In a guest post at the blog of Kevin DeYoung (July 3, 2013), Jason Helopoulos asks and answers the question: Does Calvinism Kill Missions?
It is often asserted that Calvinism creates a barrier to evangelism and missions. The accusation usually comes in the form of questions. How could those who believe the Scriptures teach predestination and election truly have a heart for missions? If God has determined who shall be saved, why would there be any need to engage in evangelism or missions? And yet, we can safely say that this is an argument lacking historical proof (and theological basis).
It must be acknowledged that Calvinists have not only robustly encouraged, engaged, and propagated missions, but have led some of the great mission’s and evangelistic movements in the history of the church. Even a cursory glance at the history of missions and missionaries produces a hall of fame filled with Calvinists. It could rightly be argued that Calvinism is not only not a barrier to missions and evangelism, but has actually proven to be a spur to missions and evangelism. In fact, it has often been the driving force in missions. This is just a sampling of the history of missions and some notable Calvinists, who have led the way into foreign fields. One doesn’t have to be a thorough going Calvinist to be struck by the impact of Calvinism upon missions.
• John Calvin: Calvin sent missionaries from Geneva into France and as far away as Brazil. Most of these young men sent to France died a martyr’s death, but the church of Geneva continued to send them.
• John Eliot: A missionary sent to the American Indians in the 1600′s. He is believed to be the first missionary among this people group. As many have said, if William Carey is the father of the modern mission’s movement, then John Eliot is its grandfather.
• David Brainerd: A missionary to the American Indians i