There have been some loud squealings going around lately about something called “evangelical Calvinism.” I haven’t the first idea what this term means. Did someone invent it in order to look cool? To throw a big red “S” on their chest? To further separate themselves from those who are merely “evangelical?”
If so, I have a big wooden fraternity paddle that needs to smack some behinds.
But to get to the point, the “loud squealings” I referred to in the first paragraph are coming from those who are non-Calvinists. What a curious thing, said the Deaf Jedi sarcastically. Upon the reading of several articles by some rather obscure Southern Baptists that seem to have found their way into the general Southern Baptist grapevines, I only had to put my head in my hands and say, “Here we go again.” When are we going to start disagreeing with a theological position on the basis of what that position actually teaches? I wanted to smack these people upside the head a few times.
In the interest of heading off any questions and commentary that may reach me in the next few days, I’m going to briefly list several implications that Calvinism has in evangelism. These can be found in my various posts on each point (see The Doctrines of Grace in the sidebar), and I will be adding a couple of implications in this list.
But please remember, these are coming from a guy who is not a Calvinist. In the footsteps of Apostle Paul, I implore my non-Calvinist brethren: in disagreeing with Reformed perspectives, imitate me. Actually learn the stuff first. And now, with no further ado….
Total depravity gives us the sure conviction that all of us are going to perish in hell without Christ. This alone ought to convince us that evangelism, hey, might be a really good idea. But it goes a step further by thoroughly grounding us in Christ’s words that no one can come to the Father unless it is through Him. Note that, through Him, not by works. I’m reminded of another verse that says something like, “Not by might, not by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord.” So I can’t just up and decide some day that I’m gonna follow Jesus. I need the Gospel preached to me before I would ever get the inkling to do so.
Election gives us an incentive to witness. Think about it: only a certain number are going to be saved. This is a surety even if we believe in conditional election. There is no way around this. Not everyone is going to heaven. First of all, this should spur us to get off our lazy behinds and evangelize. Second of all, this should give us an incredible sense of purpose to understand that God is going to use us to bring in those who will be saved. What this adds up to is this: Git-R-Done!
This point, more than any other, is the clincher for me where evangelism is concerned. And I don’t even subscribe to this point! Limited atonement gives us a heart for lost people. If people are going to hell, we ought to be broken and weeping over them! If limited atonement is true, then we know without a shadow of a doubt that there are people DOOMED to hell. We should be brokenhearted over this. And brokenhearted, we witness passionately, hoping to heaven that this person is not doomed.
Irresistible grace gives us confidence that our efforts will be successful. Why? Because we’re not the ones getting people saved. God is. His Spirit is working to bring those who will believe to Him, and He is working through us. Thus we can witness with full confidence in the ability of the God who has commanded us to the Great Commission.
Perseverance of the Saints.
I know, I’ve not yet finished this one. But this further strengthens our confidence in evangelism. We will not worry about the possibility of those who come to Christ through our efforts falling away. God will preserve them. He may even use us to effect this perseverance and preservation. We can witness in the full assurance that those who believe will truly be transformed into the image of Christ. Our efforts will not be in vain. I think there are more implications to come here, but I will save them for the post.
Now, that is all I have to say about that.
*Waves a hand in front of your face and calls on the Force*
You want to print this out or copy/paste it into an email. You will send this to those of “loud squealings” or those with potential to squeal. You don’t want to sell me death sticks. You want to go home and reevaluate your life.
Oops, that last one was for the creepy guy with bug antennae over my shoulder.