Frequent commenter Steve L. posted this great short article by James M. Boice. Steve on our Hope Chapel Ministry Institute blog and suggested I post it here as well. Some may object that this is too controversial…
Election encourages us in our evangelism. People suppose that if God is going to save certain individuals, then he will save them, and there is no point in our having anything to do with it. But it does not work that way. Election does not exclude the use of the means by which God works, and the proclamation of the gospel is one of those means (1 Cor. 1:21).
Moreover, it is only the truth of election that gives us any hope of success as we proclaim the gospel to unsaved men and women. If the heart of a sinner is as opposed to God as the Bible declares it to be, and if God does not elect people to salvation, then what hope of success could we possibly have in witnessing? If God does not call sinners to Christ effectively, it is certain that we cannot do so either. Even more, if the effective agent in salvation is not God’s choice and call–if the choice is up to the individual or to us, because of our powers to persuade others to accept Christ–how could we even dare to witness? For what if we make a mistake? What if we give a wrong answer? What if we are insensitive to the person’s real questions? In that case, people will fail to believe. They may eventually go to hell, and their eternal destiny will be partly our fault, and how could any thinking, feeling Christian live with that?
But on the other hand, if God has elected some to salvation and if he is calling those elected individuals to Christ, then we can go forth boldly, knowing that our witness does not have to be perfect, that God uses even weak and stuttering testimonies to his grace and, best of all, that all whom God has chosen for salvation will be saved. We can be fearless, knowing that all who are called by God will come to him.
—from The Doctrines of Grace: Rediscovering the Essentials of Evangelicalism