Saturday, February 10, 2024

Evangelism and Election (Romans 10)

"How shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?" (Rom. 10:14).

From the Reformation through the colonization of America, Calvinism dominated the Protestant movement. Belief in justification by faith alone and God’s electing love permeated the preaching and evangelism of the early Protestants. Contrary to what many believe, Calvinism is not detrimental to missions. While God has elected some to salvation, we do not know the choice hidden in His unrevealed will. Rather, we are commanded of God to go and make disciples of all nations. While God initiates salvation, He uses human instruments and the proclamation of the Gospel to bring the elect into His kingdom. Just because you are elected from eternity does not mean you are justified from eternity. You are not justified until you are brought to faith, which happens at a certain moment in time, and you are only brought to faith through hearing the call of the Gospel.

Paul discusses evangelism in Romans 10, which follows his discussion of predestination in chapter 9. Speaking of the privilege of evangelism, he writes, “How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, who bring glad tidings of good things!’ ” (Rom. 10:14–15; Isa. 52:7). As Paul says, evangelism is one of our greatest privileges as Christians.

Charles Spurgeon wrote, “I have my own private opinion that there is no such thing as preaching Christ and Him crucified, unless we preach what nowadays is called Calvinism; Calvinism is the Gospel, and nothing else. I do not believe we can preach the Gospel, if we do not preach justification by faith, without works; nor unless we exalt the electing, unchangeable, eternal, immutable, conquering love of Jehovah; nor do I think we can preach the Gospel, unless we base it upon the special and particular redemption of His elect and chosen people which Christ wrought out upon the cross; nor can I comprehend a gospel which lets saints fall away after they are called, and suffers the children of God to be burned in the fires of damnation after having once believed in Jesus.… If God hath loved me once, then He will love me forever.”

John Blanchard wrote, “Election is a doctrine I am called to believe; evangelism is a command I am called to obey.” Do not let election be an excuse for not obeying Christ’s command to declare the Gospel. If you still have questions on evangelism and election, read J. I. Packer’s book, Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God.