book review: evangelism and the sovereignty of god

You may be thinking, “Wait! This is an old book! Why are you just now reviewing this?” Well, you are right. This is a title that base been available for a long time. However, IVP just released a new version that includes a foreword by Mark Dever. So, I thought I’d revisit a classic text that has some fresh trappings. 

The single biggest dividing point (at least in the baptist world) regarding Reformed versus Arminian theology has to do with evangelism. The assumption on the part of some is that Reformed Christians cannot hold to absolute sovereignty and the need to fulfill the Great Commission. J.I. Packer wrote Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God to address this very issue.

This is a small book. Most readers should be able to read through it in one or two sittings. Yet, the content within this little book is incredibly important. Packer rightly defines what the Scriptures teach regarding the sovereignty of God. Further, Packer dispels the false assumptions many have regarding the Reformed understanding of sovereignty. Additionally, Packer defines what the biblical content of Gospel truly is in relation to the practice of evangelism.

Packer also demonstrates that most Christians have the two major motivating factors for evangelism out-of-order and therefore create false dichotomies in understanding sovereignty. The last item worth noting made me chuckle when I read it (in a good way). In a straightforward manner, Packer demonstrates that all orthodox Christians hold to absolute sovereignty. So, the issue isn’t sovereignty, it is consciously and consistently acknowledging sovereignty in one’s theology.

Much more could be said (and has been by others) about Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God. However, I will end by simply saying this: Every Christian needs to read this book!  It is short, easy to read and very helpful…so there is no excuse not to put this on your March reading list!

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