“Does Calvinism Kill Evangelism?” by Nathan Busenitz
It was almost four years ago when a group of fifteen Southern Baptist evangelists met together to bemoan the growth of Calvinism within SBC circles.
When asked about his concerns, Jerry Drace (the evangelist who initiated the meeting) explained that some Baptist pastors are so Calvinistic ”that they almost laugh at evangelism. It’s almost to the extent that they believe they don’t have to do it. So [Calvinism] gives them an excuse not to do evangelism.”
Drace’s comments raise an important question. Does an affirmation of God’s sovereign election in salvation (commonly called “Calvinism”) deter people from faithfulness in evangelism?
An answer to that question could be approached from several different angles.
One could, for example, consider evangelistic efforts among Baptists — comparing those who embrace the doctrine of election with those who do not. An SBC study “found that Calvinistic recent graduates report that they conduct personal evangelism at a slightly higher rate than their non-Calvinistic peers.”
A much better place to go, of course, would be the Word of God. There are many passages to which we could turn (from John 6 to Acts 13 to Ephesians 1); but I would start in Romans 9–10. Pardon the anachronism, but it is no accident that the most “Calvinistic” chapter in the Bible (Romans 9) is partnered with the most “evangelistic” (Romans 10). Clearly, the apostle Paul saw no disconnect between the reality of God’s sovereignty in salvation and his own evangelistic zeal. . . .[Continue reading]