This is a common question for those who reject the doctrines of grace, otherwise known at Calvinism with the accompanying acronym TULIP, and also for those who simply do not understand the doctrines and are earnestly seeking to reconcile evangelism and sovereign election. Unfortunately, there are many hypercalvinists who have distorted the biblical teaching of election and thus many an Arminian have run with the over-generalization and untruth that all Calvinists believe sharing the Gospel with the lost is pointless and unnecessary. Of course, this could not be further from the truth as Scripture is clear of our mandate to go out to preach the Gospel to every creature (Mark 16:15), and I have never met a bible-believing Calvinist to teach otherwise.
The simple answer to this question is that we evangelize because God tells us to evangelize. The highest calling on the life of a person is to 1) repent and believe the Gospel and 2) to preach the Gospel. Disobeying the first calling will result in everlasting destruction (2 Thessalonians 1:8-9), while disobeying the second calling is direct and willful disobedience to the Person who purchased you. What’s more, disobeying the second calling could possibly be an indication that you continue to disobey the first calling of which the ramifications are evident. Charles Spurgeon once said,
Every Christian is either a missionary or an impostor.
Spurgeon could not have been more truthfully blunt in my opinion.
In Paul’s letter to Philemon, he writes:
I thank my God, making mention of you always in my prayers, 5 hearing of your love and faith which you have toward the Lord Jesus and toward all the saints, 6 that the sharing of your faith may become effective by the acknowledgment of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus. 7 For we have great joy and consolation in your love, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed by you, brother. – Philemon 1:4-7
Philemon’s testimony should be that of every born again believer. As we grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ, it will be impossible for us not to share our faith with others. Paul writes a similar commendation to the Thessalonians:
We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers, 3 remembering without ceasing your work of faith, labor of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the sight of our God and Father, 4 knowing, beloved brethren, your election by God. – 1 Thessalonians 1:2-4
In this passage, the fruit of our election by God becomes clear: saving faith works, saving faith loves, and saving faith manifests the enduring hope of our Lord Jesus Christ. What is the greatest labor of love produced by the Christian? To proclaim the Gospel to the lost so they might be saved. Through word and deed, loving our neighbors and enemies alike, the believer cannot help but to tell the world of the Saving Grace that saved themselves from eternal hellfire.
Because God has decreed the salvation of His sheep before the foundations of the world, we may go to the ends of the earth having confidence there are sheep who have yet to come to Christ. As such, it is our responsibility as chosen vessels to fulfill the purposes of God by proclaiming the Gospel so the sheep will hear and be saved. If salvation was not decreed for the sheep, we could have absolutely no confidence that anyone would respond in saving faith because no man has the ability to do so apart from the grace of God. In fact, if salvation were left to the free will of man, there must be the possibility there will never be another soul saved between today and the coming of Christ.
Salvation is a gift from God whereby He has ordained His found sheep to tell His lost sheep how they can be found. If you struggle in the area of evangelism, don’t worry, you’re not alone. But there are many wonderful resources out there to help you overcome your fears and equip you to effectively and biblically share your faith with the world. To this end, please check out The Speak:Truth Project.
As Christ has yet to come for His Bride, let us be vigilant in our obedience to seek and save the lost through the proclamation of the Word of God!
To further elaborate why Calvinism is the only biblical foundation for why we preach the Gospel, please see the following links: