If God is in control of everything, can Christians sit back and not bother to evangelize? Or does active evangelism imply that God is not really sovereign at all?
J. I. Packer shows in this new edition to the popular IVP Classics how both of these attitudes are false. In a careful review of the biblical evidence, he shows how a right understanding of God's sovereignty is not so much a barrier to evangelism as an incentive and powerful support for it.
With over 100,000 copies in print, Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God is truly a classic that should be read by every Christian.
“There is a second way in which you acknowledge that God is sovereign in salvation. You pray for the conversion of others.” (Page 21)
“For it is not true that some Christians believe in divine sovereignty while others hold an opposite view. What is true is that all Christians believe in divine sovereignty, but some are not aware that they do, and mistakenly imagine and insist that they reject it.” (Page 22)
“Our evangelistic work is the instrument that he uses for this purpose, but the power that saves is not in the instrument: it is in the hand of the One who uses the instrument. We must not at any stage forget that.” (Pages 34–35)
“It is a piece of biblical and theological reasoning, designed to clarify the relationship between three realities: God’s sovereignty, man’s responsibility and the Christian’s evangelistic duty.” (Page 12)
“First, we must admit that we were silly ever to think that any evangelistic technique, however skillful, could of itself guarantee conversions; second, we must recognize that, because man’s heart is impervious to the Word of God, it is no cause for surprise if at any time our evangelism fails to result in conversions; third, we must remember that the terms of our calling are that we should be faithful, not that we should be successful; fourth, we must learn to rest all our hopes of fruit in evangelism on the omnipotent grace of God.” (Page 122)
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.
Whether you consider yourself a Calvinist, an Arminian, or somewhere in between, Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God will stimulate your thinking about evangelism and increase your desire to join God in his work. It is easy to see why InterVarsity Press has republished this book as one of its "IVP Classics.
—Todd Sauve, 1340mag Books (1340magbooks.com), April 2009
A short but exceedingly powerful book. Packer shows that rather than precluding evangelism, God's sovereignty provides the most powerful incentive and support for it. . . . [C]ontains impressive depth and contains a thorough and satisfying treatment of the subject.
J. I. Packer (1926–2020) is regarded as one of the most influential evangelicals in North America. He was Board of Governors’ Professor of Theology at Regent College in Vancouver, British Columbia, and his writings include books such as Knowing God, A Quest for Godliness, Growing in Christ (Crossway) and Rediscovering Holiness. He preached and lectured widely in Great Britain and North America and served as general editor of the English Standard Version of the Bible published in 2001, and theological editor of the Study Bible version. In 2014, Packer was named Author of the Year by the Association of Logos Bookstores. He was a frequent contributor to and an executive editor of Christianity Today and wrote numerous articles published in journals such as Churchman, SouthWestern Journal, Reformation Revival Journal and Touchstone. He received a BA, MA and PhD from Oxford University.