Theological Definitions: Ministry, Evangelism, Preacher, Witnessing, etc.

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Scott Bushey

Puritanboard Commissioner
Given that we have had an issue as of recently, specifically in the threads, 'Leading to Christ' and 'Leading to Christ-Poll', I believe it would be beneficial to address and define some of the biblical terms being used, both historically and biblically. In this thread, I would like to define these terms one at a time:


1) Evangelism, evangelist, evangelizing
a) is it an office or are all called to evangelize?

Scripture: ‘Evangelist’, Used only 3 times in the New Testament

Acts 21:8

8 And the next day we that were of Paul’s company departed, and came unto Caesarea: and we entered into the house of Philip the evangelist, which was one of the seven; and abode with him.

Ephesians 4:11

11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;

2 Timothy 4:5

5 But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.

Here is a link to D. A. Carson’s paper entitled: ‘Do the Work of an Evangelist’ that addresses some of the original language and intent:

http://themelios.thegospelcoalition.org/article/do-the-work-of-an-evangelist

answer: The promulgation of the gospel message to every tribe, tongue and nation; It is an office. All are not called to the office. Some denominations still acknowledge the title/office (PCA/OPC). Most believe the office has passed with the passing of Apostleship. All are *involved* in the local church's evangelistic effort; the body is one. All laypersons work under the ordained person who is the central figure in evangelism. He is the evangelist, they are the infrastructure that makes the commission, whole. Evangelism is a team effort that all believers take part in.

The term 'evangelism' must be seen in two senses; It is important to understand that in the narrow sense, it is the evangelist/ordained man
who is evangelizing and in the wider sense, all are involved in the effort.

2) Ministry, Minister, ministering
a) sending?
b) Is there a difference between an official sending and non-official?
c) Are there particular characteristics that come w/ the term?



C. The New Testament.

1. Usage Generally.

a. The word group is comparatively rare in the NT, unlike words in δουλ- and διακον-. Furthermore the common Gk. ὑπηρεσία does not occur at all, let alone other terms. The distribution puts Luke (Lk. and Ac.) and John (Gospel only) in first place with nine instances each, while Mt. and Mk. have only two each. There is only one example in Paul. The verb occurs only three times in Ac.

b. The noun ὑπηρέτης is always used in a general sense similar to that of classical and Hellenistic Greek (→ 530, 13 ff.) including Philo (→ 535, 8 ff.) and Josephus (→ 536, 30 ff.): “assistant to another as the instrument of his will,” possibly in a system of integrated functions in which account is taken of specific needs. Connected with this is the fact that the specific function of a ὑπηρέτης is to be gleaned from the context in which he appears. This is true at any rate in most of the NT instances.

Karl Heinrich Rengstorf, “Ὑπηρέτης, Ὑπηρετέω,” ed. Gerhard Kittel, Geoffrey W. Bromiley, and Gerhard Friedrich, Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1964–), 539.


D. The Early Church.

In their use of the noun the post-apost. fathers have nothing new compared with the NT With ἄγγελος and ἄρχων it means “official” in the sense of “servant” Dg., 7, 2; cf. Barn., 16, 4, or with οἰκονόμος ( 542, 11 ff.) and πάρεδρος it has the sense of “functionary” Ign. Pol., 6, 1. The diaconate is ἐκκλησίας θεοῦ ὑπηρέται in Ign. Tr., 2, 3; possibly this follows Jewish usage 537, 35 ff. Ign. Phld., 11, 1 has the verb for the ministry of a deacon associated with him, and the meaning is much the same in Herm. m., 8, 10; χήραις ὑπηρετεῖν, s., 9, 10, 2 and Barn., 1, 5 “to help,” “to assist,” the will of God being always in the background.

Later usage is along the same lines in Just. Apol., I, 14, 1; II, 2, 7, where ὑπηρέτης occurs along with “slave,” but is a “free servant” receiving and carrying out orders as such.


Karl Heinrich Rengstorf, “Ὑπηρέτης, Ὑπηρετέω,” ed. Gerhard Kittel, Geoffrey W. Bromiley, and Gerhard Friedrich, Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1964–), 543–544.


answer: Yes, ordained men are sent for a specific purpose and task; The promulgation of the gospel message to every tribe, tongue and nation is the primary reason behind the sending; It is a 'official' calling and sending of the local church to the ordained man alone-they are called Ministers. There is no such thing as an 'unofficial' call and sending; Their jobs are to ‘minister’. They are ministering. All are *involved* in the local church's ministerial effort; this is called ‘ministry’. Since the body is one, even the laypersons work under the ordained person who is the central figure in ministry, is a support system, assisting in the success of this ministry. He is the minister, they are the infrastructure that makes the ministry, whole. Ministry is a team effort that all believers take part in.

The term 'ministry' must be seen in two senses; It is important to understand that in the narrow sense, it is the ministry/ordained man who is ministering and in the wider sense, all are involved in the ministerial effort, but the actual title belongs to the church officer alone. In the wider sense, it could be said that the infrastructure is assisting in fulfilling the whole of the ministerial effort.

3) Preacher, preaching
a) (P)reaching vs (p)reaching-is there such a thing?
b) Is it a problem for the female gender to ever (p)reach?
c) Teacher vs preacher
d) Parents are called to teach their children-is this a different 'teaching'?

4) Witnessing/sharing/confessing
a) Are all called to witness and share?
b) Is there a difference between proclaiming Christ in a witness/share and preaching?

5) The Great Commission
a) Is the commission for all and if so, is the term divorced from church polity and hierarchy?

6) The church
a) Local church/visible
b) Universal/invisible church
c) Is one ever independent of their local membership?
d) The keys to the church-who holds them?


7)
The Gospel
a) Is it entrusted to all or is it given specifically to the local church?
b) Is the gospel any less affective if a lay-person gives witness to it outside of the local church setting?
c) Can a man be saved apart from the local church?
d) Is the bible ever divorced from the local church? Example: A man on an island finds a bible that has washed up on the beach-he reads it and is saved. can it be said that this man was saved outside of the oversight of the church?

If you see the list as missing an important term, let me know and I will add it.

I would like to discuss these terms, in order; once we have established a proper, biblical definition, we can move on to the next term.
 
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timfost

Puritan Board Senior
David,

The other threads were shut down. Let's not use this platform to continue the conversation. Let's give it a rest, please.

Scott,

I'm looking forward to getting working definitions to these terms. Thanks for posting this thread. I've been reading up on them a little. I won't post definitions until I've done more research, though.

Thanks!
 

Scott Bushey

Puritanboard Commissioner
Calvin:

""...those whom, while inferior in rank to the apostles, were next them in office, and even acted as their substitutes" (Institutes, IV.iii.4)"

"Those three functions were not instituted in the church to be perpetual, but only endure so long as churches were to be formed where none previously existed,"

"yet he also says, "although I deny not, that afterward God occasionally raised up apostles, or at least evangelists, in their stead, as has been done in our time" (Ibid.)."

"By Evangelists, I mean those who, while inferior in rank to the apostles, were next them in office, and even acted as their substitutes. Such were Luke, Timothy, Titus, and the like; perhaps, also, the seventy disciples whom our Saviour appointed in the second place to the apostles (Luke 10:1)."

Calvin on Eph. 4.11: "Next to them [apostles] come the Evangelists, who were closely allied in the nature of their office, but held an inferior rank. To this class belonged Timothy and others; for, while Paul mentions them along with himself in the salutations of his epistles, he does not speak of them as his companions in the apostleship, but claims this name as peculiarly his own. The services in which the Lord employed them were auxiliary to those of the apostles, to whom they were next in rank."

Calvin on 2 Tim. 4.5: "Do the work of an Evangelist That is, “Do that which belongs to an evangelist.” Whether he denotes generally by this term any ministers of the gospel, or whether this was a special office, is doubtful; but I am more inclined to the second opinion, because from Ephesians 4:11 it is clearly evident that this was an intermediate class between apostles and pastors, so that the evangelists ranked as assistants next to the apostles. It is also more probable that Timothy, whom Paul had associated with himself as his closest companion in all things, surpassed ordinary pastors in rank and dignity of office, than that he was only one of their number. Besides, to mention an honorable title of office tends not only to encourage him, but to recommend his authority to others; and Paul had in view both of these objects."
 

timfost

Puritan Board Senior
Scott,

Just realized you had text under gospel and church. I highlighted and realized there was text, but, at least on my device, it must be colored white. Could you please check on that?

Thanks!
 

Dachaser

Puritan Board Doctor
Calvin:

""...those whom, while inferior in rank to the apostles, were next them in office, and even acted as their substitutes" (Institutes, IV.iii.4)"

"Those three functions were not instituted in the church to be perpetual, but only endure so long as churches were to be formed where none previously existed,"

"yet he also says, "although I deny not, that afterward God occasionally raised up apostles, or at least evangelists, in their stead, as has been done in our time" (Ibid.)."

"By Evangelists, I mean those who, while inferior in rank to the apostles, were next them in office, and even acted as their substitutes. Such were Luke, Timothy, Titus, and the like; perhaps, also, the seventy disciples whom our Saviour appointed in the second place to the apostles (Luke 10:1)."

Calvin on Eph. 4.11: "Next to them [apostles] come the Evangelists, who were closely allied in the nature of their office, but held an inferior rank. To this class belonged Timothy and others; for, while Paul mentions them along with himself in the salutations of his epistles, he does not speak of them as his companions in the apostleship, but claims this name as peculiarly his own. The services in which the Lord employed them were auxiliary to those of the apostles, to whom they were next in rank."

Calvin on 2 Tim. 4.5: "Do the work of an Evangelist That is, “Do that which belongs to an evangelist.” Whether he denotes generally by this term any ministers of the gospel, or whether this was a special office, is doubtful; but I am more inclined to the second opinion, because from Ephesians 4:11 it is clearly evident that this was an intermediate class between apostles and pastors, so that the evangelists ranked as assistants next to the apostles. It is also more probable that Timothy, whom Paul had associated with himself as his closest companion in all things, surpassed ordinary pastors in rank and dignity of office, than that he was only one of their number. Besides, to mention an honorable title of office tends not only to encourage him, but to recommend his authority to others; and Paul had in view both of these objects."
Calvin:

""...those whom, while inferior in rank to the apostles, were next them in office, and even acted as their substitutes" (Institutes, IV.iii.4)"

"Those three functions were not instituted in the church to be perpetual, but only endure so long as churches were to be formed where none previously existed,"

"yet he also says, "although I deny not, that afterward God occasionally raised up apostles, or at least evangelists, in their stead, as has been done in our time" (Ibid.)."

"By Evangelists, I mean those who, while inferior in rank to the apostles, were next them in office, and even acted as their substitutes. Such were Luke, Timothy, Titus, and the like; perhaps, also, the seventy disciples whom our Saviour appointed in the second place to the apostles (Luke 10:1)."

Calvin on Eph. 4.11: "Next to them [apostles] come the Evangelists, who were closely allied in the nature of their office, but held an inferior rank. To this class belonged Timothy and others; for, while Paul mentions them along with himself in the salutations of his epistles, he does not speak of them as his companions in the apostleship, but claims this name as peculiarly his own. The services in which the Lord employed them were auxiliary to those of the apostles, to whom they were next in rank."

Calvin on 2 Tim. 4.5: "Do the work of an Evangelist That is, “Do that which belongs to an evangelist.” Whether he denotes generally by this term any ministers of the gospel, or whether this was a special office, is doubtful; but I am more inclined to the second opinion, because from Ephesians 4:11 it is clearly evident that this was an intermediate class between apostles and pastors, so that the evangelists ranked as assistants next to the apostles. It is also more probable that Timothy, whom Paul had associated with himself as his closest companion in all things, surpassed ordinary pastors in rank and dignity of office, than that he was only one of their number. Besides, to mention an honorable title of office tends not only to encourage him, but to recommend his authority to others; and Paul had in view both of these objects."
God gave those gifted men to the church such as pastors/teachers and Evangelists to be until the second coming, while the offices of the Apostle and Prophet ceased after John passed away.
 

Scott Bushey

Puritanboard Commissioner
So, it would seem that you are saying now, biblically speaking, that ‘evangelism’ is a characteristic of an office holder?
 

Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
Evangelism terms and who can do it:

There is some ambiguity here. I believe it is best to maintain some tolerance over terms and not demand tight precision.

---Kerusso is one word but has been translated both as preach and proclaim, for instance the Gadarene demoniac κηρύσσων but most will say he proclaimed and not preached (perhaps due to assumptions drawn from Presbyterian ecclesiology).

---The witnesses to the healing of the deaf man in Mark 7:36 are said to proclaim to those around them, but the word is again, ἐκήρυσσον, from kerusso, translated elsewhere as to preach or proclaim.

---If the NT writers were so concerned to not give the impression that laymen could preach, why didn't they use katangello or dialegomai or laleo or diangello instead of kerusso to signify for sure that it was proclamation instead of preaching? Oh wait....all of these terms are variously translated as preach despite their nuances being slightly different (proclaim, dialogue, speak, declare).

---“to persuade” (peithō) is used to describe Paul's evangelistic activities as well. But nobody makes a point that only ordained people can "persuade" and that laymen should never persuade.

---I Peter 4:10 tells all believes to minister: "As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God." Even as the Apostle Paul is made a Minister.

Therefore, it appears okay to use "minister" in both a tight (big M) and loose (little m) way and even okay in this sense to say that there is truly an "every-member ministry of the church" even while it is wrong to assert an "every member Ministry."

---In Paul's epistles both men and women are called "fellow workers" or sunergous who shared in Paul's labor. Which labor would that be except labor in spreading the Gospel?


Ironically the NT seems less careful than some on the PB when it comes to defining evangelistic terms.

I fear such focusing on the boundaries and guarding such tight definitions might make solid Christians in our pews hesitant to act because they fear overstepping their bounds as laymen. Such a tight focus often serves to stifle initiative and discourage action and leave it all to the ordained minister lest the layman do something that laymen should not be doing when sharing the Gospel.

I do believe that most "Truly Reformed" churches are, in fact, less evangelistic and this is one reason why.
 

Scott Bushey

Puritanboard Commissioner
Evangelism terms and who can do it:

---Kerusso is one word but has been translated both as preach and proclaim, for instance the Gadarene demoniac κηρύσσων but most will say he proclaimed and not preached (perhaps due to assumptions drawn from Presbyterian ecclesiology).

Preaching is under # 3....we haven't gotten there yet.
 

kainos01

Puritan Board Senior
Scott, the link doesn't work for me, but could you please also tell us the point of the linked piece (rather than just posting the link) so we can decide whether to follow and read it? Thanks!
 

Scott Bushey

Puritanboard Commissioner
Fixed link.

I have compiled a list of historic quotes supporting the idea that evangelism is a characteristic of the office holder alone.
 

Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
Even if you prove evangelism is only for the ordained, what are the marks of evangelism that make it different than telling, sharing, being a fellow-laborour in the work (such as the women called sunergous did with Paul), or witnessing?

Can laymen dialogue? Can laymen declare? Can laymen tell? Can laymen explain? Can a layman testify?

What would be the practical difference between a pastor evangelizing a group of non-believers and a regular Christian sharing or witnessing to the same group?

If there is really no great distinction than why focus so adamantly that laymen cannot do it? It is a largely a distinctive without a practical difference outside the church. No layman I know is pushing to administer the sacraments or exercise ecclesiastical authority when they share the gospel with nonbelievers.

I would suggest a healthier focus would be to stress what all Christians CAN do rather than finely delineate what some cannot do.
 

Jack K

Puritan Board Doctor
Ironically the NT seems less careful than some on the PB when it comes to defining evangelistic terms.

Agreed.

Look, I admire the desire folks here have for clarity. I really do—it's a great feature of this board. But here's the thing: it's a fool's errand to try to nail down an exact meaning that always applies to a theological term. This is because most words in most languages have a range of meanings, not a single precise meaning.

Within one's theological circle, it still can be helpful to precisely define how to use a certain theological term. This lets us communicate more efficiently. But it is important that we don't then turn around and insist that the Bible writers always stuck to our narrow definition, because in the case of most theological words they didn't. If we aren't careful, our impulse to assign narrow definitions will lead to bad exegesis.

Pergamum's example of the preach/proclaim/speak/declare issue is a good case in point. Context and nuance matter. If we insist on rigid word-usage rules, a reader could easily conclude that the deaf man who was healed became an ordained preacher—but it's doubtful that's what the Bible means.

So I'm inclined to give some leeway in the use of terms. I suppose in the case of a word like euangelion and its derivatives, the word might be so unique that the biblical usage is very narrowly defined. But even if so, it should surprise no one that its usage since biblical times has broadened, because that's what happens to words.

A good exegetical principle is that we do theology on the concept level, not the word level. So I will gladly explain what I *mean* if I've used one of those terms and it isn't clear. But I hesitate to provide an overarching definition—much less demand that the rest of the world, including the apostles, follow it as well.
 

Jeri Tanner

Administrator
Staff member
I notice that Paul tells Timothy to "do the work of an evangelist," then looking back to Acts 8, you see Phillip authoritatively preaching the gospel with great effect, with signs and wonders accompanying. I think there's no doubt that "evangelist" in the apostles' time was an ordained office, and correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't it still considered to be that up until at least the times of the Puritans? I thought of John Wesley and the itinerant system he devised, which included lay preaching. I wonder if this was the first major or important effort to include lay members in evangelism.
 

Jeri Tanner

Administrator
Staff member
...I hesitate to provide an overarching definition—much less demand that the rest of the world, including the apostles, follow it as well.
Jack, you don't think we're imposing a narrow definition of "evangelist" on the apostles, do you? It seems that the Holy Spirit gave us what we need to know: there was an office of evangelist, the apostles called them evangelists, and the office had defined characteristics. They wouldn't have called a lay person an evangelist.
 

Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
If Paul's chief work was evangelism and church planting and only a narrow subset can engage in that work, then how did Paul refer to a great number of both men and women as sunergous / fellow-laborers who labored together with him?

Just what labor was that if not evangelistic labor?
 

bookslover

Puritan Board Doctor
If Paul's chief work was evangelism and church planting and only a narrow subset can engage in that work, then how did Paul refer to a great number of both men and women as sunergous / fellow-laborers who labored together with him?

Just what labor was that if not evangelistic labor?

Exactly. All Christians have the privilege of sharing the gospel with whomever God puts in their path.

It would sound mighty funny to have to say: "I'm sorry, Mr. Next-Door Neighbor. Even though you have expressed interest, I can't share the gospel with you unless I contact an ordained, professionally trained pastor/evangelist to share the gospel with you. That might take awhile. So, can you please wait?"
 

Jack K

Puritan Board Doctor
Jack, you don't think we're imposing a narrow definition of "evangelist" on the apostles, do you? It seems that the Holy Spirit gave us what we need to know: there was an office of evangelist, the apostles called them evangelists, and the office had defined characteristics. They wouldn't have called a lay person an evangelist.

I really don't know for sure whether an apostle might have called a lay-person an "evangelist" or—perhaps more likely—used "good news" to summarize a lay-person's testimony about Jesus. We have a limited number of accounts of such testimonies, and given the apostles' general freedom with theological terms, I would not be shocked to learn that the "good news" label got applied at times to everyday talk about the wonders of salvation in Christ.

The best way to know whether or not the term might be applied beyond office bearers is to look at passages that directly address the difference between office bearers and laymen. The most comprehensive passages on that topic don't use the word "evangelist/gospel/good news." This makes me think that although the job descriptions are important, the labels might not matter very much.

The one passage that does use the label is Ephesians 4:11, but it's a passing mention in a passage that's mostly about unity in the church rather than about what sets office bearers apart. I hate to build a hard-and-fast rule around a passing mention that's addressing a different topic. Reformed denominations have tended to be cautious too; few have recognized evangelist as an office.

Personally, I don't call myself an "evangelist," and I think it's not a good idea for a layman to do so. But when I talk about Jesus, I might describe the salvation he has accomplished as "good news." And when I teach my 10-year-olds in Sunday school, I include facts about Christ's work that the Bible sometimes calls "gospel." Does this make me in some sense a "gospeler"—in other words, an "evangelist"? Well, again, I don't use that term for myself because it tends to carry connotations that don't apply to me. But I can see why someone might end up using that language. And I'm not convinced the use of the label is a big enough issue, biblically, to get terribly upset about it when it's intended in a limited sense.
 

earl40

Puritan Board Professor
If Paul's chief work was evangelism and church planting and only a narrow subset can engage in that work, then how did Paul refer to a great number of both men and women as sunergous / fellow-laborers who labored together with him?

Just what labor was that if not evangelistic labor?

Why do we have to label the great number of both men and women evangelists? There are a great number of men and women who labor along with surgeons in the operating room and we do not call them surgeons.
 

Jeri Tanner

Administrator
Staff member
I really don't know for sure whether an apostle might have called a lay-person an "evangelist"
Jack, I'd say no more likely than an apostle calling a lay-person a pastor, an apostle, or a prophet. The three uses of the word in the NT seem pretty clear; speculation about any looser use of the word seems unwarranted.

The one passage that does use the label is Ephesians 4:11, but it's a passing mention in a passage that's mostly about unity in the church rather than about what sets office bearers apart.
Well two places, the label is used by Luke as well as Paul. The Ephesians 4 passage is about the unity of the church, but it's about coming to that unity by maturing in the faith; contrary to being a passing mention, the passage reminds us at the outset that Christ gave gifts to the church upon his ascension for that purpose, and those gifts were the apostles, prophets, evangelists, and pastors and teachers. So the setting forth and enumerating of those varied gifts were of extreme importance, as their roles were to be recognized as the means of sanctification.

You said that few Reformed denominations have recognized evangelist as an office, but I suppose you mean as a continuing office. It seems evangelist was recognized as an office that has ceased: the Westminster Standards' BCO states, "The officers which Christ hath appointed for the edification of his church, and the perfecting of the saints, are, some extraordinary, as apostles, evangelists, and prophets, which are ceased. Others ordinary and perpetual, as pastors, teachers, and other church-governors, and deacons."
 
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kainos01

Puritan Board Senior
I thought of John Wesley and the itinerant system he devised, which included lay preaching. I wonder if this was the first major or important effort to include lay members in evangelism.
Perhaps a bit earlier, with the Lollards of Wycliffe's era, though I would have to revisit their history to speak definitively.
 

Scott Bushey

Puritanboard Commissioner
Look, I admire the desire folks here have for clarity. I really do—it's a great feature of this board. But here's the thing: it's a fool's errand to try to nail down an exact meaning that always applies to a theological term.

22 But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council;

The Holy Bible: King James Version, Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version. (Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 2009), Mt 5:22.

I guess we should chide Calvin for his institutes or Owen for his work on Hebrews; or Witsius on covenant or Turretin on God's will.

Here's the thing, no one wants to upset the apple cart. People like liberalism-it's in their nature. We want everyone happy. Since God is accurate and orderly, we need to be as well; Hence, our determination to understand jots and tittles.

The office of evangelist and the characteristics of that office are particular to those ordained to that office. Again, no one is arguing against the infra structure that comes with it and how the whole body plays a part in how it completes the command to 'go'. It is when people liberalize the terminologies connected with the commission.

Earl brings up a great contrast in his example of the orderly in the Operating room and surgeon. All in the OR are assisting in the surgery; 'all' are not surgeons. Could it be said that a maintenance worker that works in the hospital sweeping floors works in the medical field? In a divided sense, yes. In the compound, no.The same thing must be considered in the example of evangelism. It is the evangelist who is evangelizing; The rest are 'involved' in evangelism as an infrastructure, supporting the evangelistic effort. There is a difference and this must be considered.

Trevor's quip about servanthood is flawed; the distinction I am proposing is neglected here. The word preach or 'published' is never used devoid of the terms I mention and a biblical polity always supplant these passages. When liberalism rules, the church suffers. It is Presbyterian to demand accuracy when it comes to God's word; it keeps order. Otherwise, you end up w/ anarchy in the church-which is prevalent in this age. Independency is a scourge.
 
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Scott Bushey

Puritanboard Commissioner
You said that few Reformed denominations have recognized evangelist as an office, but I suppose you mean as a continuing office


PCA Book of Church Order:
“8-5. When a man is called to labor as a teaching elder, it belongs to his order, in addition to those functions he shares with all other elders, to feed the flock by reading, expounding and preaching the Word of God and to administer the Sacraments. As he is sent to declare the will of God to sinners, and to beseech them to be reconciled to God through Christ, he is termed ambassador. As he bears glad tidings of salvation to the ignorant and perishing, he is termed evangelist. As he stands to proclaim the Gospel, he is termed preacher. As he dispenses the manifold grace of God, and the ordinances instituted by Christ, he is termed steward of the mysteries of God.”

OPC Book of Church Order
“Chapter VI Ministers or Teaching Elders 1. The ministry of the Word is a calling of God to stewardship in the gospel. In this ministry there is a diversity of gifts that are essential to the discharge of evangelistic, pastoral, and teaching functions.

The evangelist, in common with other ministers, is ordained to perform all the functions that belong to the sacred office of the minister. Yet distinctive to the function of the evangelist in his ministry of the gospel are the labors of (a) a missionary in a home or foreign mission field; (b) a stated supply or special preacher in churches to which he does not sustain a pastoral relation; (c) a chaplain in institutions or in military forces; (d) an administrator of an agency for preaching the gospel; and (e) an editor or similar ministry through the press and other means of communication.
 

Scott Bushey

Puritanboard Commissioner
---The witnesses to the healing of the deaf man in Mark 7:36 are said to proclaim to those around them, but the word is again, ἐκήρυσσον, from kerusso, translated elsewhere as to preach or proclaim.

G. Kittel helps here:

A. κηρύσσω in Greek.

1. Shades of Meaning and Synonyms.

κηρύσσω, made up of κηρυκ-ϳω, from κῆρυξ, does not have the same significance in the Greek world as we have noted in respect of κῆρυξ. Even numerically it is much less common not only in Homer (→ 683, n. 3) but also in other authors.

Very rarely we find κηρύσσειν in the absolute in the sense “to be a herald,” “to discharge the office of a herald.” Usually it is trans, and describes the activity of the herald in the discharge of his office.

Gerhard Friedrich, “Κῆρυξ (ἱεροκῆρυξ), Κηρύσσω, Κήρυγμα, Προκηρύσσω,” ed. Gerhard Kittel, Geoffrey W. Bromiley, and Gerhard Friedrich, Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1964–), 697.


d. Those Healed. It is part of aretalogy that those who are healed go away and extol and proclaim the great acts and miracles of God. In the miracle stories of the NT, too, we read that the healed tell what has happened to them in spite of the express order of Jesus that they should tell no one (Mk. 1:44 par. Mt. 8:4 and Lk. 5:14 and Mk. 7:36). This proclaiming of the acts of Jesus is not NT preaching even though we find the word κηρύσσειν in this connection. It does not take place by commission (→ 712) but against the will of Jesus. Hence we are not to compare it with the preaching of the disciples after their sending. As preaching it has no more significance than the fact that the demons name the name of Jesus and make Him known to those around. At Mk. 1:44 f. the command not to tell anyone and the order: Show thyself to the priests εἰς μαρτύριον αὐτοῖς, are in direct juxtaposition. There is a distinction between a witness and a herald. The herald goes through countries and publishes what he has to say so that all may hear. The place of the witness is in a lawsuit.52 There he is summoned, and on the basis of his personal acquaintance with the facts he supports the one party and opposes the other. The healed person is a witness in the conflict between Christ and the priests. He goes off and acts as a herald. But in so doing he goes beyond his commission. At Mk. 5:19 f. par. Lk. 8:39 the command of Jesus is different. Jesus normally forbids preaching about Himself because He seeks, not astonishment, but faith. To many His deeds are not a revelation of the Messianic secret. They are simply marvels which may easily be detached from their true purpose. At Mk. 5:20, however, there is no danger of a false estimation of the miracle. Those present do not rejoice at what has happened. They ask Jesus to go away. Jesus must accede to this request. But, although the healed man asks to be allowed to go with Him, He leaves him behind as a preacher, and the man goes through Decapolis like a herald, proclaiming what Jesus has done for him.

Gerhard Friedrich, “Κῆρυξ (ἱεροκῆρυξ), Κηρύσσω, Κήρυγμα, Προκηρύσσω,” ed. Gerhard Kittel, Geoffrey W. Bromiley, and Gerhard Friedrich, Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1964–), 708–709.
 

Jeri Tanner

Administrator
Staff member
Even if you prove evangelism is only for the ordained, what are the marks of evangelism that make it different than telling, sharing, being a fellow-laborour in the work (such as the women called sunergous did with Paul), or witnessing?

Can laymen dialogue? Can laymen declare? Can laymen tell? Can laymen explain? Can a layman testify?
Perg, I would say that evangelism, if narrowly defined to be the undertaking of those ordained to ministry, would carry with it an authority not present with those not so called. It has a teaching element to it; doctrine is being taught. As a sent ambassador he's been given the authority to speak the message, "Be reconciled to God."

Laymen can speak to others of Christ, that's been affirmed over and over. The biblical examples of how to speak are the woman at the well-"come and hear the man who told me everything I've ever done. Is this not the Messiah?" The demoniac- told to go and tell the great things God did for him. 1 Peter 3:15. Beyond that, all Christians are instructed to live in such a way that the gospel is adorned, and not shamed, and to do good to all men, and so on. Now that's the biblical data the Holy Spirit gave us regarding called and sent ambassadors and laypeople; in former times men seemed to carefully start with that data and then work out the practical application.

I have 2 daughters who are not believers and who pretty much scorn Christianity. I used to feel tremendous pressure to share the gospel with them, which would produce much eye rolling. The face is they'd both heard the gospel preached in church and have so far rejected it. As I began to better understand the biblical model of my role in bearing witness to Christ, I rejoiced in feeling that burden lifted. Now, I have opportunities now and then to speak simply of my love and appreciation for my Savior- he hath done great things, whereof we are glad. I said a few brief words to one hopeless-feeling daughter the other night of the hope that is in Christ. She didn't appreciate it but how can she argue with my belief? And she sees a changed life. :)
 

JimmyH

Puritan Board Senior
I have 2 daughters who are not believers and who pretty much scorn Christianity. I used to feel tremendous pressure to share the gospel with them, which would produce much eye rolling. The face is they'd both heard the gospel preached in church and have so far rejected it. As I began to better understand the biblical model of my role in bearing witness to Christ, I rejoiced in feeling that burden lifted. Now, I have opportunities now and then to speak simply of my love and appreciation for my Savior- he hath done great things, whereof we are glad. I said a few brief words to one hopeless-feeling daughter the other night of the hope that is in Christ. She didn't appreciate it but how can she argue with my belief? And she sees a changed life. :)
I spoke with my Pastor about the 'Leading To Christ' threads. Of course he is not on the board, and he did not read the posts. His response to my simplistic explanation of the debate was two Scriptural examples. In Luke 1 when Mary comes to visit Elizabeth and 'the baby leaped in Elizabeth's womb. That John the Baptist was filled with the Holy Spirit in the womb, and in John 3:8 when Jesus tells Nicodemus that 'The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.'
 

Gforce9

Puritan Board Junior
God gave those gifted men to the church such as pastors/teachers and Evangelists to be until the second coming, while the offices of the Apostle and Prophet ceased after John passed away.


You have asserted such several times, over and against Calvin. Please defend this as sheer assertion in unconvincing.
 
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