Book Review : Evangelism & the Sovereignty of God
J.I. Packer wrote Evangelism & the Sovereignty of God (Inter-Varsity) in 1961 to address the questions, if God is sovereign why bother to evangelise? Or does man’s free choice mean God is not sovereign? Though much time has past the questions still get raised today which is reflected by the decision to republish the book.
Packer does a great job in addressing these issues in a clear and straightforward way. He comes to the conclusion that yes, God is sovereign and yes, we do not a responsibility to evangelise. Packer uses the example of prayer to show how in reality we all believe in God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility. We all pray that people’s hearts will be soften, that their eyes will be opened, and that they will come to Christ, believing that God is able to answer our prayers. The Bible is also clear that it is “whosoever” believes who is saved. We are never told if “the elect” believe they will be saved. Therefore it is our responsibility to preach the gospel to the ends of the world, using the best methods we know to do this – mostly by loving our neighbours and doing them good. However it is not our responsibility to make people believe. The choice is theirs.
Packer makes the point that God is both King and Judge. We can trust God’s character to know he will do both well.