To share or not to share

Attending a church that preaches Reformed Theology (Calvinism) has really castrated me evangelically.  I mean, they tell us that “really, we can have all the more confidence in our evangelism because we know God has redeemed SOME!”  But that just makes me grind my teeth and wonder, Hmmm, then am I wasting my time with so-and-so?  Because if God hasn’t “chosen” them, they will never come to know Him anyway.  And if He’s already chosen people, He can obviously bring them to Christ without my help.
So, help me with my bad attitude here.  If you have a response to my thoughts that won’t drive me deeper into depression regarding unsaved souls, I’d love to hear it!  I’m not trying to turn this into a theological debate, so I might not even write back to your comments.  I just need answers (and scripture to back them up).

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14 thoughts on “To share or not to share

  1. I dont have answers, but I do understand your frustration. I am of the Catholic background and struggle with being told I will not go to Heaven if I do not go to church every weekend, when I truly feel that God knows He and I have a wonderful relationship that extends beyond the boundaries of those walls. I have friends and family that feel like I am a hypocrit when I talk about all I pray for and all I believe, but then dont spend every weekend in church.

    And then there are those who say they ate Agnostic or Athiest and claim to not believe in anything, yet they “pray” and/or “hope” for things materialistic. It may not be for the right cause or purpose, but they are praying and hoping TO SOMEONE or SOMETHING, so that makes them believers in something right?

    I know I didnt answer your question, but I believe this, stay true to who you are and know that He appreciates all of your hard work and thoughtful prayer and reflection.

  2. Heidi is that you speaking in the post, or have you quoted someone else?

    This is really a tender area and one that would require much prayer and thoughtful examination of scripture. Is that what you’re looking for — the scripture references to help understand this issue?

  3. It was me! I’d love some scripture references, and your prayers on my behalf as I sort through this deeply concerning issue.

    Also, any wisdom from reflection you’ve done on this yourself would be much appreciated, too…

  4. It seems to me that sharing the Gospel is never a waste of time. Even if the person is never going to “get” the Gospel and accept Christ, you have still demonstrated love for that person by sharing the Good News. We are commanded to love our neighbor and reminded that whatever we do to the least, we also do to Christ. What better way to do this than to share God’s love with them? We will never know on this side of heaven who all we have influenced for Christ, or even who has been “chosen”. Why waste an opportunity? If God can use a donkey, then He can use us to cause a person to realize that they have been elected for His Kingdom. I will admit that I’ve struggled with these exact same questions; you’re certainly not alone!

  5. I cannot help you much on this one since I have always leaned more toward Armenianism than Calvinism myself. I do agree with Heather, though. We are not responsible for the outcome of our evangelism. However, we are commanded to be salt and light. We are commanded to share the gospel to all people, and are even told that Christ will not return until all have heard. So I share, and leave the results up to the Holy Spirit. To me, it is a matter of my obedience. But, like you, I don’t understand it all. I have just given up being part of the debating society on this one. I think there are some things about God that I won’t really understand this side of eternity. Because God is so much bigger than anything my brain can comprehend, I am okay with that today!

  6. This is a hard topic, one that I delved into in college. I grew up in a legalistic, Calvinist church that embittered me towards the whole thing. In college I started reading John Piper and searching for answers on my own. My conclusions surprised me, and now they are firmly-held beliefs. I have to say that I hate the legalism that is often attached to Reformed theology, but it doesn’t have to be that way. I try to be a good example of that. Good luck finding answers!

  7. Oh. My. I wish I had answers for you. I am a very heady Christian, thinking REALLY hard about all of it. I understand your frustration.
    Since scripture can be taken to mean different things to different people, that can make it even harder!
    Some things that have made me grit my teeth in the past are things I needed to really sit with and dig into the Bible over. doing reading by writers and theologians about your specific question can often bring a lot of good information. If the research is biblically sound, there are a lot of theologians that have already done the footwork. Praying over what to read might be an idea?
    this is probably very obvious though, so I’ll stop rambling.

    sidenote: Did I find the right Mn mom? are you coming to the TC bloggy get-together? and maybe you recently commented on my blog? Just checking 🙂 Nice to “meet” you!

  8. I grew up in a Calvinist church. I still agree with a lot of the Calvinist theology, but not Predestination. I believe that God created us with a free will. He doesn’t “make” someone accept Jesus as Savior. It’s our choice. He wants every one of His children to be saved. Our Heavenly Father loves each person, enough to die for just me! God is sovereign and he knows our first breath and our last, so he knows who will accept Him as Savior. I just don’t agree that he chooses some and not others.

  9. Oh, I so wish I had wisdom to share with you. I don’t know the answer, but I really like what Heather said above, so I will quote it here:

    “It seems to me that sharing the Gospel is never a waste of time. Even if the person is never going to “get” the Gospel and accept Christ, you have still demonstrated love for that person by sharing the Good News. We are commanded to love our neighbor and reminded that whatever we do to the least, we also do to Christ. What better way to do this than to share God’s love with them? We will never know on this side of heaven who all we have influenced for Christ, or even who has been “chosen”. Why waste an opportunity? If God can use a donkey, then He can use us to cause a person to realize that they have been elected for His Kingdom.”

  10. OK. I can never resist answering a theology question, even though I know I don’t know the answers. My OPINION is that God put everyone on this earth to be saved.
    Every last one of us.
    But, the one and only stipulation is, we have to choose it. It is not that God didn’t ‘save’ that person… that person didn’t choose God. Salvation is a very easy and very important choice, that some just choose to ignore and even mock and degrade.
    You can pray for others-I know I do as I cannot imagine anyone I love perishing for one second in the eternal anguish of hell-but ultimately they will be lead to salvation by making their own personal choice.

    Hope that helps.
    Many blessings-
    Amanda

  11. Interestingly, my husband and I were just discussing this a couple weekends ago (we have a Reformed background too). It’s a concept I find so hard to wrap my mind around it but his explanation is that as much as God doesn’t need our ‘help’ saving people, He has commanded us to share the Gospel and that should be enough to propel us forward.
    Not that that really emboldens me necessarily, but it does make some sense.

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