In the conclusion of his book, The Gospel and Personal Evangelism, Mark Dever addresses the charge that those who believe in unconditional election will not be fruitful in sharing the gospel. He writes (emphasis original):
“Sometimes the charge is leveled, ‘If you’re a believer in election, you won’t evangelize.’ But haven’t many of the greatest evangelists in the history of the Christian church believed that salvation is by God’s election? Has that dulled the evangelistic zeal of a Whitefield or an Edwards, of a Carey or a Judson, of a Spurgeon or a Lloyd-Jones, of a D. James Kennedy or an R.C. Sproul. [sic]
My concern is the opposite: if you don’t believe that the gospel is the good news of God’s action–the Father electing, the Son dying, the Spirit drawing–that conversion is only our response to God’s giving us the grace-gifts of repentance and faith, and that evangelism is our simple, faithful, prayerful telling of this good news, then you will actually damage the evangelistic mission of the church by making false converts. If you think that the gospel is all about what we can do, that the practice of it is optional, and that conversion is simply something that anyone can do at any time, then I’m concerned that you’ll think of evangelism as nothing more than a sales job where the prospect is to be won over to sign on the dotted line by praying a prayer, followed by an assurance that he is the proud owner of salvation” (110).
I was encouraged to see that Johnny Hunt has heartily encouraged “the theological truths” of this book in his endorsement. Hunt writes,
“Few men have the heart and scholarship to speak so scripturally to the subject of evangelism as my friend Mark Dever. We will all be better evangelists having read and reflected on the theological truths of this great book.”
- Johnny Hunt, pastor, First Baptist Church of Woodstock, Georgia
Change of heart maybe?