February 27, 2006
Dear Lig, great post! I love that excerpt of Packer, but that leaves me with a question. So why are Calvinists considered such poor evangelists? Do the statistics of the PCA’s growth that I have read suggest that Reformed types are better evangelists? In the Southern Baptist Convention, we’re always having to defend the idea that we can believe that Romans 9 has to do with individual salvation, and that Romans 10 still weighs on our hearts and minds and calls us to obedience. But in a more Reformed denomination like the PCA, do you actually think that Calvinists are better evangelists?
I think of the kind of denominational statistics we see, like in Dave Shiflett’s book Exodus (that Al was interviewed in) from last year. Shiflett cites the following statistics of church membership from the last 10 years:
14.8% decline in the United Church of Christ
11.6% decline in the PCUSA
6.7% decline in the United Methodist Church
5.7% decline in the American Baptist Churches
5.3% decline in the Episcopal Church
5% growth in the Southern Baptist Convention
18.5% growth in the Assemblies of God
21.8% growth in the Christian and Missionary Alliance
40.2% growth in the Church of God
42.4% growth in the PCA
57.2% growth in the Evangelical Free Churches
In light of your post on not losing a grip on the gospel, would you suggest that Calvinists are better evangelists? Is that what these statistics suggest? To what do you attribute the PCA’s much more rapid growth?