Want to upset a Calvinist? Tell him or her that they don’t care about evangelism.


We’ve read it, but we don’t receive it.

Why? It’s simply not true. In fact, not only is that not true now, it’s never been true. And hopefully, it won’t be true in the future. 

In The Past

When critics of Calvinism attack the tribe for not making disciples, or for not being a missional people, they are usually forgetting one thing: history.

Why do I say this?

Go back a few hundred years.

The Church was filled with men and women of Calvinistic conviction who witnessed incredible revivals, leading countless people to faith in Christ. And, if you study closely, you’ll learn that Reformed theology is not just what they believed, but it was the very thing that motivated their mission.

I’m talking about people like:

  • Jonathan Edwards – the greatest mind America has ever produced – whose tracts enhanced the spiritual revival in the Connecticut valley, the revival that we know as the Great Awakening.
  • George Whitfield – the Calvinistic preacher – whose legendary sermons sparked the Great Awakening in the first place!
  • William Carey – the Calvinist preacher who led the great missionary movement of the nineteenth century.
  • Charles Haddon Spurgeon – the Prince of Preachers, himself!

And the list goes on and on.

When we look back, we see many Calvinists with a great-work ethic. Like Paul, they believed God “predestines” some to adoption, but they also worked harder than most to reach them. History reveals that Calvinism and missional living are in no way incompatible. 

Back then, the elect worked hard for the sake of other elect.

In the Present

In 2006, Time Magazine labeled “the New Calvinism” as one of the top ideas changing the world.

Not the church. The world.

Now, of course, Calvinism is not new – for it is as old as the Scriptures. But in any event, Calvinism has made a “comeback” in the church throughout the past 10-15 years. So much so, it received the attention of a major secular magazine.


Well, God, of course. In His providence, he has raised up men to preach His truth, to lead His church, to reach the lost – and when you look at the theological convictions of many of these prominent influential Christians, you will find a deep, robust belief of the Doctrines of Grace.

Men like John Piper, Tim Keller, D.A. Carson, Matt Chandler, David Platt, and Al Mohler.

These men are planting churches, leading universities and major influential organizations. The core of their message is to repent and believe in the gospel. They are not passive.

Calvinism should never lead us to inactivity. Instead, Calvinism should lead us to work hard in evangelism, resting well in the knowledge that all things are under the sovereign hand of God. If your understanding of the doctrines of grace lead to passivity, you’ve missed understood the doctrines of graces.

In The Future

So … what will the future hold?

We don’t know.

Admittedly, As Collin Hansen notes in Young, Restless, and Reformed – one of the biggest weaknesses in the YRR movement is the lack of successors.

I love Piper, Sproul, and MacArthur, but who is set up to take their place? And if there is someone, will they have as large an impact?

To be sure, the prominent Reformed world is made up of more than this handful of men, and I am in no way trying to put them on a pedestal. But, the sheer reality is that new leaders need to be raised up if the Reformed world is to continue the impact.

Will it be you? If not you – then who?

We don’t know what the future holds, but we know Who holds the future. The God who predestines all things that come to pass will raise up His servants in due time. Calvinists will keep being a missional people.

So, in closing, please stop saying that Calvinists don’t evangelize because they affirm the doctrine of predestination, it’s not true. And Calvinist or not, every Christian is a missionary.

“Every Christian is either a missionary or an impostor.” -Charles Spurgeon

unnamedIf you enjoyed the article, check out the author’s FREE ebook, 6 Things You Didn’t Know About John Calvin.

“Clear and informative, David Qaoud’s Six Things You Didn’t Know About John Calvin is a nice introduction to a much-misunderstood and towering figure in church history.  Not wasting words, he gets to the point but without losing accuracy.” – Michael Horton, Westminister Theological Seminary 



One thought on “Calvinist and Missional?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s