How Should Calvinists Plead?

screen-shot-2017-02-12-at-2-47-12-pmIf you want your son to be a great evangelist, give him the sermons of eminent preachers like Jonathan Edwards, John Paton, John Knox, John MacArthur, John Chrysostom, John Bunyan, John Piper, John Calvin, John Wycliffe, and John Hus.

Also, name him John.

Breaking the mold is George Whitefield, probably the greatest evangelist since the Apostle Paul. His sermons on both sides of the Atlantic are estimated at 30,000. God used Whitfield during the Great Awakening to bring about one of the greatest revivals in the history of the church.

He wasn’t just a Calvinist, he was a high Calvinist. He held the doctrines of grace to the highest degree, including the doctrine of reprobation. “I have never read Calvin,” he said. “My Calvinism comes from Jesus himself.” Elsewhere he remarked: “We are all born Arminians and it is grace that makes us Calvinists.”

If you read only one sermon of Whitefield’s, make it “The Conversion of Zaccheus.” Here we see why consistent Calvinists make the greatest evangelists. He did not merely preach, he pled:

Make haste, O sinners, make haste, and come by faith to Christ. Then, this day, even this hour, nay, this moment, if you believe, Jesus Christ shall come and make his eternal abode in your hearts.

Today’s preachers would do well to import some of Whitefield’s terminology in their calls to the unconverted. Notice below how he weaves God’s sovereignty within his entreaties for sinners to repent. Here are seven snippets of gospel invitations:

  1. “How know you, whether Jesus Christ may ever call you again?”
  2. “You are lost, undone, without him; and if he is not glorified in your salvation, he will be glorified in your destruction.”
  3. “Were you ever made willing to own, and humble yourselves for, your past offenses?”
  4. “O that he may call you by his Spirit, and make you a willing people in this day of his power! For I know my call will not do, unless he, by his efficacious grace, compel you to come in.”
  5. “You do not love Christ, because you do not know him; you do not come to him, because you do not feel your want of him.”
  6. “Cry out, ‘Lord…draw me, Lord, make me willing to come after thee; I am lost; Lord, save me, or I perish!'”
  7. “Make haste therefore, make haste, O ye publicans and sinners, and give the dear Lord Jesus your hearts, your whole hearts. If you refuse to hearken to this call of the Lord, remember your damnation will be just.”
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One thought on “How Should Calvinists Plead?

  1. And what about Richard Baxter?

    “He seeth how bold you are in sin, and how fearless threatnings, and how careless of your souls, and how the works of infidels are in your lives, while the belief of Christians is in your mouths. He seeth the dreadful day at hand, when your sorrows will begin, and you must lament all this with fruitless cries in torment and desperation; and then the remembrance of your folly will tear your hearts, if true conversion now prevent it not. In compassion of your sinful miserable souls, the Lord, that better knows your case than you can know it, hath made it our duty to speak to you in his name, 2 Cor. v. 19. and to tell you plainly of your sin and misery, and what will be your end, and how sad a change you will shortly see, if yet you go on a little longer. …

    He seeth and pitieth you, while you are drowned in worldly cares and pleasures, and eagerly following childish toys, and wasting that short and precious time for a thing of nought, in which you should make ready for an everlasting life; and therefore he high commanded us to call after you, and tell you how you lose your labour, and are about to lose your souls, and to tell you what greater and better things you might certainly have, if you would hearken to his Call, Isa. lv. 1, 2, 3.”

    Call to the Unconverted, page 1.

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