Predestination: If You Believe in it, What about Evangelism?

Perceived Audience

I like to begin a lot of my writings by defining my intended audience. This has been helpful in avoiding argumentation.

Those who I am seeking to persuade, inform, or teach are those who believe Jesus is Lord according to the bible. I like to write to Christians because we can then find common ground in the scriptures, which makes it easier to relate ideas and principles. We also don't need to spend time convincing one another of the truthfulness of scriptures from which then we can exhort, correct, rebuke and teach one another. (2 Tim 3:16)

If you do not believe, feel free to read anyways. If you have something to share, then feel free also. All I ask is that you remain within the scope of what I write about.

Biblical Election

Predestination, according to the scriptures, is simply the act of God choosing who will be justified/saved from their sins. This can be seen from one outstanding verse found in the first chapter of Ephesians, verses three through six:

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. (Emphasis mine)

Here, in a verse where the author is describing the goodness of God's blessings, he reveals how God 'chose us in him before the foundation of the world' and 'predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ.' It would then be suggested that the author, commonly understood as Paul the Apostle, was writing to an audience of believers. (The beginning of his letter addresses 'the saints who are in Ephesus.')

This would then lead to an understanding of the "us" in the above scriptures as an exclusive reference to believers in general. So we could say, "God predestined 'we who believe' for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ."

There are several other verses that can be understood in this manner and I would suggest it is biblical and safe to do so. If you disagree with the conclusions, it is ok, but I just want you to follow and understand the point of what I am going to say next. (In other words this isn't meant to be persuasive, but informative.)

Evangelism and Matthew 28

Now to leave the realm of election for a moment, I want to share some basis for evangelism.

Perhaps you would suggest the whole reason we share the gospel is so men and women can be saved. You could even run a scenario in your mind, one where you see an instance when you didn't share with a particular person and you feel guilty because they have a strong likelihood of never hearing it from someone else. Urgency does flow from this way of thinking, but so does anxiety and perhaps an unhealthy guilt.

While I wouldn't say this is wholly wrong I do object for this being a basis for evangelism which I will flesh-out in the next section.

If you are familiar with evangelism, then you are most likely familiar with this particular verse:

"Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit," (Matt 28:19)

You are also familiar with who gave these orders, but if you aren't, it was Jesus.

Now I don't believe this was meant to be an option for the men who Jesus shared this with, but a command. One that we can infer to ourselves. I believe this is true despite what you believe about election and if you ever take a stance that evangelism is optional or unnecessary, you are being disobedient.

So to conclude this section, urgency for the souls of men and women is a good reason to evangelize, but your number one intention for sharing should be obedience to the Word of God and love for His commandments.

God's Method of Saving Men and Women

Now I feel you can still ask, "Why command Christians to share if there are already those who are chosen?"

I would suggest it is the proclamation and obedience to God's commands that bring about glory and praise, but also God has a greater purpose in allowing us to participate in this endeavor of bringing all the nations to an understanding of Him.

It could easily be suggested that God just needs to flip a switch and turn on the belief of all those He has chosen. While I am not absolutely positive why God doesn't do this, I know that this isn't how He does it and He shares how He wants His elect to come to belief. This is through the preaching of the word.

"How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!" (Rom 10:14-15)

There might be a lot of reasons we say God does it this way, but we do not need to know why to be faithful to it. It isn't inconsistent or ignorant to not have an understanding of why God does everything.

But we can see from so many examples of men believing because they have been shared with, when God could have just made them believe otherwise, that we can conclude this is God's will for bringing about His elect.

God's Purpose in Evangelism

This is a challenging section but I feel it is fully biblical and crucial for developing a love for God that will reap joy and righteousness.

The purpose of evangelism is the same purpose God has for anything He has created or commanded: the praise and glory of His name.

If this is true, then I feel like I can quickly point why basing your belief in evangelism to save men and women can be detrimental and dangerous to your evangelism. Thinking in such a manner is essentially Humanism and you replace the praise and glory of God in sharing the gospel for the interests and comforts of men and women. Now if you have thought that way, I am positive that you wanted the best for people, because you love God. It isn't a mistake as much as it is a straightening of priorities.

If it is hard to believe that God would prioritize His praise and glory above all else, I want you to consider a few verses, first being the one I used above, Ephesians 1:6, 12 & 14. In each one Paul describes something God does for his creation and then describes why, "To the praise of His glorious grace...", "...to the praise of His glory..." and "...to the praise of His glory."

You know, listing verses can be boring and hard to read. I challenge you read yourself and find how Jesus, God the Father, and the Spirit all work to the end of glorifying themselves. "From the rising of the sun, to its setting, I the Lord will make my name great amongst the nations..."

If I get enough requests I will gladly create a list of verses demonstrating this truth.

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Comments 9 comments

David Legg 7 profile image

David Legg 7 4 years ago from Trout Paradise, Colorado

I find the question of predestination and free agency discussed in a manner that provokes constructive thought in Romans 8 as well. I also think that with respect to those who question the need for evangelism, it is wise to consider Paul's exhortation to Timothy to do the work of an evangelist, as well as Phillip's call to minister to the Ethiopian eunich in Acts. Clearly, as you point out, it is the will of God that we evangelize the lost, and that is more than sufficient reason. I also think that concern for the salvation of others is important, but if it is independent from obedience to God, then it is fair to question the integrity of the motives, and anything done apart from the will of God, while it may certainly be used by God for His own purposes, is of no value to to the one who pursues their own aims. Furthermore, to divorce our ambition from God's commands, or to attempt to do so, increases the danger of bringing forth a Gospel that is not a Gospel. If it is not the Word of God which persuades, then whose is it? If by many clever words we can persuade, then it would seem as if we have become the source of salvation, rather than a means through which the salvation of God is allowed to work. If we are saving people though our own efforts, then the work of Christ was not sufficient, and therefore the salvation we are offering is not the same as that which is offered by the Lord, finished and once for all.

This is a great hub, and delves effectively into matters which few seem to take seriously enough. Thank you for sharing it.

David


Millercl profile image

Millercl 4 years ago Author

Thanks for commenting. It sounds like you could have written it also.

I feel like I agree with all of your comment and it sounds like we probably believe the same way about things too! I look forward to reading what you have!


rLcasaLme profile image

rLcasaLme 4 years ago from Dubai, United Arab Emirates

This is actually one of the toughest questions a bible believer has to handle. I, myself believe in the doctrine of election because the bible said so. I totally believe in the sovereignty of God in salvation.


Millercl profile image

Millercl 4 years ago Author

Yeah I feel like election can be easily demonstrated in the scriptures. But there are a lot of people who hold onto a prior understanding of salvation and when introduced with something like election, tend to be put-off.

I am not without tradition, but at least I can see that.

Thanks for the comment.


DaytonaWatterson profile image

DaytonaWatterson 4 years ago from South Florida

Great subject, definitely VOTED UP!!! I copied Rom 10:14-15 and now it's hanging above my computer!!!

Daytona ;)


Millercl profile image

Millercl 4 years ago Author

Well thank you and welcome to the Hub Pages!


Jordan 4 years ago

"There might be a lot of reasons we say God does it this way, but we do not need to know why to be faithful to it. It isn't inconsistent or ignorant to not have an understanding of why God does everything."

I love the above quote from your article. We do not need to know everything about God or why God does things the way he does. We need only to be faithful and trust that his way is surely better than our way.

The fact that God lets us, sinners though we are, even speak his name, much less proclaim his goodness and love to others is stunning.

I am a firm believer in election as taught by the scriptures, but I would also agree with you that using election as an excuse to not evangelize is simply disobedient. I do not know why God chooses to bring people to himself by the preaching of his Word, but I do know that it is true, because Romans 10 (quoted above) says so. So I am back to my first point. We are not God. We do not know everything. We do know what God tells us in scripture, and that is enough for us to be obedient and godly.

You make a very good point in distinguishing the biblical reason for evangelism verses an unbiblical and dangerous motivation (humanism). We tell people about Jesus, ultimately, because he is worthy and he is to be praised. Any other reason, as good as it might sound, is basically idolatry. If we do it mainly because people are going to hell without hearing the gospel, we are elevating people above the glory of God. And God elevating himself and doing everything he does "to the praise of his glory" is the most loving and kind thing he can do since he is above all and the only person who can truly satisfy our souls.

When one truly sees the total depravity of the human heart, the doctrine of election in missions and evangelism is glorious.

All that to say this. Chris, wanna go to China? :):):)


effiemaegreer 4 years ago

Nicely written. I think in simplest terms for me, I love that IT IS GOD who is in control of the outcome of our testimony and witness to what He has done in our lives, but that in His goodness towards us He allows us to be a part of His great work in saving the lost. What a privilege!


Millercl profile image

Millercl 4 years ago Author

Thanks Greer! I agree wholeheartedly. It is a privilege and one often taken for granted.

BTW, welcome to HubPages!

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