Election and Evangelism (Bucer)

Concerning the True Care of Souls Bucer, Martin cover image Some people say that the doctrine of election is a hindrance to evangelism.  I do admit that a hyper-calvinist view of election is a hindrance to evangelism.  However, a historic Reformed, biblical view of election does not get in the way of evangelism at all.  Martin Bucer (d. 1551) put it quite well when he was explaining the evangelistic side of the pastoral ministry:

…Sadly, however, not all are chosen by God and there are many who despise the salvation which the Lord offers them: this is shown in the parable quoted above [from Luke 14], where none of those who had been invited would get a taste of the Lord’s banquet.  But it is not the Lord’s will to reveal to us the secrets of his election; rather he commands us to go out into all the world and preach his gospel to every creature.  He says: ‘into all the world’ and ‘to every creature.’  The fact that all people have been made by God and are God’s creatures should therefore be reason enough to go to them, seeking with the utmost faithfulness to bring them to eternal life.

That is why the Lord has expressed it in general terms: ‘to every creature.’  He does not want to be invited to his banquet only those who show themselves to be citizens and inhabitants of his city, but he tells his servant: ‘Go out into the streets and alleys and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame.’  And again: ‘Go out to the roads and country lanes and make them come in.’  From this the Lord teaches us that his ministers are simply to endeavor to lead to his church and to the perfect fellowship of his salvation all those who wish to come, no matter how wretched and corrupted they may be – indeed, not only to lead but urge and compel them.

Martin Bucer, Concerning the True Care of Souls, p. 77

Shane Lems
Covenant Presbyterian Church (OPC)
Hammond, WI, 54015