Two of the speakers at the Together for the Gospel conference this month warned that the “new Calvinists” are neglecting world missions. Kevin DeYoung, pastor of University Reformed Church in East Lansing, Michigan, said that there has been a lack of “passion and enthusiasm and growth” for “global missions” (“Pastor Says,” Associated Baptist Press, April 13, 2012). David Platt, pastor of Church at Brook Hills, Birmingham, Alabama, said “global missions is tragically neglected.” The conference has been held annually since 2006 by “conservative Reformed evangelicals” who are called the “new Calvinists” and the “Reformed Resurgence.” It is no surprise that global missions has been neglected, because their theology of sovereign election does not produce passion for sacrificing to carry the gospel to the uttermost. Calvinists who have had such a passion, and some have, have it in spite of their theology rather than as a product of it. If God has already decided who will be saved and if He is going to save them no matter what, much of the motive for “going” is removed. William Carey had to get beyond the Calvinism of his time to have a burden to carry the gospel to dark Asia. Last year I asked a prominent Calvinist who says that he rejects “hyper-Calvinism” a simple question: “Do you believe that any man can be saved?” He could not answer that in the affirmative. But the Scripture clearly teaches that that any man can believe on Christ and be saved, and if my theology does not allow me to answer that in the affirmative and with alacrity, my theology needs to be changed. Seven times the New Testament repeats the statement that “whosoever believeth” shall be saved. I don’t care two cents for compatibalism, monergism, synergism, irresistible grace, hypothetical atonement, libertarian free will, supralapsarianism, sublapsarianism, infralapsarianism, desiderative will, or antecedent hypothetical will. All I care about is What Saith the Word of God! I have spent more than 20 years of my life on one of the world’s darkest mission fields, and a major motive that has kept me going in difficult conditions is the Bible-taught awareness that my work can change the eternal destiny of souls. The passion that the apostle Paul expressed in the following verse makes no sense in light of “sovereign election.” “For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, THAT I MIGHT GAIN THE MORE” (1 Corinthians 9:19).
(Friday Church News Notes, May 18, 2012, www.wayoflife.org, email@example.com, 866-295-4143)
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