Packer on Calvinist Evangelism

J.I. Packer assesses the Calvinist mindset:

What Calvinists have practised in the past and seek to re-establish in the present is a type of evangelism which does justice to the truths that God himself is the true evangelist, that it is he who brings souls to new birth, that the local churches are the basic evangelizing units, that evangelism must be fully integrated into local church life, and that evangelistic practice must be reverent, worshipful, and worthy of God.

It is difficult to find a more pithy statement of the issues appropriate to the Calvinist-Arminian divide today. There is only one problem. Packer wrote this in 1966. It appeared in an article entitled “A Calvinist — and an Evangelist!” in The Hour International (London, August 1966) (reprinted in Serving the People of God: The Collected Shorter Writings of J.I. Packer (Paternoster 1988)).

Forty-six years ago Packer saw the caricature of Calvinism as anti-evangelistic, and sought to correct the error in part by cataloguing the numerous stalwarts of evangelistic practice who also happened to be Calvinist. Or, as Packer proposes, by citing men who were ardently evangelistic because they were Calvinists.

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