Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God

This book is an easy read dealing with the sovereignty of God and how it should affect the lives of Christians as they fulfill the Great Commission.

In chapter 2, the author opens with God’s sovereignty and human responsibility. He aptly describes the issue as being an antinomy. Even though believers cannot truly understand how sovereignty and responsibility work together, they must accept both are clearly taught in Scripture and seek to live their lives accordingly.

Packer goes on to talk about two potential problems with evangelism. The first is to focus on human responsibility and exclude God’s sovereignty. This pitfall introduces Christians as the ones who actually convert people instead of leaving it up to God. As Packer says, this would allow any type of method for evangelism and would be “terrifyingly similar to the philosophy of brainwashing”. On the other hand, it is dangerous to focus on God’s sovereignty and exclude human responsibility. Believers lose the necessity of sharing the gospel since the saved and unsaved are part of God’s sovereign plan and nothing will affect that. In reality, sovereignty and responsibility must work together. God is the one who saves, but He commands Christians to actively share the gospel. (Matthew 28:19-20)

Chapter 3 covers a lot of ground. Packer defines evangelism and presents the Apostle Paul as a role model of evangelism. Packer informs the reader of the content of the evangelistic message. Biblical evangelism includes a message about God, sin and Christ. The third section of this chapter talks about the motive for evangelizing. The author correctly asserts the primary goal of evangelism is to glorify God. He goes on to say the secondary motive must be a love for one’s neighbor. These two work together prompting Christians to spread the news of salvation far and wide. n the final section of the third chapter, Packer presents the process of evangelism. He succinctly says that the only biblical method is to teach and apply the gospel.

The last chapter deals with how the sovereignty of God does not affect the necessity, urgency, or genuineness of evangelism. Nor does it affect the responsibility each sinner has for responding to evangelism. Finally, the author declares God’s sovereignty offers the only basis of hope we can have for knowing our efforts of evangelism will be rewarded. This knowledge should produce boldness, patience, and prayerful.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book (even though I did have to read it for school!). It clearly dealt with both the sovereignty of God and man’s responsibility as it relates to evangelism.

 ~ Melinda ~

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