How to Find the Elect
It is often charged that the doctrine of election stifles the spirit of evangelism. It is claimed, and it has no doubt happened, that some church or missionary board has been frozen in their tracts by the doctrine. They have said, “It is not our work to save the heathen; when God is ready to save the elect He will do it by himself.” So they sat and did nothing. And as a result the doctrine got a bad name. For it is assumed that the lethargy of such men is caused by their belief in election. But is this true? Is it the doctrine or the men who are to blame? Don’t good men sometimes misuse right doctrine? Can it not be that hard-headed, indifferent men twist truth to their advantage?
The elect are in our communitites. We can find them as we pray and go out trusting in the leading of the Spirit and the capability of Providence. An unbeliever will move next door to a real Christian and will find life. A change in working assignments in the shop will place an “empty” soul at the workbench of a “full” soul. Before long both will be full. A casual conversation at the hairdresser’s boutique will result in a thirsty soul finding living water. Unaware of the power controlling him a high school counselor will enroll a young lost girl in a class where she will sit at the desk with a praying Christian. She will find in that friend the Great Friend. Are these coincidences? Not in the opinion of faith. The Father is drawing to himself those whom he has chosen. And a share in the joy is promised to those who pray and lean upon the Spirit. Thereby the chosen in your community will be found.
What Jesus said to Paul in Corinth he says to us: “I have many people in your city. The elect are living up and down these corrupt streets. The apartments condominiums, and homes of your city are inhabited by those who are chosen of God. At this moment you cannot identify them. Not by their address. Not by their style of life or morality. Nor by their pursuit of truth. They seem dead to you. But I have put it into their heart to come; and they will. Just believe and be faithful. See your own helplessness and pray. Let my Spirit guide you to Troas Street; some of the elect live there. You will find another in the jail on Philippi Avenue. They will drive you from that place but in fleeing you will run right into some more of the chosen on Thessalonica Boulevard; just stop at Jason’s place. Again you will flee for your life but you will be extremely fruitful on Noble Place in Berea; don’t miss it.
“The Athens Culture Apartments will be a severe test and not too productive. But I have there one sophisticate, Dionysius, and one woman, Damaris, and a couple of others I want to bring into the fold. So drop by there and preach my Word. Don’t worry about the ‘name-calling;’ I’ve given you a new name. Be strong in the Corinth Condominiums. It’s a wicked place. But those rooms hold many that will live in my house forever. And I assure you, the manager, Gallio, won’t bother you. Be strong now. Don’t hold back the message. I will be with you in all of these places. Together we will find my elect. All that the Father giveth shall come to me through you.”
–Kenneth D. Johns, Election: Love Before Time, Phillipsburg, NJ: Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Company, 1976, pp. 46, 53-54.