Election and Evangelism
Back in the 1920s, R. B. Kuiper observed that many people in the Reformed Church in America rejected the Reformed doctrine of predestination. He further observed that even some in the Christian Reformed Church were beginning to question it. In chapter 7 of his As To Being Reformed, he has a good discussion of this doctrine. Towards the end of the chapter, he has a few words about the proper use of election, particularly as it pertains to evangelism. I think it is worth sharing:
It is not wise greatly to trouble the unsaved about it. They should be told of Paul’s reply to the jailer’s question, what he had to do to be saved: “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.” But those who are saved through faith in Christ may find unspeakable comfort in it.
Let me use an old illustration. We often speak of the house of salvation. Among other things a house has a foundation and a door. Of this house election is the foundation, Christ is the door. Those who are still without should be pointed to the door. Surely, it is well when describing the house to them in the invitation to enter, also to call their attention to the strength of its foundation. Yet they should be told not to attempt to enter in by way of the foundation, but through the door. But once they are inside, what comfort, what peace, what joy, may they not derive from the knowledge that the house of their salvation stands absolutely secure on the unmoveable foundation of God’s eternal decree! “The foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal: the Lord knoweth them that are his.” He has known them from eternity. (103)
I appreciate Kuiper’s approach here. This book was written in 1926. Later on, in 1961, Kuiper would go on to write an excellent book on evangelism, God-Centered Evangelism. It’s a classic in the field. The illustration given above comes back in chapter 3 of that book with some further explanation and refinement.
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