Tuesday, June 27, 2006
Dever Defines Evangelism

Mark Dever recently defined evangelism in a most helpful and biblical way as he preached from Romans chapters 9 and 10. [See Baptist Press coverage here.]

As Dr. Dever stressed:

“We don’t fail in our evangelism if we tell them the Gospel and they fail to be converted; we fail if we do not faithfully tell them the Gospel at all times. We know that we are called to tell them and so we do and we trust God with the results.”


Dever encouraged Christians to be patient in their evangelism because it is rare one is converted the first time he or she hears the Gospel. No sinner is beyond God’s grace until he is in the grave, Dever said. Both church history and the Bible are filled with examples of conversions that came after one had rejected God for decades, he added.

Fourth century church father Augustine of Hippo was converted after his mother prayed for him for nearly three decades, and the Apostle Paul was saved after many years of persecuting Christians and attempting to destroy the faith, Dever pointed out. God’s sovereign saving grace always provides hope, he said.

Ultimately, Dever said, the doctrine of election teaches Christians that the Holy Spirit of God persuades sinners to flee to Christ. Consequently, evangelists are relieved of the pressures to give a perfect Gospel presentation and it should keep them from seeking to manipulate someone to follow Christ, he said.

When Paul became discouraged while in Corinth, God appeared to him in a dream as recorded in Acts 18 and encouraged him, telling the apostle, “I have many people in this city,” Dever said. In the same way, election should encourage all Christians fervently to proclaim the Gospel to the lost because God has designed to save sinners through His Word preached by weak human beings, Dever said. The Gospel, he said, provides hope for the salvation of friends who as of now are still lost.

“Friends you have that you think will never be converted will be some of the most splendid trophies of grace you have ever seen,” he said.

This is a wonderful summary of the Gospel imperative and a witness to the power of the Gospel to save.