Evangelism and the sovereignty of God

Senior Pastor Carl Kalberkamp began a two month sabbatical this morning, and so I’ll be preaching the next nine Sunday mornings at Pear Orchard Presbyterian Church. I’ll be preaching a miniseries on the doctrines of grace, aka the five points of Calvinism (more on that series, perhaps, later). In preparation, I’m rereading J. I. Packer’s Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God. If you have never read it, or haven’t read it in many years, I give it the highest recommendation, and strongly encourage you to read it – especially if you’ve ever wondered how God’s sovereignty in salvation coexists with evangelism. The first two chapters alone are worth the price of the book. 

Packer reminds us that every true Christian believes that God is sovereign in salvation – because we all thank God for our salvation, and we pray that God would save other people. He then enters into a discussion about antinomies (an apparent contradiction between two truths, such as God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility), and shows how easy it is for us to only be concerned with one side of a twin truth God intends to be kept together: some are exclusively concerned with human responsibility, others with God’s sovereignty. The Christian must “take both doctrines perfectly seriously, as the Bible does, and view them in their positive biblical relationship. We shall not oppose them to each other, for the Bible does not oppose them to each other. Nor shall we qualify, or modify, or water down, either of them in terms of the other, for this is not what the Bible does either.” 

May the Lord give us grace to understand and believe both truths!

Tolle lege!!


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