MORE FROM JOHN STOTT. It is grievously mistaken to suggest that the purpose of evangelism is to cajole sinners into doing what they can perfectly well do if only they put their minds to it and pull themselves together. This the Bible emphatically denies.
Consider these two statements: 'No one can say "Jesus is Lord" except by the Holy Spirit' (1 Cor. 12:3). 'No one can come to me unless the Father ... draws him' (Jn. 6:44).
We need to hear much more in the church of this 'no-one can', this natural inability of men to believe in Christ or to come to Christ. Only the Spirit can reveal Christ to men; only the Father can draw men to Christ. And without this double work of the Father and the Spirit no one can reach the Son.
It is quite true that Jesus also said 'you are not willing to come to me that you may have life' (Jn. 5:40, lit.), and that the human mind finds it impossible neatly to resolve the tension between this 'cannot' and this 'will not'. But both are true, and man's refusal to come does not cancel out his inability without grace to do so.
From "Our Guilty Silence" (London: Hodder and Stoughton,
1967), p. 113.