“How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in Him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?”
A common critique of Calvinism is that its adherents ignore evangelism. Now, I have never personally met a Calvinist who believes such, but just in case there are any reading this, or that there may be someone who is on the fence, there is a great illustration which may help to convince them of the need for it.
On the March 17, 2014 podcast from the Apolgetics.com Radio Program, the host, Christopher Neiswonger, interviewed Presuppositional Apologist, Sye Ten Bruggencate. During the program, Sye offered an analogy to help explain the importance of evangelism for those whose soteriology may lead them to believe that it’s a futile endeavor. Sye’s analogy is so good, it’s worth writing about it for a second time.
(Here is the link for the first article I wrote regarding Sye’s analogy: They Have Heard of God, But Not of Christ)
If you have ever struggled with whether or not evangelism is needed, due to your adherence to Calvinism, this analogy offered by Sye will help to make evangelism relevant to you (paraphrase):
“Evangelism is the means by which God fills hearts, just as eating is the means by which God fills stomachs.”
Think about it:
If God, being sovereign, has already determined all that will come to pass, and because of this He has already determined whether or not at any given time your stomach will be filled, why do you ever bother to eat?
Give that pause for a moment…
Why do you bother to eat?
Again, if God, being sovereign, already determined whether or not your stomach will be full, what’s the sense in ever eating?
Sadly, there are non-Calvinists who construct strawman arguments against Calvinism by negatively evaluating it based on Calvinism’s focus upon the sovereignty of God. In other words, the non-Calvinist will sometimes challenge the Calvinist’s promotion of evangelism, because the non-Calvinist is unhealthily concerned with free will, and as a result, they are uncomfortable in accepting the fact that God chooses man, and not the other way around (John 15:16).
So, what do some non-Calvinists do?
They construct a false representation of Calvinism by accusing it of being contradictory. They do this by basically claiming that evangelism is actually antithetical to the Calvinism paradigm.
By arguing that if God does the choosing, then there is no reason to evangelize. The non-Calvinist is basically saying:
“It’s all up to God according to Calvinism, so evangelism is a waste of time for the Calvinist.”
But… it’s complete nonsense.
So, what’s the answer?
We eat because eating is the means by which God fills stomachs. The same goes for salvation. Evangelism is the means by which God saves those He had already predestined to save, since “before the foundation of the world” (Ephesians 1:3-14).
God’s sovereignty is not an excuse for the Calvinist to not evangelize, nor is it the strawman upon which the non-Calvinist may critique the opposing theology. Evangelism is vital to the Calvinist.
Because, it is the means by which Christ grows His kingdom.
You want to not be hungry? Then, eat. You want to see people saved?
Godspeed, to the brethren!
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