Free Will or No Free Will? Does it Effect Evangelism?

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by mnw, May 14, 2006.

  1. mnw

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    What difference does it make to your outreach efforts whether you believe in "Calvinism" or "Arminianism"?

    I personally have given up on trying to understand the balance between free will and soveriegnty. I see Scriptures that support both.

    My responsibility is to give the Gospel to every one and any one. In my mind whether they accept or reject or are called or not called makes little difference to my efforts.

    Would you agree or disagree? Do you feel a belief either way will make a difference to your outreach?

    Hopefully we can keep this thread sane... [​IMG] I'll try not to take any cheap shots...
     
  2. Gina B

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    I definitely don't think it effects evangelism as far as doing it, it only changes the approach.

    And both sides can have bad approaches. Knocking on a strangers door at dinner and telling them they're going to hell is just as ignorant and dangerous as thinking you should do nothing.

    Then there are those with good approaches. I think the C side tends more towards lifestyle evangelism...helping people in need and relying more heavily on discipling existing believers so that their influence and desire to share Christ will be stronger, while it seems that the A camp leans more toward appealing on a more social level...having nice stuff, or being more aggressive in speaking with people, on getting believers out there spreading the word.

    And there are mini good and bad points about that too. A's probably reach more people but lose more people, C's probably reach less, but more effectively for the ones that remain. Does it equal out in the end? Who knows. I figure it probably does.
     
  3. Helen

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    Well, I'm neither Calvinist nor Arminian. I honestly don't understand why Calvinists would evangelize at all, since if someone is chosen they are chosen and no one can do anything about it one way or the other.

    Arminians have a tough sell, too, I think. They believe salvation can be lost, so what do they do? Do they keep evangelizing the same people over and over so help them not lose their salvation?

    The Bible, however, makes it very clear that every man has the potential to be saved by believing and that once a person is born again in Christ, that is an eternal state of affairs and the person cannot be 'unborn' and go back to being a pagan. So yes, every man has the freedom to choose which way to go -- and the choice is fully available to every man; we are told over and over again in the Bible to seek God and not to harden our hearts -- to choose this day whom we will serve.

    So the Biblical way to approach evangelism is to treat each person as someone who really can choose which way to go. But I fully agree with Gina regarding the fact that the way you live is much more important than the words you say (which are not unimportant). If people do not see Christ in you, in how you act and speak and in your attitudes, then your words won't mean a thing.

    Evangelism is an invitation to someone to share in the life you have found in Christ -- in the joy, the peace, the growth, the fruitful activity. If your life does not show that, why should anyone believe that what you have is any better than what they already have?
     
  4. Joseph_Botwinick

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    Helen,

    Everytime you say this, you make yourself look more and more ignorant because you know the reason Calvinists witness and still propagate this hogwash. I'll say it once again for the benefit of those who don't know the reason and read your inflammatory remarks:

    Calvinists witness to the lost because God told them to. They need no other reason.

    Joseph Botwinick
     
  5. Helen

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    Joseph, it's not hogwash. It's simple logic. Calvinists evidently think they are commanded to do something which makes no difference whatsoever. There is nothing you can do to lead a person to Christ if he or she is not chosen and nothing you can do or not do to keep a person away from Christ if he or she is chosen. Therefore you must think God commanded you to waste an incredible amount of time, money, and resources for no effect at all.

    Now, if you will read my post I did not say you did not evangelize. I did not say that you were not trying to be obedient to God. What I did say was that "I honestly don't understand why Calvinists would evangelize at all, since if someone is chosen they are chosen and no one can do anything about it one way or the other."

    Feel free to credit my lack of understanding to my thick-headedness if you like....
     
  6. Joseph_Botwinick

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    Doing the will of God is never a waste of time, energy, or resources, and is never for no effect at all. What God wills, he makes it happen. It is only the free willers who believe that God's effectual call can be thwarted and be of no effect.

    Yes, it is your thick headedness, but no it doesn't mean I like it.

    Joseph Botwinick
     
  7. Rippon

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    In Roger Nicole's " Our Sovereign Saviour : The Essence Of The Christian Faith ' He has the following words in chapter 10 regarding those who harbor Helen's erroneous conjectures .

    The second contention by which people think that predestination and the Great Commission are in opposition is this : If God has elected certain people , he is going to bring them into his fold himself . Therefore , we do not need to exert ourselves , because nothing we might fail to do would foil God's purposes .
    This reasoning also has no strength , because it does not take account of the fact , very clearly taught in Scripture , that the purposes of God are fulfilled through means , and that the means God has elected for the salvation of people is the preaching of the gospel . Without the preaching of the gospel we cannot expect the election of God to take effect . When God elected some people to be saved , he also elected the means by which they should be saved . He elected preachers to proclaim the message and the power of his Holy Spirit to melt their resistance . Upon hearing the message , they manifest election by repentance and faith . To attempt to disconnect the end , which is the salvation God has foreordained , from the means , which in this case is the presentation of the gospel to those who have not yet heard it or to those who have heard it but not yet accepted it , is a most mischievous misunderstanding of God's ways .
    God has given us a very plain command . So we are in no position to say , 'We will disregard the command because we do not know how it is going to be fulfilled .' We do not perceive the way in which God is carrying out his purpose of election , and it is not our business to inquire how God carries it out . It is our business to be obedient to the command God gives . If anybody says , ' The Lord doesn't need me ; I can just as well go my way without concern for the evangelistic and missionary endeavour ; God has foreordained people and they will be saved whether I put my hand to it or not ,' that person drastically distorts the doctrine of election .
     
  8. webdog

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    Witnessing to someone who has not been "chosen" to be elect is not witnessing...it's lying to them. Witnessing by definition means they would have an opportunity to take to heart what you tell them. THIS is what God has commanded us. It's funny how calvinists say that just because God commands man to seek Him, reason together with Him, and look for Him doesn't necessarily mean that man can REALLY seek Him. Nothing but talking out of both sides of your mouth.
     
  9. Joseph_Botwinick

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    Everytime I see your name, I say to myself, "Here comes another inflammatory misleading remark about Calvinists"...and you never fail to deliver just that. They will have the opportunity to take it to heart, if God opens their hearts to the truth. It is not up to me to decide who the elect are and are not. It is up to me to be obedient to God. I have lied to nobody. The lost do not obey God because they are not his sheep. The saved do. Read your Bible. It is in there.

    John 10:25-30

    Joseph Botwinick
     
  10. Rippon

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    WD , would you rather Calvinists disobey God ? Would that make you feel better ? Sorry , that's not an option . You just can't get around the truth that Christ died for His people alone . God has the right , the sovereign privilege to do anything -- and everything he does is right . You can't grasp the fact that though He has chosen some -- that we should witness to all . Get over it . Let go of your finite reasoning and be true to the Word . Remember philosophy killed the cat .
     
  11. webdog

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    John 10:25-30

    Joseph Botwinick
    </font>[/QUOTE]JB, I say the same thing to myself when I see your smirking avatar... "another rude post from someone defending a false doctrine". The arrogance and proud attitudes of calvinists here on the BB is sickening.

    If God gives a command, He gives the ability to follow it. Period. I don't serve a wishy washy God, but a righteous, fair one.
     
  12. webdog

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    J.D. I would ask you to let God out of the box that your system has put Him in. The TRUTH is that Christ died for the WORLD. Twisting "world" to fit your definition does not make it truth. Let God be truly sovereign. Calvinism deals with God within a time frame, but God is not bound by our time.
     
  13. Rippon

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    All true Christians serve the Immutable God .And He is indeed righteous . Your sense of fairness and God's view may differ . According to your logic all fallen angels should be given more opportunities to get right with God , because it would be " fair " . Get this , some receive mercy . I don't think we wanted fairness . All would be condemned according to strict justice alone .

    Webdog , only address what you seem to think are errors , nothing of a personal nature .

    The commands of God in this thread deal with those directed to Christians . As believers He equips us for our spiritual tasks .
     
  14. Rippon

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    Webdog , you have been around the block here long enough to know that giving your particular spin of the meaning of "world" won't wash . Christ died for His sheep-- the Church that He bought with His own blood . The saints whose names have been recorded before the foundation of the world and the foreknown , predestined , called , justified , glorified ones are all one and the same -- no others .

    And brother JD and I have much in common -- but we are separate individuals .
     
  15. Dr. Bob

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    Webdog has problems. Sadly, that is evident. Let's stay on the proposition.

    If John Doe's salvation depends on his own will, then "I" had better not witness (witness is simply to share Law and Gospel with someone). I'd better TWIST AND SHOUT and do everything to force them to "make the choice".

    If it's going to be, it's up to me.

    Arminian. Or . .

    If John Doe's salvation depends on GOD working on his will, then "I" had better still witness in obedience to the command of the Lord and then allow the Spirit of God to do the work as HE deems proper.

    If it is true salvation, it must start and end with God, not man.

    Calvinism.

    I witness daily (or try to). I try to share the Gospel prefaced with Law to all I know. I do not know whom God has chosen, but have a great confidence in my witnessing that GOD will bring the fruit He desires from it.
     
  16. Rachel

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    I agree.

    For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.
     
  17. Tom Butler

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    In answer to mnw's OP, does our soteriology affect our outreach efforts?: of course it does.

    The view that men and women have the innate ability to choose logically leads to methods designed to elicit a choice--a decision. At the extreme, this view seeks to make the gospel and the "decision" as attractive as possible. It produces a pragmatism under which no methodology or strategy is out of bounds, if it brings people to a decision.

    The view that God is the author of salvation from start to finish, that regeneration precedes faith, that the Holy Spirit does the drawing which results in repentance and faith, that whom He calls, He justifies, will produce a different kind of outreach.

    If action is consistent with belief, it can't be otherwise.
     
  18. mima

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    Yes what you believe whether Calvinism or Armenianism makes a big difference in your witness.
    First let us deal with lifestyle evangelism as enunciated by Gina L. and Helen. I do not believe in lifestyle evangelism as I do not believe my life is representative of the Lord Jesus Christ on the other hand His words as given in the Bible or representative of Him. And my message consists exactly of what the Bible says on how a person can be saved.
    Next we can look at Armeanianism. Do people of this belief makes strong witnesses? Not in my experience. The reason being they believe that your salvation can be lost, and they therefore must always tell the person you must continue to do this, or to hold on, another words they give you a few works to maintain your salvation.
    Now on the Calvinism. I am Calvinist and for that reason am very happy to witness because my witness consist of a message and that message tells a person how they can do to be saved. Experience has shown me that people are much more interested in their own salvation than hearing the story of yours or what a wonderful fellow you are because you gave. When I deliver this message I am not lying to anyone, the elect will hear and accept the non-elected may hear but they will not except. Now because I don't know who the elect are I willingly offer my message to all who will listen. And when I do the Holy Spirit will deal with the people in a manner already set in concrete.
    Here's an interesting story about witnessing, once in the checkout counter at a local grocery store I had the urge to witness to a woman. And when I started to make a move in her direction the Holy Spirit said to me, not now. Oh my I must be going crazy I thought. Later after getting her groceries and go to her car she was returning the basket to the store and at this time I was leaving the store, when the Holy Spirit said to me, now, witness now. I did and the lady readily accepted the Lord Jesus Christ that afternoon on the parking lot.
     
  19. 4His_glory

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    In answer to the OP: yes our theology does effect our evangelistic efforts. What I have found is that those who are more Arminian tend to be much more man-centered in their evangelism which can, but not always does, lead to bad methods.

    Those who tend to be more Calvinistic in their soteriology, tend to be more God-centered, and rely upon the work of Christ instead of their own personal "effort". They do not feel the need "get people saved" but rather the believe they are to be concerned about declaring God's glory to the nations simply because He commands it, and then rejoicing because of the gracious work He does through their wittness.
     
  20. 4His_glory

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    Then clearly you don't understand Calvinism and are only showing your ignorance here. Not only has God "ordained such as should be saved", but He has also ordained the means by which they are saved- "faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God." God uses the proclomation of His Word to enable faith in the new believer, through the general Gospel call, God sends the specific Gospel call.
     

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