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Author Topic: Calvinists, Calvinism and Evangelism  (Read 10565 times)

billnjune

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Re: Calvinists, Calvinism and Evangelism
« Reply #15 on: April 11, 2012, 12:28:31 PM »
Thanks for the comment Trotter

First: realize that the Free-willers out number the Sovereign-gracers roughly 10 to 1, so of course there is more money given to their churches for so-called evangelism. 
Second:   The type of evangelism that they are doing is largely benevolence and not solid sound teaching, so ask yourself “Is this really evangelism?”
Third: Take a look at the list of the great men in my previous post and the type of books that were published vs the type of books the free-willers publish in the past or even today.
Fourthly: Think about the type of sermons that are preached by both sides and think about which are edifying to the building of the church. 
Fifthly: Consider the Bible Colleges today.  Who is producing the best pastor and theologians today?

I feel sure that the work that the Sovereign-gracers is doing today will out-shine that of the Free-willers. It is true that the Free-willers are doing much but since it is false, it is not for the building of God’s kingdom, so it is like comparing Christian evangelism to that of the Muslim evangelism.  Money that is given for the destruction of the Gospel should not be considered for the furtherance of the cause of Christ.   

Calvinistic missions are practically non existant.

 ??? I wonder what you are thinking about?  Your thinking seems to me to be muddled a bit. 
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Trotter

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Re: Calvinists, Calvinism and Evangelism
« Reply #16 on: April 11, 2012, 01:14:14 PM »
Thanks for the comment Trotter

 Think about the type of sermons that are preached by both sides and think about which are edifying to the building of the church. 

That's all well and good. But we were talking about evangelism, not sermons. Of course I agree sovereign grace is the truth over false sermons, but that is not the topic. Evangelism is witnessing to the unsaved, not sermons to the Church. Sermons can be a witness to the unsaved, but the unsaved have to hear them through evangelism. I think in all fairness that is the distinction and what the people are addressing.


Quote
Consider the Bible Colleges today.  Who is producing the best pastor and theologians today?

Not the point.


Quote
Calvinistic missions are practically non existant.

 ??? I wonder what you are thinking about?  Your thinking seems to me to be muddled a bit.

I'm thinking about "Missions".


Kyle

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Re: Calvinists, Calvinism and Evangelism
« Reply #17 on: April 11, 2012, 04:13:38 PM »
Billnjune,
   The definition of missions is "a ministry sent by a church somewhere to spread its teachings."

  Hope that helps.

Reformer

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Re: Calvinists, Calvinism and Evangelism
« Reply #18 on: April 12, 2012, 10:43:44 AM »
Well, most old school reformed churches believe that their duty lies primarily in the field of present church extensions and church reformation rather than evangelism of the unchurched. I am not saying I agree with that, just saying that seems to be their justification for not concentrating on outreaches, evangelism or missions. Frankly, I think they should do both, and I don't buy the argument that they can't.

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billnjune

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Re: Calvinists, Calvinism and Evangelism
« Reply #20 on: April 12, 2012, 03:39:44 PM »
Thanks all for helping me to think through this better.  I have a lot to say, but I am in the middle of a move, so I will need some time to get my thoughts together before posting more.
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billnjune

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Re: Calvinists, Calvinism and Evangelism
« Reply #21 on: April 18, 2012, 12:06:28 PM »
The simple definition of Evangelism:
1-   “The spreading of the Christian gospel by preaching or personal witness.”
2-   “Zealous advocacy of a cause”  (this, of course, is relating to non-Christian applications)

Perhaps some people do not agree with this definition. Nevertheless, this supports my argument.  A better question might be “What is the Christian Gospel?”  Assuming that we believe that the “Christian Gospel” is the “Good news of Jesus Christ as defined by the Bible alone.”  If this is true then the work of the JWs and the Mormons do not qualify as evangelism and would fall into the second definition above. 

The next thought is “Does evangelism only include “a Christian talking to a non-Christian about how to be saved?”  I suggest not and that we should include the 1) training of men to become pastors who will later spread the gospel. 2) Teaching and training of our children to become Christians. 3) printing and distributing literature to help others understand the gospel. 4) The preaching of the gospel to help build the church to be better witnesses of Jesus Christ. 5) Supporting Gospel missions who are building the Kingdom of God. 6) Radio and TV that teaches the true gospel (this would exclude those who are teaching a false gospel).  I am sure that you can add to this list. 

I would like to relate “Evangelism” to fulfilling the great commission as described in Matthew 28:19-20   Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,  (20)  teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Amen.

With this being said, I would like to suggest that the Sovereign-Grace Churches are being faithful in evangelism. If you are a Sovereign-Gracer and don’t see this, then I wonder who you are hanging out with?

Your comments are welcome, so that I might be better equipped for God’s service. That is why I am on this site.
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Melanie

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Re: Calvinists, Calvinism and Evangelism
« Reply #22 on: April 19, 2012, 12:29:58 PM »
The simple definition of Evangelism:
1-   “The spreading of the Christian gospel by preaching or personal witness.”
2-   “Zealous advocacy of a cause”  (this, of course, is relating to non-Christian applications)

Perhaps some people do not agree with this definition. Nevertheless, this supports my argument.  A better question might be “What is the Christian Gospel?”

  :)  Yeah but, can we change both the definition and the question so that it will "fit" our argument? I think the definition and question are fine as is.

I'm sure 99 percent of us would say that evangelism is spreading of the gospel to the unsaved. Because the saved already have the good news. They would come under the heading of growing in grace by the gospel, being edified by the gospel, being taught or educated in the gospel. Being evangelized implies being brought in by the message of the good news.

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Re: Calvinists, Calvinism and Evangelism
« Reply #23 on: April 19, 2012, 02:09:52 PM »
I would tend to agree with Melanie, since the word “evangelize” comes from the Greek and is the compound word, "euangelistes," meaning "messenger of good things or good news". Historically, we all understand evangelize to mean spreading the gospel or good news to those who are without it. I see no need to redefine the term now. The Apostle Paul evangelized the Romans and the Ephesians and the Thessalonians. In other words, he went to these places to spread the gospel to those who hadn't heard it. I don't think we have to over complicate it.

Tra Millwood

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Re: Calvinists, Calvinism and Evangelism
« Reply #24 on: April 21, 2012, 11:58:37 AM »
The Apostle Paul evangelized the Romans and the Ephesians and the Thessalonians. In other words, he went to these places to spread the gospel to those who hadn't heard it. I don't think we have to over complicate it.

The Reformed are more worried about The framers of the WCF, traditions, Lapsarianism, Exclusivism, Christian liberty and Calvin's theology than evangelism. They'd rather give $1000.00 to a political campaign than $10.00 for mission field work. Gotta worry about the important things first ya know   ::)

I exclude the Presbyterians, who do a lot of mission work. At least as it relates to other Reformed groups. We can't make a blanket statement I know, but in general all Churches are less concerned about spreading the gospel and more about tending sheep, constructing greater buildings and growing themselves.

billnjune

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Re: Calvinists, Calvinism and Evangelism
« Reply #25 on: April 23, 2012, 12:20:55 PM »
I’m sorry for the long silence, but my health does not leave me running on all cylinders everyday.


To be fair, there are quite a few "Calvinists" that have an attitude of, God is sovereign in who he saves (which is true),
ALL Calvinist believe that God is all Sovereign in Salvation.

and therefore my job is not to evangelize (which is not true) but to feed the Church.
Any Calvinist with this view, is very mistaken as to his role as a Christian.  To feed the church is part of the “Great Commission” and should be done.

The “Great Commission” is a COMMAND and not a suggestion for something to do when you feel like it or do when it is convenient.  The Arminians, on the other hand, mistakenly believe that they are getting souls into heaven and that they are getting crowns for themselves and mansions in heaven, so that they can rule over others. The Calvinist is simply and quietly following God’s commandments without a lot of fan-fair and looking for recognition from others. 

In passing, I cannot recall a commandment in the Bible that commands us to evangelize.  Can someone help me with this?  I feel sure that there must be, but I cannot come up with one. 


Calvinistic missions are practically non existent. Try and start a list of those. You might get 1 or 2.

This is not even close to being correct.  I gave you a list of Calvinistic vs Arminian theologians in history and in the next couple of post I will give you some great men in our present age.
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billnjune

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Re: Calvinists, Calvinism and Evangelism
« Reply #26 on: April 23, 2012, 01:49:00 PM »
In this post I would like to introduce you to a Calvinist who has given the best years of his life to evangelize the people of Northern Siberia.  I first met Dan in Kiev, Ukraine back in 1994.  He did not know much Russian, but would hire an interpreter, who put a boom box on his back and would face Dan as he spoke on the streets as the interpreter would speak into the microphone to his boom box.  I remember one person who was upset at Dan and threw water on him.  Dan thanked him, went home changed his clothes and went right back on the street to tell others about Christ.  Then Dan disappeared out of my life until 2008 when I found that he went to a place were the Gospel had never been preached before. Here is a report of Dan and his work from his church website: www.cornerstonedenver.com/siberia_missions

Dan Vanschaemelhout (Dan Van) was sent to the former Soviet Union in 1993, shortly after the fall of the "Iron Curtain," by our church to investigate the possibility of doing missionary work there. Well, he basically never came back, except for one short visit when we begged him to. He began preaching the gospel in the open air in the city of Kiev and holding church meetings on Sundays and Bible studies during the week, while studying the Russian language there at the University.

Since 2002 Dan has been ministering among the Yakut people way up in the area of northern Siberia inside the Arctic Circle, at a village called Srednekolymsk, Yakutia.
 
Dan is presently holding two church meetings a week on Sundays and Thursdays. He has an assistant named Yulia who is fluent in English and Russian, and is able to translate Dan's messages and send them via email across the internet. Yulia also helps Dan in his door to door ministry, teaching the women and children, and in various communication necessities that come up. She is a strong believer in the doctrines of grace as well.
Dan also is reaching out to some of the surrounding villages in that region. There are nine in total.
 
The living conditions are quite harsh there. In December and January, the sun does not even come up over the horizon and the temperatures sink to -70 degrees Farenheit. The wind chill there today (Feb. 9) was -104 with the temperature of -57. The village is plagued with serious alcoholism, infidelity, homicide and suicide. It is a very dangerous place to live. The spiritual condition is that of Atheism, Agnosticism, and a pagan religion which worships fire.
There is another group of believers north of Dan in a town called Chersky. They have no pastor but receive Dan's messages from Yulia and hold meetings listening to those. Dan is planning a boat trip up there this summer (2009) with some of his church members to visit them.

Dan Van does not know anyone else within hundreds of miles of him that is preaching the gospel. There were some other missionaries, but they are all long gone. For more than 15 years we have considered it one of our privileges to be able to support his work there as one of our elders sent out as a missionary.

Dan has a bad heart condition and is now 66 and will be dying with Cancer in a city with no doctors and hospitals, but continues to serve as he can for the glory of God.
Here is a video of Dan in 2010 www.youtube.com/watch?v=z1O5k2Hoxrc&feature=related Here is a testimony of his assist and who gave up her nice life in Kiev to go to Siberia to serve with Dan for the Glory of God. www.youtube.com/watch?v=J1iWvj5ufPc&context=C400fe90ADvjVQa1PpcFNcERiyEZPgZH6hjiZLJZ9vvK1w91jPXcw=
Back in 2006 some Russian Arminian pastors visited Dan and sharply criticized him.  This is Dan’s open response to them.  As I read this is always brings tears to my eyes.  It is long but a worthy read.

January 9, 2009
Dear Valentine, Innocentiy, Michael, Lyubomir and Said, 
Hope you are recovering from your outreach.  It is very draining physically, emotionally and spiritually.  We pray those Bibles will be read and the Holy Spirit will work deeply in their hearts.  Only the Word of God can bring change. 

At our last meeting there were a number of charges brought against me.  I understood from the beginning that you came to speak primarily and not to listen.  It’s difficult to listen when you have an agenda to speak.  So I chose to remain silent and save what I had to say for this letter.  Please be patient with me and listen.

You mentioned that my method of evangelism was too aggressive and that I scared people away with my warning of Hell.   My pride was really offended.  In Proverbs 8:13 God says “I hate pride and arrogance”.  So whenever I see pride in myself I fight it with all my strength the best way I know how because God hates it.  You gave me matter to pray about and I thank you for that. 

However I find myself agitated for a much deeper concern.  That is a general ignorance of what is in Scripture concerning Hell and future judgment.  I will quote our Lord Jesus Christ only from the Book of Matthew.  Please do not read these verses over hastily.

Matthew 5:29-30   If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.  30And if your right hand causes you to sin cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.
Matthew 7:19  Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire
Matthew 10:28   Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.
Matthew 11:21-24
"Woe to you, Korazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! If the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. 22But I tell you, it will be more bearable for Tyre and Sidon on the Day of Judgment than for you.  23And you, Capernaum, will you be lifted up to the skies? No, you will go down to the depths. If the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Sodom, it would have remained to this day.  24But I tell you that it will be more bearable for Sodom on the Day of Judgment than for you."
Matthew 13:30  …First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned…
Matthew 13:41-42  …they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil.  42They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Matthew 13:50  and throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Matthew 18:8   If your hand or your foot causes you to sin cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life maimed or crippled than to have two hands or two feet and be thrown into eternal fire.
Matthew 18:34   In anger his master turned him over to the jailers to be tortured
Matt 21:41  "He will bring those wretches to a wretched end," …
Matt 22:14  "For many are invited, but few are chosen." 
Matt 24:51  He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Matt 25:30  And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.'
Matthew 25:41  "Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire ...
Matt 26:24  The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him. But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born." 
Now this is just from the Book of Matthew.  15 citations of damnation from the mouth of the Lion from the tribe of Judah Jesus Christ.  In Luke 16:19-31 Jesus speaks the parable of the rich man and Lazarus and uses very descriptive words: Hell, torment, agony and fire.  Please focus on those words.  In the Book of Romans Paul talked about God’s wrath 11 times in 13 chapters.  I remind you he was speaking to the Gentiles.  Paul talked about God’s wrath in the opening chapters and never began speaking of the divine remedy until Rom 3:24-26.  The good news becomes good news, really good news when you know the bad news first.  Jesus Christ is our great wrath bearer. 
Rom 5:9  Paul says, “Be saved from God’s wrath”.
II Thessalonians 1:8-10   Paul says God will punish those who do not know God …  9They will be punished with everlasting destruction …  10on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people
Jn 3:16  "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son …  Now that’s the good news.  Now notice the warning He gives for those who ignore the message:  3:18 … but whoever does not believe stands condemned already …  They are condemned already because they come into the world already under the wrath of God.  Notice the repetitive warning: 3:36 … but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God's wrath remains on him."  God’s wrath is upon them from birth. 

I do make people afraid.  Should an unbeliever be afraid of Hell.  If a person is ignorant that he has cancer and you know he has cancer and you don’t warn him are you his friend?  Do you love him?  I think not.  If we don’t warn people of their frightful condition we simply don’t care.  Look at the words of Jesus in Matthew 10:48 Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.  Who kills soul and body in Hell?  I hope your answer is God.  I show people these verses up front.  I want them to know they have a condition a billion times worse than terminal cancer.  You say, “Don’t make people afraid.  Jesus says, “Be afraid”.  Who am I to believe: you or Jesus?

In speaking to His brothers Jesus said in Jn 17:7  The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify that what it does is evil.  Why did the world hate Jesus?  Because He exposed the wickedness of the human heart.  In Jn 15:18  Jesus said "If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.  I am not surprised when I’m not received with open arms either was our Lord and Savior.  The world killed Him.  Whenever Paul went he was beaten and driven out by both Jews and Gentiles.  They hated him.  The unregenerate heart will always reject the message and messenger.  It is the smell of death to them.

In Matthew 10:34 Jesus said "Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword”.   Wherever death and resurrection of Jesus is preached with force it will bring division and separation.  People will either be for Him or against Him and they will either be for or against His ambassadors.  I am an ambassador of God sent by God.  I take my privilege and responsibility very seriously. 

I was accused of not being a friend to people, not doing friendship evangelism.  As I walked through my neighborhood today I counted 18 people who in the last 6 months I’ve eaten with, walked with, given fire wood to, brought food and medicine for, helped with money, listened to.  Two teenagers have lived with me for very lengthy time periods both of which ended up stealing very large amounts of money from me.  By the way I still continue relationship with them.  They all have rejected the message of our sin bearing – wrath bearing Savior which is the very heart of the Gospel message.  However we continue our friendships.  You should have asked one of them what kind of a friend I am.  The problem is the people that told you I’m not friendly are a few of the 400-500 people that I have witnessed to this year that I haven’t had any time to spend with.  I apologize!  I’d like to remind you that the people that offered you such information are all unregenerate people.  You are either a child of God or a child of the devil.  No in between.  The people that offered you such information about me are all governed by the devil.  The voice of Satan was coming from the lips of those people (and you listened and believed them).  Of course they will say I speak of Hell too much.  The devil doesn’t want me talking about Hell.  The devil’s best tactic is to hide Hell from people.  Hell is the devil’s best kept secret.  He knows if Hell is hidden from people than the meaning of the cross is emptied of its power.  Jesus bore hell on the cross in my place.  You remove wrath from the message, you remove the meaning of justification.  What are we saved from if there is no wrath and Hell?!  Why did you listen to unregenerate people governed by the devil?  In Matthew 10:28 Jesus said, “Be afraid of the One who can destroy soul and body in hell”.  The threat of Hell will never save anyone, however it does teach the holiness of God.  And when the power of the Holy Spirit is working they will flee to the cross of Christ, they will see the love of God expressed in sending His Son to bear our sins and God’s wrath on the cross. 

I want us to notice Paul’s method of evangelism.  Acts 17:30-31  Now this was Paul’s first encounter with the people.  He didn’t make friends with them first.  They were strangers to each other:
In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent.  31For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to all men by raising him from the dead." 

He didn’t advise them to repent.  No, he commanded it.  That seems a bit aggressive to me especially on the first meeting with them.  He didn’t drink tea with them or go hunting and fishing with them – he commanded them to repent.  And now here comes warning: Judgment is coming by the man He has appointed.  Watch how they responded to Paul verse 32: “When they heard about the resurrection of the dead, some of them sneered … a few men became followers of Paul and believed” but most rejected the message.  When was the last time someone sneered at you?  They should be sneering at you.  John Wesley while preaching one of his outdoor sermons paused and contemplated why nobody was throwing stones at him.  He realized that he had become weary of being hated by the people and had begun softening his message.  He resolved at that moment to give strength and backbone to his preaching.  And then people promptly threw rocks at him. 

Look at Matthew 5:11.  This is a prophesy which is fulfilled by God’s ambassadors: "Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me”.
I take it as a compliment when people say all kinds of evil about me. 

1 Peter 4:3-4  For you have spent enough time in the past doing what pagans choose to do – living in debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing and detestable idolatry. 4 They think it strange that you do not plunge with them into the same flood of dissipation, and they heap abuse on you.
People do heap abuse on me because I don’t live as they do.  I am not one of them, I am not part of them.  I’ve been here for 8 years and I will never be like them.  What I can’t understand is why they don’t become like me. 

There is absolutely nothing wrong with my message.  It is completely Biblical.  There is something wrong with an unregenerate heart.  Read Ephesians 4:18-19.  Notice some of the words that describe an unregenerate heart.  It is darkened, separated from God, arrogant, hardened, insensitive, sensual, impure and lustful.  In Ezekiel 36:26 it says an unregenerate heart is a stone.  Romans 8:7 says an unregenerate person is hostile to God.  And so of course they heap abuse upon me because I’m God’s spokesman.  2 Corinthians 4:4  The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.

What can’t they see?  They can’t see the Gospel and the very heart of the Gospel is Christ – our great sin and wrath bearer.

Paul understood the threat of God’s wrath.  That’s why he said in 2 Corinthian 5:11  “Since, then, we know what it is to fear the Lord, we try to persuade men”.  Persuade them of what?  Of the coming wrath.  Because verse 10 says, “We must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ”. 

As I listened to you guys I was under the impression that the most important factor is to be friends with unbelievers and gain their approval and acceptance.  My primary concern is a Christ-centered presentation of the Gospel.  I’m looking for God’s approval.  Is He satisfied with my presentation of our wrath-bearing Savior?  I felt your presentation was more concerned with winning the approval of men.  When I present the Gospel my eye is to the Lord trying to win His approval.  When you present your message your eye is towards man trying to win his approval. 

What is the Gospel message?  It includes the following:
1.   The sinfulness of men and its consequences.  God is angry and man is born under God’s wrath.
2.   The remedy – Jesus Christ is our great wrath and sin-bearer which leads to justification. 
3.   Man’s response – faith and repentance. 
4.   The warning – if man does not accept the message he is damned.

If anyone of these parts is absent from the Gospel presentation it is not the Gospel at all.  If man is not told of his sin and rebellion against God then the death of Jesus is meaningless.  If he is not told of Jesus bearing our sins and God’s wrath then there is no solution to the sin problem.  If he is not told to believe and repent then there is no human responsibility.  If he is not warned there is no urgency of the ever-present danger. 

It’s the most interesting fact that each and every time we go door-to-door at least one person let’s us in the door and we make a full Gospel presentation.  I can make as long as one hour and as short as 4 minutes depending on circumstances.  What that boils down to is this: we have made at least 1 thousand one on one presentations since we’ve been here.  Is that bad?  Jesus is glorified in those presentations because He is in the center.  God is looking down from Heaven, “Look at those guys talking about My Son even when people don’t want to listen”.  If people don’t see the glory of Christ it’s because they are blinded.  (Jn 3:3, 2 Cor. 4:4), dead (Eph. 2:1), deaf (Jn. 8:43) and hostile (Rom. 8:7).

To those who reject the message we are the smell of death, to those who receive the message we are the fragrance of life (2 Cor. 2:14-15).  God is glorified in the salvation of a soul but He is equally glorified in the damnation of a soul.  Heaven is a declaration of a mercy of God.  Hell is a declaration of God’s justice (Rom. 9:22-23).  Heaven and Hell are expressions of His divine attributes of mercy and justice. 

I’ve preached this Gospel message in 20 of our 50 states across America, on ten university campuses and three major cities in México, in four provinces of Canada and on Hollywood boulevard and in Ukraine.  This is my last stop in Srednekolymsk.  My message is Biblical and supported by all the great Confessions of faith: The Baptist Confession of Faith 1689, The Westminster Confession of Faith, The Synod of Dort, the Belgic Confession of Faith and other.  By the way, the Arminians have no Confession of faith.  That in itself should alarm you. 

The whole time you were here I never heard one Gospel presentation from you.  I never heard you tell people that they were sinners; I never saw the conviction of sin written on their faces because you were not talking about their sins.  Jesus did.  Read Mark 7:20.  He said, “Filth comes out of the human heart”.  Read it for yourselves: evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly.  In Luke 13:3 and 5 Jesus says it twice, “Unless you repent you too will perish”.  I never heard you once threatened them with coming Judgment.  Paul did.  In Acts 24:25 Paul discoursed on Judgment to come and Felix was afraid.  In Acts chapter 5 when Ananias and Sapphira lied to the Holy Spirit, God killed them.  In Acts 13:10-11 Paul struck blindness on Elymas.  The Church and unbelievers saw these divine acts of judgment and were afraid.  You didn’t warn anybody.  You made everybody feel good. 

When the message is initially presented to a nonbeliever they should feel horrified, guilty and afraid of God.  I never heard one time how our precious Lord was crushed under the wrath of God on the cross to remove our sins and God’s anger.  Paul did in 1 Corinthians 2:2  “I know nothing but Christ and Him crucified”.  You are reading the Bible with Arminian glasses on.  What you did was not evangelism.  Nobody left any of your meetings knowing how to become a Christian.  I do not wish to discourage you, you are not children. I desire you to grow in your understanding of the Gospel and evangelism. 

It was mentioned that we are living in an “informed culture”.  When I heard this world “informed” my mind was put on red alert because that idea comes from the West and it’s founded on extreme liberalism.  And I’m afraid you have tapped into the idea.  Perhaps you read some books or went to some conference and such ideas were put into your head.  Nonsense!  I suggest you stop going to conferences, lock yourself in the closet, read the Bible and follow its example. 

So we are living in an “informed culture”.  And somehow my approach needs to change.  I understood that to mean that somehow people have the necessary information to become a Christian.  How naïve!  I challenge you go knock on someone’s door and ask them the following questions, “Who is Jesus Christ?  Why did Jesus Christ have to die on the cross?  Who punished Jesus on the cross?  What is the relationship between Jesus’ death and your sins being forgiven?”  If these questions can not be understood and answered in principle you can not be a Christian.  People will give you the craziest answers to these questions.  I urge you to ask the members of your church what the word ‘justification’ means.  Be sure they can not tell you. 

What is ‘justification’?  It’s a legal term.  It has to do with courtrooms, judges, criminals, attorneys.  It’s a declaration that God makes about you.  You are the guilty criminal in His courtroom.  And God declares the guilty sinner not guilty and in fact perfectly righteous.  How can an all-holy sin-hating God declare a guilty sinner righteous?  I assure you people can’t tell you.  Imagine yourself in God’s courtroom.  The devil is the prosecuting attorney and he says, “You are guilty” and he is right.  Your own conscience tells you, “You are guilty” and your conscience doesn’t lie.  God the Father looks at you and says, “You are guilty” because you have broken His law.  And His Son says, “You are guilty”.  All four parties agree you are guilty and justly should pass from the courtroom to be thrown into Hell.  Now how in the world can a guilty sinner be declared not guilty and in fact perfectly righteous?  It’s because of our Lord Jesus Christ.  He is our defense attorney.  He turns to the devil, the prosecuting attorney, and says, “Shut up!  I already paid the penalty with My blood in the sinner’s place”.  God the Father turns to the devil and says, “Shut up!  My Son has paid the fine in full”.  The justified sinner will never pay the penalty.  He has been justified in God’s courtroom. 

God the Father declares the guilty sinner not guilty and righteous based on two giant foundations.
#1  Jesus paid the penalty for my sins.  We use the word ‘substitute’.  He died a substitutionary death.  What does ‘substitute’ mean?  It means to take the place of another.  Jesus took my place on the cross.  I should have paid for my sins but He did it in my place.  When He died it was just as if I died and paid for my sins.  It counted for me.  All of my sins have already been paid for. 
#2  The second giant foundation by which I’m declared not guilty and righteous is the perfect righteousness which I need.  Jesus lived for 33 years and He never sinned once in thought, word or deed.  He did it in my place.  It is as though I lived a perfectly sinless life.  So when God looks at the justified sinner He sees him without guilt as though he never sinned at all. 

My salvation rests on those two giant foundations.  Jesus lived the life I should have lived in my place and He died the death I should have died in my place.  That’s what it means to be justified.  So a Christian rests his faith and trusts upon those two giant foundational truths.  Me being justified, forgiven and getting into Heaven has nothing to do with what I do.  It has everything to do with what Jesus did. 

Now do you really believe people are informed?  When I ask people, “How can you be forgiven of all your sins and get into Heaven?” their answers tell me they are not informed.  Here’s how they answer: “I try to keep the Ten Commandments.   I go to church.  I’m really sorry for my sins.  I burn candles.  I pray.  I give my money.  I help people.  And if I do, do and do all these things God will forgive me”.  Now I ask you: Is that true?  If a person does all these things will God declare him not guilty and righteous?  No!  Why not?  Because he is trying to justify himself by the works of the law. 

Read Galatians 2:16 “Know that a man is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by observing the law, because by observing the law no one will be justified”. 
When people answer me that God will forgive them because they do, do, do – it tells me they are not informed.  They are resting their faith on what they do, on the works of the law and not on Christ and what He did.  What an insult to God!  When someone rests their trust on what they do it damns them:
Galatians 3:10 “All who rely on observing the law are under a curse”

Now get that: People who are trying to earn Heaven end up in Hell. 
Do you really think people are informed?  When I ask people, “Why do you think you will go to Heaven?” and they open their mouth with the following, “Because I do, do, do” I understand they are not informed and under God’s curse.  Ask the members of your church, “Why do you think God will let you into Heaven?” and listen to them very carefully for what comes out of their mouths.  If they begin with “Because I do, do, do” they are not informed and under God’s curse headed to Hell.  The first words out of our mouths ought to be “Because of what Jesus did”. 

Do you really think the typical nonbeliever on the street is informed?  No.  I go door-to-door to inform them.  The very thing that they are trusting in is themselves and what they do, “I’m sorry.  I was baptized.  I pray.  I help people”, etc..  And all these things are good but they will not justify a person and in fact will condemn them to Hell in the end because they are not relying on Jesus and what He did. 

And so what is the relationship between Jesus dying on the cross and somebody being forgiven?  When Jesus died on the cross all of God’s wrath and hostility was poured out on Him.  God was satisfied that His wrath was appeased.  He satisfied His anger in full when He punished His Son.  Only after this can He turn to the sinner and say, “My wrath has been quenched.  I forgive you”.  My being forgiven is resting on the fact that Jesus quenched God’s wrath and it is no longer pointed at me.  This is quite the opposite of what your informed people think.  They think if they are sorry enough, good enough, try hard enough, then God will forgive them.  Again they are placing their forgiveness on what they do which puts them under the curse of God.  Being forgiven is the biggest need of the human race.  Understanding the mechanics of forgiveness through the death of our great sin and wrath Bearer is essential and without it no one can be saved.  Do you really think people are informed?   

Somebody made the comment that when his family moved into their new apartment for the first year he and his family did nothing, the second year he began sweeping the floors in the hall and in the third year began talking to the people.  How ridiculous.  I can’t imagine Paul coming into Corinth, renting an apartment and waiting three years before he began preaching.  Am I insulting you?  Not any more than you insulted God by your ignorance of what is written in the Holy Scripture.  You are nullifying the Word by your tradition (Matthew 15:6) and your tradition says, “Make friends first then preach the Gospel”.  I know from experience if you are not upfront with the Gospel first you’ll never preach it at all.  The Old Testament prophets along with the Apostles preached with force and nobody loved them.  The prophets were killed and all but the Apostle John were martyred for their faith.  You need to repent from your man-made method.  I heard over and over again the following expression: “In my opinion”.  I don’t want to hear your opinion; I want to hear what saith the Scripture.   

The great majority of the Creeds of historical Christendom have set forth the doctrines of election, predestination and final perseverance as we’ll readily be seen by anyone who will make even a cursory study of the subject.  On the other hand, Arminianism existed for centuries only as a heresy on the outskirts of true religion.  And in fact, it was not champion by an organized Christian church until the year of 1784 at which time it was incorporated into the system of doctrine of the Methodist Church of England.  The great theologians of history Augustine, Wycliffe, Luther, Calvin, Zwingly, Zanchrus, Owen, Whitefield, Topledy and in more recent times Hodge, Dabney, Cunninghem, Smith, Shedd, Warfield and Kuypper held this doctrine and taught it with force.  That they have been the lights and ornaments of the highest type of Christianity will be admitted by practically all Protestants.  Furthermore, their works on this great subject have never been refuted.  The first Baptists in Russia were all Calvinists.  2 Timothy 4:3 
3 For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.     

It was true then and it is true now: men will not put up with sound doctrine.  Arminianism has strayed so far from the truth.  It takes time and effort and desire to search out these truths.  Where does one begin?  What books to read?  You can’t get to the truth by discussing these issues in the church lobby.  I’ve been showing people the Calvinistic and Arminian issues since 1988.  I can make it quite simple and stimulating.  Please give me an opportunity to discuss it with you. 

Let’s not be phony and superficial with each other, let’s debate and do combat with each other on the Arminian-Calvinistic issues.  None of you know the issues at hand, none of you take time to do so.  You know just enough to be prejudiced against it.  I want to be your friend.  On my part it’s possible.  How about you?  I fear this letter will drive a wedge between us.  This is what I don’t want.  I have spoken freely and opened wide my heart.  I am not withholding my affections from you.  Please open your hearts wide to me.  Hidden thoughts only breed suspicions and never enhances friendships. 

Yulia and I still intend to go to Kiev this summer to meet her parents and my pastor and brother.  I’m not really tired and I don’t need a rest but I do want to see my pastor and brother before I die.  After this letter you may not be willing to raise money for us.  That’s understandable and I won’t let that come between us because I desire to be with you to show you the wonderful doctrines of grace.  It’s necessary for me to know as soon as possible if you will support financially our trip because I need to make early preparations with my pastor and brother.  Let me know about your decision by the end of March.

Your brother in Christ,
Dan
P.S. Paul preached at the market Acts 17:17  He preached in the marketplace day by day with those who happened to be there.   The Apostles went door-to-door.  Acts 5:42 Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Christ.
I will let the Lord Jesus Christ and the Apostles be my example. 
The only regret that I have is that I only have one life to live for my God.

Reformed Baptist

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Re: Calvinists, Calvinism and Evangelism
« Reply #27 on: April 23, 2012, 02:25:03 PM »
In passing, I cannot recall a commandment in the Bible that commands us to evangelize.  Can someone help me with this?  I feel sure that there must be, but I cannot come up with one. 

You're joking? You've been given the definition, but still I don't think you know what the word means. Evangelism is a call to all believer's to fulfill Christ's great command to us:  "Go...and make disciples of all men."

Mark 16:15-16
 "And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned."
 
Since you are a Calvinist, and you can't recall any command of God to evangelize, you're actually proving his point about Calvinists not being really big on Evangelism without even knowing it. Calvinists feel no need to evangelize since (like you) they don't know that it's commanded anywhere. Therefore I assume they think it's not really necessary, proving what we already know about most who call themselves Calvinists. You do recall he said not all Calvinists?

 One quote in this thread was:
 "It is no secret that Calvinists are not really Passionate about evangelism?"
 
At the very least, you've proven that true by your comment asking if it is even commanded. Meaning, you don't know.

On the other hand, those of us of the Reformed faith in the doctrines of Grace, believe God commands evangelism all throughout the bible.

Mark 16:15
 "And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature."
 
If that's not a command to evangelize, I'm Peter Pan. Christ told us to go and make disciples of all men, and the Reformed brethren have been doing that as they were told. As Reformer said, what do you think the Apostle Paul was doing going to the Romans for, the Thessalonians, the Ephesians? He was evangelizing them. Do you think Paul asks if there was even a verse commanding evangelism? Because evangelize is just a word meaning make disciples of men by spreading the gospel. If we're hung up on the exact word, we won't find it in the bible. But if we are listening to God's word, we will see the command to evangelize everywhere in scripture.
 
Matthew 28:18-19
 "And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:"

That my friend is evangelism. It's part of the great commission, which sadly Calvinists have forgotten in their lack of understanding that Sovereignty doesn't negate responsibility.

Luke 14:23
 "And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled."

We're still doing it. And will continue to do it until Christ returns. You might want to review the scripture about the Watchman with the trumpet to warn as a message.


billnjune

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Re: Calvinists, Calvinism and Evangelism
« Reply #28 on: April 23, 2012, 02:44:55 PM »
Thank you, Reformer for your response.

I’m sorry that I am not able to articulate my thoughts as I should.  Of course, I know about the “Great Commission” since I quoted it.  I was wondering if there were other verses, which you answered very well for me.

If the “Great Commission” is the command to evangelize then it seems to me that training pastors etc to bring the gospel should be part of evangelism and not excluded.  My point that I am trying to make is that evangelism is not just a believer talking to a non-believer about how to be saved.  We must teach and prepare people to do this task as part of the Commandments of God.  This I believe is what the Sovereign-gracers are doing very well.

I feel like I am repeating myself, but I am doing the best that I can to explain my thoughts.  Please be patient with me.

Bill
The only regret that I have is that I only have one life to live for my God.

Dana Pescator

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Re: Calvinists, Calvinism and Evangelism
« Reply #29 on: April 23, 2012, 05:20:28 PM »
If the “Great Commission” is the command to evangelize then it seems to me that training pastors etc to bring the gospel should be part of evangelism and not excluded. 

I think training Pastors is teaching, not evangelism. It's more exhorting, shepherding, ministering. I think I agree with Reformed Baptist. You are having a problem understanding what evangelism means. Evangelism is defined as “the preaching or promulgation of the gospel; the work of an Evangelist and missionary zeal, purpose, or activity. If we're going to broaden the definition, it could mean anything including simply a Christian.

I looked it up and it is a Greek word which means the proclamation of the good news of salvation to lost men.




 


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