Maybe there are some Calvinists that don’t do evangelism as well as they should. In the history of the church much of the missions movement was by Calvinistic churches –both Presbyterian, Calvinist, and Baptist. The question on the floor is, “Does Calvinism discourage evangelism?” There is a simplistic way to say, “If we believe that God has predestined whoever will believe, why do I need to help God? So therefore, I shouldn’t worry about it.”God predestined whoever will believe and he predestined the ends. He also predestined the means.
The main argument back is that yes, God predestined whoever will believe and he predestined the ends. He also predestined the means. So, if you really believe God is controlling the world and you really believe that God uses our means to get to his ends, that is an encouragement to do evangelism.
Now, interestingly, famous in reformed circles is this little book by J.I. Packer, Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God. He has three emphases. He has three helps for the Christian if he believes in the sovereignty of God and why it helps him in evangelism. Those three helps are: you will be bold, you will be patient, and you will be prayerful. Bold. Patient. Prayerful.
You will be bold because you believe, “God wants me to talk about Jesus. God is controlling the world. I have confidence in this wonderful God, therefore I should be bold. Even if my personality is not bold, I should be bold to say things for Christ.”
Patient. God is controlling not just you and the gentleman you’re talking to or the woman you’re talking to, he’s controlling all things; the whole person’s life. If you believe in a God that’s controlling everything, you’re going to be patient. You’re just one part of the multiple steps in the person being converted.If you believe in a God that’s controlling everything, you’re going to be patient.
Finally, Packer said that you will be prayerful. If you believe that God uses means, like your prayers, you will know that that’s one means for aiding that person to be converted. You’re praying about yourself, “Give me boldness. Give me patience.” You are also praying for that person. Calvinists have more of an incentive, properly understood, to evangelize. We have a great God that is controlling both the means to convert the man or woman, and the ends which is the final conversion of the man and woman.
Glory be to our great God.