Follow the Author
Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God (Ivp Classics) Paperback – December 2, 2008
|New from||Used from|
Explore your book, then jump right back to where you left off with Page Flip.
View high quality images that let you zoom in to take a closer look.
Enjoy features only possible in digital – start reading right away, carry your library with you, adjust the font, create shareable notes and highlights, and more.
Discover additional details about the events, people, and places in your book, with Wikipedia integration.
From the brand
"I've often recommended this book to faithful Christians who are confused about how they are to think about prayer, missions, giving--any area in which our efforts could be wrongly pitted against God's own necessary action. Packer introduces us to clear truths, handles Scripture with exemplary care, and supplies us with just the right amount of illustrations and application." (From the foreword by Mark Dever, Senior Pastor, Capitol Hill Baptist Church, Washington, D.C.)
- Publisher : IVP Books (December 2, 2008)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 136 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0830834125
- ISBN-13 : 978-0830834129
- Item Weight : 4 ounces
- Dimensions : 4.25 x 0.5 x 7 inches
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
Reviews with images
Top reviews from the United States
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
As far as the content of the book, it's a must-read for every Christian in my opinion! Packer categorizes the relationship between God's call for all Christians to evangelize their neighbors and His complete sovereignty over all aspects of salvation as an "antinomy". Read to find out more!
Packer's objective in writing this book: "The aim of the discourse is to dispel the suspicion...that faith in the absolute sovereignty of God hinders a full recognition and acceptance of evangelistic responsibility, and to show that, on the contrary, only this faith can give Christians the strength that they need to fulfill their evangelistic task." (page 8)
How should we view evangelism in light of God's sovereignty?
- Recognize that we are not responsible for the securing of converts. Only God can accomplish this. "Only by letting our knowledge of God's sovereignty control the way in which we plan and pray, and work in His service, can we avoid becoming guilty in the fault [of thinking we are the agents of the new birth]." (page 29)
- View divine sovereignty and human sovereignty as working together. We may not understand, but our lack of understanding makes neither any less true. We should not "over-simplify the Bible by cutting out the mysteries..." or "subject scripture to the supposed demands of human logic." (page 16)
-- Christ both came to specifically save those whom the Father had given Him, but also offers Himself freely to all men as Savior, and guarantees to bring to glory everyone who trusts in Him as such (John 6:8) (page 102-103)
- Do not define evangelism in terms of achieved results. Instead, it is the faithful preaching of the Gospel. The results are God's responsibility (page 41). We are steward's of the message (page 42)
- Understand that evangelism is not just a matter of informing sinners, but also inviting them. It is an attempt to gain, win, or catch our fellow man for Christ (as fishermen's work) (page 50).
- Present the Gospel as a summoning for faith and repentance. It is a Command by God to repent and believe the Gospel (Acts 17:30) (page 70). Our goal in presenting the Gospel is "to lead sinners to abandon all confidence in themselves and to trust wholly in Christ and the power of His redeeming blood to give them acceptance with God." (page 71)
- In sharing the Gospel, we should "ask for grace to be truly ashamed of ourselves, and to pray that we may so overflow in love to God that we shall overflow in love to our fellow-men, and so find it an easy and natural and joyful thing to share with them the good news of Christ." (page 78)
- Test new "methods" of evangelism by this: will it in fact serve the word? Does it clarify the meaning of the message? Or rather, does it overlay and obscure the realities of the message, or blunt the edge of the application? (more tests of methods on page 87-90)
This week, I was discussing the reality of God's sovereignty with a man who had left our church fellowship over this issue. Among other arguments, he expressed that a complete acceptance of God's sovereignty in salvation would diminish the need to evangelize. Oh, how I wish I could convince this man otherwise! As this book so persuasively argues, faithful, Biblical evangelism is nothing but buttressed by a complete acceptance of our God's sovereign hand.
In his book, Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God, J. I. Packer addresses the question: “if God is in control, why should we do anything at all?” (8) Packer answers the question by first observing that the apparent contradiction between divine sovereignty and human response is just that “an appearance of contradiction” (24), not a real contradiction, which arises because God is both king and judge (27). As king, God makes the rules; as judge, he holds us accountable. Packer writes:
“What the objector has to learn is that he, a creature and a sinner, has no right whatsoever to find fault with the revealed ways of God. Creatures are not entitled to register complaints about their Creator.” (28)
Because we are created by God as moral agents, we must not be tempted neither to believe that we alone are responsible for the Gospel’s effectiveness nor that God will sovereignly bring the Gospel to everyone on his own (30-40).
Packer sees evangelism as “to present Christ Jesus to sinful men in order that, through the power of the Holy Spirit, they may come” (44) to him in faith and as having only two motives—the love of God and the love of mankind (74).
The presentation of the Gospel message, according to Packer, has 4 parts: it is a message about God, sin, Christ, and a summons to faith and repentance (60-71). Of course, the details here matter. For example, Packer see the true conviction of sin as having 3 aspects:
1. Awareness of a wrong relationship with God;
2. Conviction of sins always includes conviction of particular sins.
3. Awareness of our sinfulness—complete corruption and perversity in God’s sight. (64-65)
Another obvious detail is that the person of Christ and his divine work should not be separated (66-67).
At the time of publication, J.I. Packer was a professor of Theology at Regent College in Vancouver, British Columbia (Canada) and is best known for his book, Knowing God. Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God is written in 4 chapters:
1. Divine Sovereignty.
2. Divine Sovereignty and Human Responsibility.
4. Divine Sovereignty and Evangelism.
These chapters are preceded by a foreword, preface, and introduction.
One of the more memorable points that Packer makes, is also one of his first:
“…what we do every time we pray is to confess our own impotence and God’s sovereignty. The very fact that a Christian prays is thus proof positive that he believes in the lordship of his God” (16).
Yes, yes, yes! Unfortunately, not everyone prays and prayer can be difficult in the absence of a clear theology to lead us. In a period of spiritual lethargy, when theology is held in contempt, this can clearly be a challenge.
As here in Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God, J.I. Packer is distinguished by his clear exposition of biblical truth. Oftentimes, his clarity makes the Gospel seem simpler than the many theological controversies would lead us to believe—thank goodness.
Packer, J.I. 1993. Knowing God. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press.
Top reviews from other countries
Packer takes the reader through issues such as sin, repentance and faith, showing that faith is a commitment to a new life, not just a mental assent. In the last third of the book he explores the significance of God's sovereignty to evangelism: how it does not remove human responsibility or the need for a personal response. He makes it clear that our only hope in evangelism is, in fact, the sovereignty of God, as is the security of the believer. In short that not only is there no conflict between evangelism and God's sovereignty, but that one cannot function without the other. God calls on all to repent and believe, and those who respond in faith are justified. The response is itself evidence of the sovereign call of God, and that call is expressed through evangelism.
This is a beautifully prepared and written book, very clear to follow and Biblically grounded. For anyone involved in telling others the Christian gospel it has very important things to say, and for the person exploring Christianity it is enlightening. Highly recommended.
this writer. It shows how the truth of Election is an encouragement
to evangelists and evangelising people that their work is not in vain.