John Calvin on Evangelism

Part 2 of a 4 part series. View series intro and index.


In his sermon on 1 Timothy 2, Calvin showed that, though he believed in the sovereign election of God, he also believed that all men were loved by God and it that it was the duty of Christians to spread the gospel to them.

Although we see a great diversity among men, yet we must not forget that God hath made us all in His own image and likeness, and that we are the workmanship of His hand; therefore He extends His goodness to those who are afar off, of which we have had sufficient proof: for when He drew us unto Him, were we not His enemies?…we must labor as much as possible to draw those to salvation who seem to be afar off. And above all things, let us pray to God for them, waiting patiently till it please Him to show His good will toward them, as He hath shown it to us.

Again, in another sermon on 1 Timothy 2, Calvin said, “God wants his grace to be known to all the world.  He has commanded his gospel be preached to all creatures.  We must, as we are able, seek the salvation of those who are today strangers to the faith, who seem completely deprived of God’s goodness.”

And in his sermon on Acts 2, Calvin asked, “Why did the Spirit come down at Pentecost?  It was for the gospel to reach all the ends and extremities of the world.”

Calvin believed, not in a God who hates the world, but in a God who loves the world and calls Christians to love nonbelievers, pray for them, and share the goodness of God with them.  Calvin had a global vision of the gospel, believing that God’s design was to reach all people and not just a few.


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