Personal Evangelism and Divine Sovereignty

tsslogo.jpgAnother excellent book on evangelism appearing this year is Richard D. Phillips’ Jesus the Evangelist: Learning to Share the Gospel from the Book of John (Reformation Trust: 2007). His book concludes with a helpful appendix on the relationship of divine election and personal evangelism built from J.I Packer’s classic (pp. 168-185).

Here is Phillips’ outline:

A. Does God’s sovereignty argue against evangelism?

  1. Sovereignty does not rule out human will and responsibility.
  2. Sovereignty ordains not merely the ends but the means.
  3. Evangelism is one of the best ways to glorify God.
  4. Evangelism is one of the best ways to fulfill God’s command that we love our neighbors.
  5. Sovereignty does not invalidate anything the Bible shows us about our calling to evangelize.

B. Does God’s sovereignty actually encourage evangelism?

  1. It makes us dependent upon Him.
  2. It makes us bold in evangelism.
  3. It makes us patient in evangelism.

C. How should our belief in God’s sovereignty reform our approach to evangelism?

  1. Our evangelism should be biblical, both in its message and method.
  2. Our evangelism should be prayerful.
  3. Our evangelism should be personal, courteous, and loving.
  4. Our evangelism should be zealous and creative.
  5. We should never lose heart in our evangelism efforts.

3 thoughts on “Personal Evangelism and Divine Sovereignty

  1. “It makes us dependent upon Him.”

    I’m not really a Calvinist, but I think the best argument for sovereign election is the fact that God lets us be part of evangelism — you know without Him we’d screw it up!

  2. Hi;

    JI Packer suggests that we shouldn’t try to put more weight or importance on either Evangelism or Sovereignty; but that they both go hand by hand. He says we shouldn’t try to understand them and fully reconcile them but just go with our duty-privilege-command-need of sharing the glorious gospel and trusting in the absolute sovereignty of God.

    It is actually freeing when we rest on His will, knowing that we are doing what we must do in terms of evangelism.


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