The original question posed here is since we are predestined to be Christians, why is so much emphasis put on evangelism instead of discipleship? In order to answer this question, we need to first look at the first part of the question, and view what the Biblical concept is of predestination vs free-will. This is a question that has been debated and discussed at length throughout the generations, so we are going to look at the different views that are held, as well as Scripture that those views use to support that view as well as Scripture that is used to oppose that view.
View #1: God is the Master Puppeteer
This is the view that God is in heaven and He is pulling every single string. This is the complete view of predestination. That every thought we have, every action we make, has already been decided for us and we have no choice or free-will in life.
View #2: God chooses to save certain people (elect)
This is one of the five points of Calvinism, Unconditional Election, which means that God will save whoever He wants to save, regardless of who they are or what they do.
View #3: God chooses everyone, but we must also choose Him
This is the view that God has a desire that everyone be saved, but that in order to be saved we must also “choose” Him by receiving His gift of salvation through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
View #4: God takes a hands off approach, living in heaven just watching us on television
So the question might remain, which view is correct? The answer is that God knows, and we can trust in Him. The personal belief of myself is that there is Biblical evidence that supports free will, us having a choice, but at the same time we see that God is at work and has specific calls for specific people. There is a mystery in it, and Scripture supports that we may not always know the answers to these questions.
It is possible that after reading those passages, you land in one of those views specifically. That’s ok, because what we also see in God’s Word is the answer to the second part of the question, why do we focus on evangelism instead of only discipleship? The answer is because God has commanded us to “go” out into the world (evangelism) and “make disciples” (discipleship).
Jesus even shares a parable about sending out the harvesters into the harvest.
Paul tells us that he was sent to preach the Gospel
The church is called to be the light of the world, and to go out and actively play a role in bringing souls to salvation in Jesus Christ. Being the church is not about just coming and sitting on a pew, but about actively obeying the commands of Christ.
So we are commanded to go and preach the Gospel, but it isn’t just about filling empty chairs or converting people to a belief in God, it’s about filling empty hearts with God, making disciples of Christ.
Disciple: a follower of someone. The disciples of Jesus gave up everything to follow their teacher
The emphasis should never be on one of these aspects over the other, the church is called to do both.
We are called to live life with others, pointing them towards Jesus.
So back to the question, are we predestined or do we have free-will? Both, because the Bible discusses both, and it is wrapped up in the mystery of God. Should we focus on evangelism or discipleship? Both, because the Bible commands us to do both. To evangelize is to disciple someone, and to disciple someone is to evangelize. They are one and the same thing, we cannot do one without involving the other.
Here are 5 steps to evangelize and disciple someone.