Can Calvinists be evanglists or perfom social works (e.g., improve health systems, local economies, build orphanages, etc.)? Or are they more interested in Bible teaching and disciple reproduction?
First, we suggest you read the 'What is Calvinism' article on our website.
As we commented in that article, believers are not to be followers of “Calvinism” or any other manmade system. We follow Christ and proclaim the truth of His word.
Secondly, the suggestion that obtaining a proper understanding of God’s sovereignty in our salvation necessarily diminishes a believer's desire to serve Christ by acts of service or by reaching the nations with the Gospel is a false premise. On the contrary, the more a believer knows and understands the doctrines of their salvation, the more the person will be motivated to serve the Master Who bought them.
The scripture is abundantly clear that the Lord grants faith in the heart as He chooses, which you could read our devotional, 'Wrestling with God,' but this truth doesn’t diminish our enthusiasm to serve Him; on the contrary, it motivates believers to seek the lost.
In fact, knowing that the Lord has the power to change a heart is the primary basis for our evangelism. As Jesus said:
Mark 10:24 The disciples were amazed at His words. But Jesus answered again and said to them, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God!
Mark 10:25 “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”
Mark 10:26 They were even more astonished and said to Him, “Then who can be saved?”
Mark 10:27 Looking at them, Jesus said, “With people, it is impossible, but not with God; for all things are possible with God.”
Salvation is impossible for men alone, but God can bring salvation to hearts by granting faith, and so we proclaim the Gospel knowing that those who have ears to hear will respond. God grants the ability to hear the Gospel:
Rom. 10:17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.
Therefore, a believer’s desire to serve God by preaching the Gospel or by any other work of service is increased (not decreased) by knowing that God is in control of the outcome. Our desire to serve Him is based in our confidence that the Lord is the One Who yields the results.
Ironically, if we were personally responsible for the outcome in persuading a person to believe, we would have much less confidence to pursue evangelism, for who is capable of making an argument persuasive enough to overcome the pride of the flesh?
On the other hand, if our prospects for success are dependent entirely upon God’s grace, then how can we NOT act in service to God? Knowing God is in control of the outcome is a great motivator in moving forward as His ambassador, since God is capable of granting us success at any moment. We can go out serving Him in much greater confidence and enthusiasm knowing the result rests on Him alone.
Finally, you may find the article, 'Why do we Evangelize,' helpful.