When discussing evangelism within the doors of evangelical church, there two people always present. The first is passion, who has a desire to see the world transformed by saving grace. The second is fear, who sees that passion’s efforts are failing miserably. Together they hunt about the pews trying to find someone or something to affix the blame. And after a few hours of coffee and conversation, these two friends decide to blame the doctrine of God’s sovereignty.
It is at this moment that J.I. Packer enters into the conversation with his great little book, Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God, showing that evangelism is first and foremost a work of God. It’s a wonderful essay that is worthy of the read. Take a look at the quotes below and then make plans to grab your copy!
“If you are a Christian, you pray; and the recognition of God’s sovereignty is the basis of your prayers. In prayer, you ask for things and give thanks for things. Why? Because you recognize that God is the author and the source of all the good that you have had already, and all the good that you hope for in the future.” –p.15
“And if we forget that only God can give faith, we shall start to think that the making of converts depends, in the last analysis not on God, but on us, and that the decisive factor is the way in which we evangelize. And this line of thought, consistently followed through will lead us far astray.” – p. 32
“In the Bible, divine sovereignty and human responsibility are not enemies. They are not uneasy neighbors; they are not in an endless state of cold war with each other. They are friends, and they work together.” – p.40.
“The things that God is pleased to keep to himself (the number and identity of the elect, for instance, and when and how he purposes to convert whom) have no bearing on any man’s duty. They are not relevant in any way for interpreting any part of God’s law.” – p.95
“It [evangelism] is a work in which quick results are not promised; it is a work, therefore, in which the non-appearance of quick results is no sign of failure; but it is a work in which we cannot hope for success unless we are prepared to persevere with people.” – p.117