Calvinism; Hyper-Calvinism and Arminianism
A Sermon on Calvinism and Evangelism
What is the responsibility of evangelism? In this sermon titled “Calvinism, Hyper-Calvinism, and Arminianism,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones distinguishes between the three from a biblical perspective in regards to evangelism. There is a great confusion today between mere activity and real spiritual work. People are always impressed by activity, but this is often carnal zeal and activism. What is “prayer-backing”? Do Calvinists need to be reminded of the responsibility of evangelism in ministry? What is the right motive for evangelism? Learn of the history of Calvinism and the over-correction that often results. Hyper-Calvinists press logic so far that they do not give the free offer of salvation to others. Hear of election, predestination, and human responsibility, and of the biblical truths that cannot be logically reconciled. God alone is responsible for salvation, while humanity alone is responsible for damnation. Listen as Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones argues that a person ought to be a great Calvinist who preaches like an Arminian. Evangelism is the result of a great urge, not mere duty; it is an inevitable fruit, not something to be added. How did Christianity spread before the printing press? Look to God for help, rather than oneself; be filled with the glory of God, rather than statistics and organizations. Stand humbled before God.
- Dr. Lloyd-Jones begins by explaining that he does not like the term "responsibility of evangelism" because it suggests duty. He believes evangelism should arise inevitably from within.
- He contrasts the Armenian view of evangelism as an outward duty with the Calvinist view of evangelism arising organically from within. The Calvinist view sees evangelism as the inevitable fruit of the Spirit's work.
- He acknowledges that Calvinists can appear less interested in evangelism, especially new converts reacting against their former Armenianism. But this is a misperception. True Calvinism leads inevitably to evangelism.
- He argues that the outward zeal and activity of Armenians can be misleading. Their evangelism is often superficial, focused on decisions and numbers, not true conversion. The zeal of cults is similar. True zeal arises from seeing people's spiritual need.
- He warns against a "theoretical Calvinism" that is merely logical and not animated by the Spirit. Calvinism should never lead to dull, lifeless preaching.
- He argues that Scripture clearly teaches both divine sovereignty and human responsibility. We must hold both in tension, not favoring one over the other. Hyper-Calvinism denies human responsibility.
- He illustrates how both Peter and Paul preached by commanding sinners to repent while also affirming God's sovereignty. We must do the same.
- He shows how the great evangelists of the past, like Whitefield and the Puritans, were Calvinists who preached out of a deep sense of God's glory and human need. Their Calvinism fueled their evangelism.
- He calls for a fresh outpouring of the Spirit to revive the church and fuel a new zeal for evangelism. Mere organization and human effort are not enough. We need revival.
- He concludes with a prayer for God to pour out His Spirit, revive the church, and use them powerfully for evangelism.
Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones
Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899-1981) was a Welsh evangelical minister who preached and taught in the Reformed tradition. His principal ministry was at Westminster Chapel, in central London, from 1939-1968, where he delivered multi-year expositions on books of the bible such as Romans, Ephesians and the Gospel of John. In addition to the MLJ Trust’s collection of 1,600 of these sermons in audio format, most of these great sermon series are available in book form (including a 14 volume collection of the Romans sermons), as are other series such as "Spiritual Depression", "Studies in the Sermon on the Mount" and "Great Biblical Doctrines". He is considered by many evangelical leaders today to be an authority on biblical truth and the sufficiency of Scripture.