Calvinism and Evangelism


All scripture quotations are from the King James Bible


By Dr. Ken Matto


And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.  (Mark 16:15)


Another false accusation levied against the “Calvinists” is that there is no urgency in getting the gospel out to the world.  They think that because we believe in the doctrines of election and predestination, then there is no need to send forth the gospel to the world because if God has already chosen those he is going to save, then why bother going to the streets and evangelize.


Quite frankly there are many who are called hyper-Calvinists who believe this and have done nothing to send forth the gospel to the world.  William Carey (8/17/1761-6/9/1834) was a missionary to India who faced that particular mindset when he had a desire to go to India.  He became associated with a group of particular Baptists and acquainted with men like Andrew Fuller and John Ryland.  Carey had a burning desire for the souls of men and wanted to go to India to spread the gospel.  He argued that Jesus' Great Commission applied to all Christians of all times, and he castigated fellow believers of his day for ignoring it: “Multitudes sit at ease and give themselves no concern about the far greater part of their fellow sinners, who to this day, are lost in ignorance and idolatry.” 


When Carey submitted the subject of world missions for discussion at a ministers' meeting, “Whether the command given to the apostles to teach all nations was not obligatory on all succeeding ministers to the end of the world, seeing that the accompanying promise was of equal extent.”  Dr. Ryland shouted, "Young man, sit down: when God pleases to covert the heathen, He will do it without your aid or mine."


So you see that even in the 1700’s there was opposition to world missions.  That must never be the attitude of any Christian who holds to the Doctrines of Grace.  God has set up certain responsibilities for the Christian and one of them is to go forth with the gospel to all nations as we read in Mark 16:15 above.  God has determined to save his people by means of the preaching of the gospel.  So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.  (Romans 10:17)  It does not matter if a person holds to election and predestination because the Great Commission is for all Christians.


Since we do not know who the Elect of God are we are to go out to the streets or give to missions and hand out tracts or preach the gospel to every creature as the Bible commands us to.  We may hand out 100 tracts and there may only be 3 Elect within that group.  It does not matter, our responsibility is to go forth with the gospel and it is God’s responsibility to save those he has named before the foundation of the world and he will.  The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.  (2 Peter 3:9)  2 Peter 3:9 has to do with the Elect of God and not the entire world.  God names the believers in eternity, he then predestines them, and then he saves them.  The last seven words in that verse deals with repentance.  God is the one who grants repentance because it is not in a person who is spiritually dead to repent.  In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth;  (2 Timothy 2:25)  If God is the one who grants repentance, then it is not done out of a person’s will because before salvation a person is spiritually dead but after salvation they are alive.


The next time you meet a person who holds to the Calvinist doctrines and believes they do not have to do world evangelism, then remind them the command came from the Lord and they are living in rebellion when they are shirking their spiritual responsibilities.  Now you may not be able to go to the mission field but you can sure help those who can go or are sending forth the gospel by various methods.  You can even go out the streets yourself and hand out tracts and Bibles.  I am sure there are places in your town where people gather and you would be able to evangelize.  So the bottom line is that those who hold to the doctrines of election and predestination are not exempt from the command to go forth with the gospel.