ARE CALVINISTS EVANGELISTIC
James A. Gunn
This is a unique feature in that it is a letter in response to a question about whether Calvinists are truly evangelistic. I think you will see through Bro. Gunn's response that Calvinists are certainly involved in evangelism.
April 01, 2002

Dear Betty,

Thank you for the call last night about Calvinists and evangelism.  I will try to be helpful. It would be good if I had a tape of the entire sermon in which the charge was made that “Calvinists are not evangelistic.” However, I will answer that claim on the basis of what you said and because this is often said about Calvinists.

While labels, such as “Calvinists and Arminian,” are sometimes used to criticize another person’s point of view, labels do help us define ourselves. I am indeed a Calvinist and thank God that He has shown me the truth of His Word. When someone, especially a preacher, makes the claim that Calvinists are not evangelistic, he is either grossly ignorant of the history of Calvinism, or worse, he is deliberately trying to deceive those to whom he is speaking.

Now to the charge that “Calvinists are not evangelistic.” The great English preacher, Charles Spurgeon was a Calvinist, and he led thousands to faith in Jesus Christ. George Whitefield and Jonathan Edwards were Calvinists and were used by God in great revivals in the early history of America.  The founders of the Southern Baptist Convention were all Calvinists {at least I honestly don’t know of any who were not}. Some of the greatest missionaries such as Adonirum Judson were Calvinists.

To be fair, there are some groups who claim to be Calvinists, such as the Primitive Baptists, who deny the use of means in salvation. They don’t believe in evangelism. But these people are not Calvinists no matter what they claim to be. Anyone who says that these people represent Calvinism is simply ignorant, and anyone who claims that true Calvinists are not evangelistic is simply wrong.

In the case of the church that I serve as one of three elders, we support the Southern Baptist Cooperative Program, the Annie Armstrong and Lottie Moon missionary programs, the Bessemer Baptist Association, Sav-A-Life in Bessemer, an individual church in Romania, an Hispanic church in Birmingham, and have sent missionaries from our local church to Papua New Guinea, and to Trinidad, and to locations in the United States. Although there are not many Reformed Baptists churches in our area there are other Southern Baptists churches served by pastors who are truly Calvinistic. {Reformed and Calvinistic essentially mean the same thing.}

Enclosed are several items that will give you more detail on what a true Calvinists believes. A word about confessions of faith. They are simply propositional statements of Bible truth that are supported by references in the Bible. Confessions do not have any authority over the Word of God, but they are a good way to learn what the Word of God teaches.

Please call me if I can explain or help you to further understand this matter.

In Christian love,
Jim Gunn