I pity those people. It is a great source of peace and comfort for me. Knowing that every single thing that comes into my life and the lives of those around me are ordained by God allows me to have joy in the midst of trials and suffering. Romans 8:28 is a lie if God is not completely and absolutely sovereign over His entire creation.


33 posted on 04/11/2013 1:54:02 PM PDT by paulist ("there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus")
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To: circlecity

Good for you. Go get ‘em, Rocky.


34 posted on 04/12/2013 3:41:08 PM PDT by Tucker39
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