One major critique I’ve received of reformed theology is that is does not foster a desire to evangelize. Is this true? Not at all. It is a straw man argument people make who are opposed to thinking hard about the deep things of God.
In Acts 18:9 God tells Paul, “Do not be afraid, but go on speaking and do not be silent.” This is understandable taking into account the trip Paul just took. He is in Corinth after just leaving Athens, and he’s had a rough go the past half-year or so. Many people have come to Christ, churches are being planted, but Paul is clearly discouraged and afraid to continue speaking because this is precisely how God encourages him to keep going in 18:9. Why would God have said these things if Paul really wasn’t feeling these things?
Most people stop here and do not continue further, merely stating that God encouraged Paul to keep sharing the gospel, keep preaching, and they move on. But DO NOT miss 18:10. In it God continues this encouragement to Paul, “…for I am with you, and no one will attack you to harm you, for I have many in this city who are my people.” The proper response to this is “What?” Not many people have come to faith in Jesus, yet God encourages Paul to keep going spreading the gospel by telling him that He has many in Corinth who are His people? Either God doesn’t know that lack of success Paul has had, or He has another purpose in this statement than usually taught.
What is happening here? God is using the doctrine of election to produce evangelism in Paul.
You see it? Not many have come to faith. Yet God says He has “many in this city who are His people.” God is telling Paul that many of the elect sons and daughters of the King of Kings are residing in Corinth, and they have not come to faith yet. How will they come to faith? Through the gospel being proclaimed to them in the power of the Holy Spirit. This is why Paul tells young Timothy in 2 Tim. 2:10 that he “endured everything for the sake of the elect, that they may obtain the salvation that is in Christ with eternal glory.”
You see, election ought to produce evangelism in us. If it doesn’t, we either have a cold heart toward the lost, or do not understand election.