Friday, August 23, 2013

The Shepherd's Call: Election as Motivation in Evangelism

John Piper wrote a book on missions called Let the Nations Be Glad: the Supremacy of God in Missions.  In it, he says that the doctrine of election (predestination) should be a comfort to those laboring for the sake of the gospel in the mission field.  He references John 10:16 in support.  In John 10, Jesus calls himself the Good Shepherd.  Like a good shepherd he guards the door of the sheep.  He protects His sheep, he cares for His sheep, and He would ultimately sacrifice himself for His sheep.  But in v. 16 Jesus says that His fold is not yet complete.  John 10:16 says, But I have other sheep that are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice.  Then there will be one flock, one shepherd".

The doctrine of election should be a comfort to us as we share the gospel because it assures us that our work will not be fruitless.  Many see the doctrine of election as a hindrance to evangelism.  They may ask, "If God has already chosen his sheep, then why evangelize?  What is the point?"  Jesus answers this in John 10 by saying that even though those sheep are His, they have strayed.  They need to hear his voice, the gospel. The gospel is the means by which God calls His lost sheep.  The gospel is His  voice, and His sheep recognize it.  Romans 10:14 says, "But how can they call on Him they have not believed in?  And how can they believe without hearing about Him?".  Yes, the lost are called to respond to the gospel with faith and repentance, but salvation is ultimately God's work.  He sends us on a rescue mission for His sheep.  His sheep!  So the doctrine of election should convince us of the urgency of evangelism and give us comfort as we share with the lost.  It is urgent because God has lost sheep everywhere.  It is urgent because we don't know where or who they are.  It is urgent because they must hear!  But we can take comfort that all His sheep will hear, and they will recognize His voice.

I know not all will agree with me about election, and that is fine.  It is just that I am convinced by Scripture of the validity of this doctrine.  You can disagree with me about election and still be a partner with me in evangelism.  I welcome friendly discussion and exhortation.

Occasionally I write poetry.  I don't really ever share it because it can be quite personal.  So I guess I am making myself a little vulnerable in putting this out there, but John 10 inspired the below poem.

NOTE:  The rhythm and rhyme of the poem will not make sense unless you pause after the 1st and 3rd lines of each stanza.  Lines 2 and 3 should be read without pausing.  I am not an expert in poetic rhyme, but I do my best!  :)

The Shepherd's Call

Wandering lost without a fold;
Your sheep are scattered in the world.
But because You have declared them Yours;
You command Your Church to go.

Your Word, the Light, exposes darkness;
It causes every hellish foe to flee.
Your Gospel beckons to the perishing;
Turn to You, the Shepherd of their souls

They hear Your voice and know it well.
Their Master has come to their rescue;
With joy they will call out to You;
You will redeem them from their fall.

Lord, Your fold is scattered everywhere;
Send us where they may be found.
Your Gospel is such a  beautiful sound;
To sheep in need of their Shepherd's call.


Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers.  Used by permission.  Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Holman CSB®, and HCSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.

Piper, John.  Let the Nations Be Glad:  The Supremacy of God in Missions.  (Baker Academic: Grand Rapids, 2010)


  1. The question remains: If God has elected whom he will save, why would a Calvinist feel "urgency" to preach? Can you help me understand?

  2. The question remains: If God has elected whom he will save, why would a Calvinist feel "urgency" to preach? Can you help me understand?