What do you think of Packer's quote?

Discussion in 'Evangelism, Missions and the Persecuted Church' started by TrustGzus, Jul 21, 2015.

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  1. TrustGzus

    TrustGzus Puritan Board Freshman

    Recently I started a thread about ISTJs and evangelism. The reason I'm thinking about evangelism and especially for those of us that are introverted and talking to people is less natural for us is I'm reading Packer's book Evangelism & the Sovereignty of God.

    Packer writes on pp. 26-27,
    What do you think? Is Packer correct? Is he wrong? Is he somewhat correct but overstating his point? Something else?
  2. NoutheticCounselor

    NoutheticCounselor Puritan Board Freshman

    Yes, all Christians are commanded to go and make disciples. How that is done will be different for different people.
  3. MW

    MW Puritan Board Doctor

    Every Christian is part of the fellowship of the gospel, Phil. 1:5, and participates towards its witness and furtherance in various ways. But "evangelism," technically, requires "preaching," which is an official calling to which an individual is set apart by the church, is responsible to the ecclesiastical oversight for the exercise of his function, and for which the individual will have to give account on the great day of judgment.

    What is called the great commission requires the commissioned to "go," "teach," and "baptise." These actions do not fall within the sphere of every disciple, but only of those who are properly qualified and duly called.
  4. arapahoepark

    arapahoepark Puritan Board Graduate

    No offense to some here but, I agree. The reason why I say that is because some here will start getting nitpicky and start defining 'evangelism' as something only ministers do. If we were to strictly say spread the Gospel, all would be in agreement.
  5. toddpedlar

    toddpedlar Iron Dramatist Staff Member

    Every Christian is called to give reason for the hope that lies within him. Every Christian is NOT called to the task of evangelism. The two are very distinct.

    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk HD
  6. OPC'n

    OPC'n Puritan Board Doctor

    Can you explain more?
  7. bookslover

    bookslover Puritan Board Doctor

    I guess you could say that "formal evangelism" is what pastors and elders do. And "informal evangelism" - as in naturally arising everyday conversations - is what all Christians can do.
  8. Ask Mr. Religion

    Ask Mr. Religion Flatly Unflappable

    I would hardly call it being "nitpicky" in a theological discussion where precision is required. I am in agreement with Rev. Winzer's statement above.
  9. johnny

    johnny Puritan Board Sophomore

    I am thankful for the many things I learn here on PB and I am in agreement with Rev Winzer and the
    other Posters as they seem sound and reasonable in the light of the Bible and Gospel Commands.

    My question is,,,

    Does any church body still train evangelists to be equipped and sent out to ordinary people in the community as opposed to mission fields in overseas countries? as I dont see many trained evangelists standing on street corners preaching the Gospel. (Is this a fault of our Church in general?)
  10. earl40

    earl40 Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    Someone can correct me if I am wrong but I think Pastor Packer is one that believes all Christians are tasked with spreading The Gospel the same way as all pastors are to tasked with. As was expressed above this leads to the the mistaken idea that all Christians are "priests" which in no way is aligned with the official position as espoused in scripture especially as conveyed in the pastoral epistles.
  11. jambo

    jambo Puritan Board Senior

    I think Packer is quite right. We are all called to be witnesses and to give a reason for the hope that lies within them. In a couple of Sundays I will be preaching on Jn 4 and the woman of Samaria. I have been struck by the fact the disciples went into town and came back with bread whilst the woman went into town and came back with people many of whom believed. I have long been convinced the work of the kingdom is advanced by ordinary individuals witnessing in their own way. Some people find sharing their faith a joy whilst others find it very difficult but the Lord in his grace enables and equips all.

    In answer to Johnny's question above we as a church are seeking to encourage and support people to think of themselves as missionaries in their own families, workplaces and neighbourhood.
  12. earl40

    earl40 Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    Those women of Samaria did not believe until they came and heard Jesus, Who was sent to preach The Gospel which is not the official task of the laity. Been there done that in baptist churches and otherwise reformed churches, and to suggest otherwise is to lay a guilt trip on those who do not do what their pastors tell them to do. I say this humbly but forcefully because I do not expect you to do my job I am called to do and I expect you to do your job you are called to do. Being a witness to what God has done and doing our life is not The Gospel but what The Gospel does to us.
  13. jambo

    jambo Puritan Board Senior

    Witnessing, evangelism etc comes from the outflow of the heart. If a person seeks to speak about Christ out of guilt then it is the wrong reason. The woman of Samaria simply told others what she had seen and heard which is all that is required of any witness.
  14. earl40

    earl40 Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    I hear you and understand what you are saying. I am saying even if a lay person has it "in their heart" to preach the gospel we should send them to be taught to do so, along with all the other functions pastors do(baptizing and administering communion). I understand and sympathize with your convictions here I am simply stating that witnessing is not preaching The Gospel.
  15. Grimmson

    Grimmson Puritan Board Sophomore

    Would you be willing to say Earl that witnessing is proclaiming the Gospel?
  16. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    This is more of a sociological observation than a theological conclusion. Is the willingness to make evangelism solely a ministerial category connected with how many Reformed churches are small in number?
  17. Miss Marple

    Miss Marple Puritan Board Junior

    But we are called priests, all of us, in the pastoral epistles:

    "But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light; " 1st Peter 2:9
  18. earl40

    earl40 Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    Would you say the blind man who Jesus healed proclaimed The Gospel?
  19. earl40

    earl40 Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    That is why I used "priest" in " ". Yes we are set apart to "proclaim the praises of Him" and in this sense we are priests. Though in saying this we "priests" in the pew are sent out to witness to those what has been done in our lives to those who have yet to obtain mercy.
  20. jambo

    jambo Puritan Board Senior

    There is a big difference between preaching (which relatively few are called to do) and evangelising on a 1:1 basis over a cup of coffee or a discussion in the office, which everyone can do. I don't believe that evangelism is something that can be taught but rather something that can be encouraged. Evangelism is simply one hungry begger telling another hungry begger where to get bread.
  21. earl40

    earl40 Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    And most of those saved outside of reformed churches were saved in churches who are not reformed.
  22. Jack K

    Jack K Puritan Board Professor

    The heart of the OP's question seems to be whether or not those of us who are introverts can rightly excuse ourselves from caring for our neighbor on the basis that it's hard for us to speak up. Surely we are not all called to preach, and we may not be called to fully explain salvation or to issue the direct challenge to place faith in Christ. But we are called to love. And sharing the hope we have in Christ is part of that love.

    Introverts do NOT get a pass when it comes to loving others. We don't get to hide behind the idea that it just isn't part of our personality. Love always comes at a cost, with difficulty, and we are charged with working through that difficulty for the sake of Christ and our fellow man. We may do well to work alongside others who find certain aspects of sharing Christ easier, but remaining on the sidelines is not an option.

    Part of the struggle with this question is the regrettable way some churches have put pressure on invididuals to turn their friends into converts by means of formulaic "witnessing." When we read something like that paragraph from Packer, this is what comes to mind for many of us. Whatever way we best love our neighbor by sharing our hope in Christ, it seldom should look like that formula. But it also must not mean uncaring silence.
  23. KMK

    KMK Administrator Staff Member

    London Baptist Confession:

  24. Alan D. Strange

    Alan D. Strange Puritan Board Junior

    In respect to the OP, I think that it's rather clear from what Jim Packer wrote elsewhere, as well as the whole tenor of his life and career, that he certainly believes in special office and what is committed to the office of minister, particularly the preaching of the Word and the administration of the sacraments. He is, after all, an Anglican! It is unimaginable in any respect to think that he denies special office in the church and that which it properly involves.

    I think, particularly having in mind that he is an Anglican, he would want to remind all in the church (including those in his church) that the commission of the church is given to the body as a whole, to be carried out, by sure, for those gifted and called to carry it out in the ways that God ordained for them. While only some hold special office, all are to serve in the general office of believer, which is what I think that he has in view in the OP. The OPC Book of Church Order, in its Form of Government, helpfully relates general and special office: "The power which Christ has committed to his church is not vested in the special officers alone, but in the whole body. All believers are endued with the Spirit and called of Christ to join in the worship, edification, and witness of the church which grows as the body of Christ fitly framed and knit together through that which every joint supplies, according to the working in due measure of each part. The power of believers in their general office includes the right to acknowledge and desire the exercise of the gifts and calling of the special offices" (FG 3.1).

    I believe that Packer is writing in a context in which many imagine that it is up to the "professionals" or the priest-craft to evangelize and he wants to emphasize that there is a proper place for all in the body to give a gospel witness. Packer is hardly one to deny special office or the particular calling that accrues thereunto. At the same time, he wants to argue that the whole body is involved in testifying to the gospel both with lives and lips.

  25. earl40

    earl40 Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    Pastor Strange what do you think of this article on the OPC site, which I assume you have already read?

  26. Alan D. Strange

    Alan D. Strange Puritan Board Junior


    I don't have time right at this point to re-read Charlie's article, though I was in general agreement with him on the office question (I think that my position, however, is a bit more nuanced than his was).

    I also believe that Charlie is using a more technical, and perhaps more precise, definition of the word "evangelism," and that Jim Packer has something broader in mind, including what would come under I Peter 3:15 and the broader notion of "sharing the gospel" or "sharing Christ" with someone. I don't believe that Packer is advocating the "every member ministry" that Charlie is criticizing but wants every member of the church to be active in the general office of believer.

    Again, it would hardly be the case that Packer as an Anglican would marginalize special office and believe that everyone in the church is a teacher, ambassador, officer in the same way.

  27. earl40

    earl40 Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    Thank you and I do not expect you to re-read it again like I would not re-read all of Pastor Packers words on what exactly evangelism is, and what the role of the laity is in his view. Suffice it to say I believe God uses the institution of the church and its pastors to save His children,ordinarily, and rarely does God use the un-ordained to do what is the pastors job as subscribed in scripture which I am sure you also agree with. :)
  28. Ken

    Ken Puritan Board Freshman


    We as Christian have a fiduciary responsibility as ambassadors of Christ:

    Exodus 20:7: "7 Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain."

    When we put on the name of God; it is not to be in vain, we are to represent Him with all our heart, soul and strength.

    Jesus instructs us:
    Matthew 10:16: "16 Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves."

    God bless you and keep you,
  29. NoutheticCounselor

    NoutheticCounselor Puritan Board Freshman

    I believe that a person should be sent out by the church for things such as open air preaching, teaching classes, etc. However, your average Christian is called to witness to people in their life such as family, friends, co-workers, waitresses, etc.

    The quoted chapter from the LBC does not forbid the average Christian from giving the Gospel to their neighbor or to a guy sitting next to them on a bus.
  30. Philip

    Philip Puritan Board Graduate

    And it should be added that this emphasis on lay involvement in the whole life, work, and mission of the church is a distinctive feature of the conservative evangelical wing of Anglicanism.
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