Are Calvinists good evangelists?

Discussion in 'Calvinism & The Doctrines of Grace' started by Jeremy, May 23, 2005.

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  1. Scott Bushey

    Scott Bushey Puritan Board Doctor

    Jenson,
    The bible is clear; we will know them by their fruits.........have you perused the site? Please look it over. The Christian community at large knows that 'Bain and Carpenter" are on the fringe. Ther hall of heteroorthodoxy is ridiculous:

    They consider these men anathema:

    Louis Berkhof

    Loraine Boettner

    Horatius Bonar

    Thomas Boston

    John Calvin

    Thomas Chalmers

    Gordon Clark

    David Gay

    A.A. Hodge

    Charles Hodge

    Richard Mouw

    John Murray & Ned Stonehouse

    J. I. Packer

    A.W. Pink

    John Reisinger

    Robert Schuller & Billy Graham

    Charles H. Spurgeon

    ~In fact, if you personally talk to any Arminians, you can add yourself to this list (as far as they are concerned).

    If they are bought w/ the blood of Christ, they will in turn repent and abandon their false belief sysytem.
     
  2. Scott Bushey

    Scott Bushey Puritan Board Doctor

    I most definately see it as lunacy when you say Calvin is not a Christian!

    my 2 cents
     
  3. turmeric

    turmeric Megerator

    They want you to close with the 5 points!
     
  4. R. Scott Clark

    R. Scott Clark Puritan Board Senior

    On the free offer see the Murray essay at: http://public.csusm.edu/guests/rsclark/Offer.html

    There is also a contemporary consideration of some of these issues in David VanDrunen, ed. Pattern of Sound Words (Phllipsburg: P&R, 2004).

    See also Westm. Shorter Cat. 88 and Heidelberg Catechism 65. The way God has ordained to call elect sinners to saving faith in Christ is the preaching of the gospel (Rom 10).

    According to the Synod of Dort, in Gospel preaching God makes a "serious" offer (yes, they taught an OFFER, not just a command) to all. Only the elect will believe, however.

    Our business and divine vocation is to preach the law in all its terror (first use) and then preach the gospel sweetly, offering salvation to all who believe; calling, inviting all who will, to trust (see Heidelberg Catechism 21) in Christ alone and in his finished work for righteousness and life (HC 60). We can and must do this in confidence because God sovereignly calls his elect to faith through the "foolishness of preaching" (1 Cor 2).

    This is what historic Reformed preaching has always done. We do evangelism every Sabbath, when we preach the good news, from all across the history of redemption, that Christ died for sinners and was raised for the justification of all his people.

    God prepares, as it were, his elect for the gospel by reading the law in the liturgy and we do evangelism when we announce the declaration of pardon (absolution) to the congregation, that all who have true faith are right with God sola gratia, sola fide, solo Christo. There are presumably unbelievers in every congregation (all of them being mixed) who need to hear the gospel.

    Should Reformed folk be trained and encouraged to give *private*, unofficial, witness to their trust in and confession of Christ? Absolutely!

    Is that the *primary* mode of evangelism? Contrary to popular, egalitarian, evangelical opinion, no.

    The public, official, ordained proclamation of the gospel is the means of grace ordained by God to call his elect to faith.

    General officers (as distinct from those who hold special office) are to be ready to give an answer for the hope that lies within them. They fall under the pattern of John 9. Remember the man born blind and his parents. They, the parents, refused to give witness, and come under the evangelist's scorn. This story was almost certainly intended as instruction and warning to the early church, and to us, that we who were born blind (Eph 2) ought to be able at least to say, "I was blind, but now I see."

    Are the Reformed noted for their evangelism? No, but is it a bum rap? Yes. We are often criticized, in effect, for not preaching like Arminians and acting like egalitarian evangelicals. Well, we are not either of those.

    Remember that there are about 500,000 confessional Reformed folk in North America. If we all started knocking on 500,000 doors simultaneously in the USA, no one would notice. As an EE trainer (I now regard it as individualized revivalism) I've knocked on lots of doors, made lots of phone calls, handed out lots of flyers.

    I do know, however, that there are legions of faithful in Reformed conjugations in North American and across the world who give witness to their faith as they have opportunity and who pray faithfully for the spread of the gospel through its official, faithful, proclamation from pulpits.

    rsc
     
  5. Myshkin

    Myshkin Puritan Board Freshman

    :2cents:
    I think Arminian evangelism is more about making converts, than it is about making disciples of Christ. And for the most part, not even converts to Christ, but converts to their local ministry, denomination, political/cultural work or something else. In this respect I have trouble considering this arminianism, but rather pelagianism or unbelief carried out by social clubs that use biblical language. The relationship of Whitefiied and Wesley keep me from throwing the arminian name around on those who evangelize like this. Some are unbelievers doing "work for God', but I also think some if not many are true genuine believers who are being brainwashed by those ministers who flood them with guilt and duty, something a newborn does not have the ability to discern yet and so demands our patience with them. I know this was my case, and the Lord brought me out, not by my stronger intellectual ability or own desire, but by the gift of His Spirit illuminating me through the work of a reformed believer who took time to teach and disciple me. If he had not broken the stereotype of "reformed do not evangelize", I would not be here today.

    It is a shame when you pray the prayer, sign the card, walk the line, etc., most are never followed up with again. They are just left to themselves to figure out the rest. This was my experience, and it has been a painful, drawn out recovery, even 9 years later. I think this gospel "hit-and-run" tactic is analogous to abandoning a newborn in an alley or a dumpster. "Welcome to new life, but I am sorry, you are on your own now." Thankfully, God used a radio ministry to show me the reformed faith through RC Sproul. If it weren't for that, I would have been lost, because as a new believer I had no idea who or where to turn. I think there is a tendency in arminian and reformed circles, in different forms, to assume that regeneration = perfect knowledge. "Once youre saved, you'll figure it all out on your own; if you don't its probably because you aren't regenerate you intellectually inferior idiot." It is through this that I have learned that sin is a moral issue of the heart/will, not one of academic inability. Gnosticism has reared its ugly head in our day, and it has left no denomination untouched.

    All this to me says more about the reasons arminians evangelize than it does their theology:
    1. number of conversions = "success" denominationally and in personal signs for assurance of salvation,
    2. guilt that if someone goes to hell it is their fault for not sharing the gospel with them.
    3. evangelism is THE mark of a christian

    I am tempted to say that those who practice this aren't arminians even, but people who want to belong to something and make a difference in the culture and peoples' live by getting them to join their social club. I disagree with arminianism for sure, but I think Wesley would even have criticisms of what goes on in his name today. Finney he was not.

    That being said, I have been in a hyper-calvinistic independent group relatively recently, and I ended up there unknowingly as a refuge from the "verbally share the gospel with everyone you come in contact with at all times or else you are unfaithful" mentality. Thankfully the Lord kept a heart for the lost within me, and so over I time I realized that the group I was in had no concern for evangelism at all, and they considered calvinists who do and believe the free offer of the gospel (as Dr. Clark above made mention to), as either non-reformed, arminian, or "hypo"-calvinists.

    I am thankful for people like Dr. Clark who take the time to clarify what the reformed postion REALLY is HISTORICALLY, so that I may evangelize for the right reasons: 1. God commands it, 2. it glorifies God, 3. I know the grace I have received, so now I want that for others 4. the previous three are tempered by the fact that we cannot know the elect of God, so success is not up to us 5. none of us deserve mercy, so expecting ourselves to save everyone is a false assumption from the get go, unless we're closet pelagian universalists 6. because we are to love people as people created in the image of God, not just projects for salvation that give us tallies on our "how well do I evangelize?" checksheet. 7. Because I love the Lord in gratitude, not guilt 8. not one of the elect will be lost, all will come home.

    I have personally fallen on both extremes, and am thankful the Lord has brought me more and more to himself Sovereignly through the responsible work of his gifted teachers.

    We need fewer lay evangelists, more educated lay persons, and more church officers who are educated, educate us, and share the gospel faithfully in word and character.
     
  6. Robin

    Robin Puritan Board Junior

    :amen: Allan!



    Robin :candle:
     
  7. JeremyConrad

    JeremyConrad Puritan Board Freshman

    HOW do the Reformed evangelize?

    I'm new to the Puritan board. In fact this is my first post, so go easy on me!

    I've read a lot about Calvinist vs. Arminian evangelists. And debating this is all well and good. But I have yet to read about HOW a reformed Christian evangelizes.

    I understand that the "Sinner's Prayer" is not the way to get someone saved (although I think this is a good prayer of thankfulness once a person IS regenerated). I also understand that there is no list of "have to's" (ie: you have to believe that you're a sinner, you have to believe that Christ died for your sins, you have to confess and believe) that gets you saved. I believe those "have to's" turn into automatic responses only after a heart is regenerated.

    My problem, however, is this. Having been raised Arminian and recently converting to Calvinism, I have the "Billy Graham" mentality of evangelism - even though I believe it to be wrong. So how do I change that? How do then go out and evangelize effectively to my lost friends and family?

    Not bringing about a conclusion (confession of faith) to preaching the gospel to someone is, to me, kind of like an incomplete sneeze. Plenty of "Ahhh...Ahhh...Ahhh..." but no "Chooo!!" I believe that God has promised to complete the good work started in one who is elect, but do I just tell them and then stop and stare at them? Tell them and then walk away? Tell them and wait? What?
     
  8. biblelighthouse

    biblelighthouse Puritan Board Junior


    :welcome:

    Welcome to the Puritanboard, cousin!


    Everybody give a warm welcome to my cousin, Jeremy! :banana:
     
  9. JeremyConrad

    JeremyConrad Puritan Board Freshman

    :sing: Hallelujah!

    Hi Joe. Thanks for the welcome!
     
  10. VirginiaHuguenot

    VirginiaHuguenot Puritanboard Librarian

    Welcome to the Puritan Board! :welcome:
     
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