Thursday, June 19, 2008

Predestination and Preaching

So what is the big deal about Predestination and Preaching? If people are predestined, why should we preach? Why should evangelism be needed, at all?

I revisited something similar with my baby this week. I am so excited that she is going to become an intern with the Reformed University Ministries.

She is doing what is called itineration, going from place to place, teaching people about what she is expecting the spirit to do with her in the coming year. I and several other family members have been lining up opportunities for her and barraging her with names of individuals and churches she should contact.

One of the results of itineration is that some people's hearts will have been prepared by God to hear her message and they will be moved to offer financial and prayer support for her.

The situation promotes an existential crisis, because she knows that God can gather her support without any means, whatever. He can move a person with $10,000 to walk up to her and say that the spirit moved him to give this money for her support without her ever saying anything. And she is hesitant to manipulate people or play the "numbers game," i.e., talking to as many people as possible until the magic number of support has been reached. She wants to trust the Lord, but her family keeps calling with more names for her to contact.

Go back to the original title. If predestination is true, a preacher can be in this same quandary. Why should he preach, if the Lord has predestined who will come to himself and has the power to miraculously move hearts? Why should he preach an evangelistic message at all? Why not be content just to equip the saints?

The answer is that God uses the foolishness of preaching to bring the elect to himself. Preaching the good news is the means God uses to save his elect. See the sequence in Roman 10. Preachers and preaching are listed as links in the chain that leads to salvation. God has in his infinite wisdom chosen to use people sharing the gospel to be the means of bringing the elect to himself.

It is a matter of obedience. If God says, "preach the gospel," we must preach the gospel. Some of the elect might well be in today's audience. That is God's business. Ours is to preach the gospel to all.

If RUF has chosen the means of itineration to raise support for its staff members, they should, in like manner, tell everyone their story. God has been preparing some of them to hear the message and their hearts will be touched by that sharing.

One of the Chinese students who heard her message told her, "You are so brave." That was interesting to me. My heart was not prepared to see this step in her life as bravery. But I understood what he was saying. His heart was prepared for that.

We may never know which conversation the Lord used to touch someone. But the Lord knows, and he uses every word for his own predestined purposes.

Keep sharing the good news!

No comments: