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. KMK

    KMK Administrator Staff Member

    You are not using the word 'preach' in the same way as our Reformed forefathers. They would agree that it was their duty to equip and teach some, but not all, to be approved and called for the function of preaching.

  2. Ken

    Ken Puritan Board Freshman

    Unfortunately, based on my relationship with my LORD and Savior Jesus Christ, it is not possible for me to personally accept this position. I have seen my LORD and Savior Jesus Christ do much more than this position claims.

    My fear is putting Jesus in too small of a box resulting in not receiving His promises because of unbelief.
    Matthew 13:58: 58 And he did not many mighty works there, because of their unbelief.

    It is interesting that Jesus had to lead the blind man out of Bethsaida before healing him:
    Mark 8:23: 23 And he took the blind man by the hand, and led him out of the town; and when he had spit on his eyes, and put his hands upon him, he asked him if he saw ought.

    What does this say about Cessationism versus Continuationism, could this be why some experience the gifts and some do not?

    God bless you and keep you,
  3. MW

    MW Puritanboard Amanuensis

    I just double-checked the Proceedings of General Assembly to ensure I had recalled this correctly. The Proceedings state that Julius Rhenius (who was son of the noted missionary to India) "wished distinctly to understand the exact nature of the proposal, as, when it was formerly before the House, it was thought by some to apply to others besides Mr North." Dr. James Begg clarified, "it was distinctly to be understood that they were not dealing with general rules but with a specific case." In other words, this was a peculiar instance which did not serve as a general precedent.

    However, when I stated there was dissension, it only went so far as appointing a committee to confer with Brownlow North. Those who argued it should go through presbytery in an ordinary way stated they would not divide over the Assembly's decision, and so it was carried unanimously by the Assembly. At any rate, anyone who holds the divine right of Presbyterianism has to question such an irregularity, and it appears that Dr. Begg, a strict constitutionalist, admitted this was all done because of the peculiarity of the case.
  4. SRoper

    SRoper Puritan Board Graduate

    See also the PCA BCO:

    We also say that elders (both teaching and ruling) "should set a worthy example to the flock entrusted to their care by their zeal to evangelize the unconverted and make disciples."
  5. KMK

    KMK Administrator Staff Member

    You list the Westminster Standards as your confessional subscription. The passage I quoted from the Form of Presbyterial Church Government is a part of the Westminster Standards.
  6. Aaron637

    Aaron637 Puritan Board Freshman

    Why quibble over the word preach. In context i obviously wasn't talking about getting up in front of a church to preach/teach the word. I would argue the segment of the LBC is referring to teaching scripture in general not sharing the gospel or even street preaching.

    I think you're straining a gnat and trying to find issue where there really isnt one.

    All Christians should be able to explain the gospel to an unbeliever. I am concerned at times how some here quote confessions as if they are infallible just like the RCC holds the early church fathers almost on parity with scripture itself.

    For me, the LBC is a codified summary of what i have come to believe through prayer and study of the word. I dont go to confessions to find out what i should believe - it was compiled by mere men like u and i. Granted i respect them as brothers but not fathers - all men may err and such blind trust in tradition is what lead to the downfall of the RCC (prior to them the pharisees). Quote scripture for substantiation not confessions.
  7. MW

    MW Puritanboard Amanuensis

    Romans 10:15, "And how shall they preach, except they be sent?"

    1 Corinthians 1:17, "For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel."

    The Confession is not being placed above Scripture. The Confession is being placed above your opinion. I think you will agree that your opinion is not Scripture and it is not infallible.

    The saying of our Lord only showed how hypocritical it is to strain at gnats whilst swallowing camels. There was nothing against straining at gnats. People generally don't like eating bugs with their food and will take some care to remove them.
  8. Aaron637

    Aaron637 Puritan Board Freshman

    A confession is a formulation of an opinion of pastors 500 yrs ago. Also not infallible. Im not saying im infallible im saying dont quote men as substantiation.

    What do u do with this scripture?

    Philippians 1:15-18New King James Version (NKJV)

    15 Some indeed preach Christ even from envy and strife, and some also from goodwill: 16 The former[a] preach Christ from selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my chains; 17 but the latter out of love, knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the gospel. 18 What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is preached; and in this I rejoice, yes, and will rejoice.

    Paul rejoiced people were preaching the gospel. Irrespective of their motive.

    Also...sorry for using the gnat analogy. Nitpicking is synonym without biblical connotations.

    Ps - i didn't read the part where someone had defined the word preaching - my bad. Apologies - i would have used a different word had i have realized.
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2015
  9. Alan D. Strange

    Alan D. Strange Puritan Board Senior

    When I say that the view on the function of evangelist (is it something that has ceased or does it continue in some sense?) is not monolithic in the Reformed and Presbyterian world, I mean just that. There have been and are various views on it, including those of Calvin, Owen, and many who agree with that position. There have also been other views, evidenced by what I cited for the OPC and what Scott has cited for the PCA. Similar sorts of things could be cited for the CRC or RCA.

    What's important to remember here in the particular outworking of church polity is that it is tertiary (whereas the doctrinal standards are secondary and the Scriptures primary). Polity was placed not in systematics at Old Princeton but in church history, with Samuel Miller serving as the first professor of ecclesiastical history and polity. So to say that it's not monolithic is to say that Reformed and Presbyterian churches have not held and articulated only one view on the matter.

    Quoting Calvin and Owen does not resolve the entire matter any more than quoting particular persons resolves the matter (which has been and continues to be differently viewed) as to whether the minister and the elder hold the same office. I rather strongly believe that they do not (this is far clearer to me, and more pertinent, than the "evangelist" question); at the same time, I recognize that this has been an issue over which good men have and do differ and I do not present it as monolithic. There has been, and is, some diversity among confessional men on this question and it does not make for the peace and unity of the churches to pretend otherwise.

  10. Ken

    Ken Puritan Board Freshman

    As I agree to the Westminster Standards, the Bible is my final authority; considering, I have never found sufficient scriptural evidence to support cessationism, I am not willing to put that constraint on the gifts from my LORD and Savior Jesus Christ. Concerning the Apostles, I believe the Bible is clear, these are those commissioned by Jesus Christ; concerning this, I believe Paul was commissioned by the risen Christ. I am not saying we have Apostles among us today, that would be very difficult to prove; what I am saying, is I believe, even the risen Christ can commission an Apostle if it be His will.

    I hope you do not consider this one of the "basic points of salvation history and that of fellowship "exhortive and encouraging.""? I believe we are like minded in these matters.

    Do you have definitive Biblical scriptural evidence to support cessationism?

    God bless you and keep you,
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2015
  11. earl40

    earl40 Puritan Board Professor

    I am in discussion on what an evangelist is on another forum and what I have found is that both the PCA and OPC limit the work of the evangelist to TE though the BCO in the PCA appears to endorse the layity to take on the role of an evangelist by the words highligted below.

    8-3. It belongs to those in the office of elder, both severally and jointly, to
    watch diligently over the flock committed to his charge, that no corruption of
    doctrine or of morals enter therein. They must exercise government and
    discipline, and take oversight not only of the spiritual interests of the particular
    church, but also the Church generally when called thereunto. They should visit
    the people at their homes, especially the sick. They should instruct the
    ignorant, comfort the mourner, nourish and guard the children of the Church.
    They should set a worthy example to the flock entrusted to their care by their
    zeal to evangelize the unconverted and make disciples.

    Of course I read that it is encouraging to see our elders do their job and I understand I am to "minister though I am not a Minister" via a witness to Jesus in likewise manner, though I would not take on the title of TE or evangelist or Minister as described in scripture and taught in our standards. I think the word "example" may be the "problem in that the laity many believe if they do what the TE Minister, and Evangelists does it makes them an evangelist in the same way our standards spell out. Also what I think a problem may be is that our Pastors are really too humble and do not want to claim their biblical responsibility and work upon themselves to the exclusion of the laity. For some reason this would not a problem with myself at all for even doctors who would say it is OK to practice a basic level of medicine but would balk at the idea of calling oneself a Dr. if all you do is give aspirin and place band aids on minor cuts. The same goes for the laity in that we are to witness (put on band aids) but it is not practicing evangelism in the proper sense as described in our BCO.
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2015
  12. KMK

    KMK Administrator Staff Member


    If you reread my posts, you will notice that I am not arguing with you but trying to help you to understand the confessional language that is used on this discussion board. 'Preach' and 'evangelist' mean something different in the language of the confessions than it does in the world of broad evangelicalism today.

    This is the PURITAN Board. We are all puritans at heart who love the Reformed confessions. We have voluntarily submitted ourselves to, not only the confessions, but to the rules of the Puritanboard because we love to talk about puritan theology. Puritan theology is decidedly cessationist. There are many places on the internet one can go to argue in favor of continuationism. This is not one of them.

    Check out this thread from the Forum Rules: http://www.puritanboard.com/f58/what-reformed-board-24779/
  13. Ken

    Ken Puritan Board Freshman


    Noted, I will refrain with this link to ponder: The WCF and the Cessation of Special Revelation -- Milne

    Here is an article addressing this issue: Modern Spiritual Gifts as Analogous to Apostolic Gifts: Affirming Extraordinary Works of the Spirit within Cessationist Theology

    It appears I my be just quibbling over semantics, my apologies.

    God bless you and keep you,
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2015
  14. Toasty

    Toasty Puritan Board Sophomore

    If he means that it is every Christian's responsibility to talk to non-Christians about how God saves His people from their sins, then I would agree with him.
  15. Cymro

    Cymro Puritan Board Junior

    Perhaps Acts8:1-4 would be helpful to the discussion."therefore those that were scattered abroad went everywhere preaching the word." It seems that the church at Jerusalem were dispersed by persecution to several regions,the Apostles exempted. Barnes is useful on this:- "Preaching the word,"--Greek; "evangelising",or announcing the good news of the message of mercy, or the word of God. This is not the usual word which is rendered "preach," but it means simply announcing the good news of salvation. There is no evidence,nor is there any probability, that these persons were "ordained"to preach. They were manifestly common Christians who were scattered by persecution,and the meaning is, that they communicated
    to their fellow-men in conversation wherever they met them. It is not said that they set themselves up for public teachers, or that they administered baptism, or that they founded churches, but they proclaimed everywhere the news that a saviour had come. Their hearts were full of it. Out of the
    abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. It is right for all Christians to make known the truths of the gospel. When the heart is full the lips will speak, and there is no impropriety in their speaking of redemption than of anything else."
  16. timmopussycat

    timmopussycat Puritan Board Junior

    That is eactly the biblical position. These men who were scattered, and of whom there is no evidence that they were ordained in any way, engaged in "evangelising" the good news. The specific exeption who was ordained, i.e., Philip, was not included with this group but has his adventures described later.
  17. Cymro

    Cymro Puritan Board Junior

    It has come to memory that at one time in the distant past I heard the Doctor teach
    that they "gossiped the gospel"
  18. Jeri Tanner

    Jeri Tanner Moderator Staff Member

    May I bring up a question about this text? The first thing I thought of when I read the Acts 8:1-4 hyperlinked text is that the very next verse does seem to link Phillip with the "all" and the "those" who were scattered and went about evangelizing. The way it is put, it seems that verse 5 hones in on Phillip doing what the people in verse 4 were doing. I am asking if this is a possible reading of the text. And then, is the text saying that every single Christian man and woman and household left Jerusalem, except for the apostles? And that they all (men and women!) were going about (Gk. dierchomai) "evangelizing the logos"? Could the "all" in verse 1 and the "those" in verse 4 mean men of a certain type, especially since they are contrasted with the apostles who remained in Jerusalem. I agree that all Christians are to bear witness to what God has done for them, and must necessarily include in that testimony the claims of the gospel, and that we greatly joy in doing so! But I have questions about the Acts 8 text being one to use in regard to lay "witnessing". I would love any further insight on this!
  19. earl40

    earl40 Puritan Board Professor

    So may I humbly ask if Our Lord scattered abroad all these sheep with no Pastors or elders?
  20. Cymro

    Cymro Puritan Board Junior

    Whilst Phillip was a deacon, it seems that he "graduated" to the office of evangelist, or rather was appointed to it. For Acts 21:8 calls him an evangelist. So he was sent to evangelise Samaria,which had already been prepared by our Lord's ministry. And as noted above, the word preach in v5 is different to that of v4, for here it means to herald or to cry forth, or to proclaim with a cry. Which would indicate the preaching mode in contrast to the gossiping or conversing the gospel by the laity. It seems that there was the whole scale persecution of the church in order to disperse the Christians, which in the providence of God was the means of spreading the gospel. One only has to look at the persecution of the
    Saints in Syria and the Middle East, and their mass exodus to other nations, to identify with the scenario in Acts8. Think it not strange then that the Jerusalem church was likewise forced to flee to other regions.
  21. NaphtaliPress

    NaphtaliPress Administrator Staff Member

  22. Cymro

    Cymro Puritan Board Junior

    If I might humbly reply Earl, why not? You have a number of instances where this was so. Mark6:34,"And Jesus,when He came out, saw much people, and was moved with compassion toward them , because they were as sheep not having a shepherd: and He began to teach them many things." Did not our Lord teach in John 10,"the wolf catcheth them and, and scatterth the sheep?" And the great Shepherd chapter in Ez 34 portrays a similar state of a flock without pastors or shepherds. So v5"and they were scattered because there was no shepherd," and "my flock was scattered, and none did search or seek after them."
  23. Jeri Tanner

    Jeri Tanner Moderator Staff Member

    That's so very helpful! Thanks for sharing it.
  24. MW

    MW Puritanboard Amanuensis

    James Bannerman is more precise (Church of Christ, 2:309):

  25. timmopussycat

    timmopussycat Puritan Board Junior

    In the short term, yes, in the long term no. When the Jerusalem church learned that men " of Cyprus and Cyrene" who were among those "scattered because of the persecution that had arose over Stephen" had spoken the word to Hellenists at Antioch and "a great number believed and turned to the Lord" they sent Barnabas. (Acts 11:19-22) It is noteworthy that Luke's description of the men "of Cyprus and Cyrene (modern Libya)" excludes the ordained "Nicolaus, a proselyte of Antioch (Acts 6:5) whom one might otherwise have thought to have been involved in this work.

    First, regular order does not come into the Acts 11 situation which was clearly irregular by Bannerman's standards of an "extraordinary emergency." Second, there is no statement that these men from Cyprus and Cyrene were ordained. If in fact they were, at least two of the four possible Acts 7 deacons who could be meant here must have been from Cyprus and Cyrene. (We know Stephen wasn't there - already deceased. We know Philip didn't get this far and Nicolaus the proselyte is excluded because he was from Antioch, not Cyprus or Cyrene.) So iit must be left an open question whether or not these men were ordained. Finally, those called by God to preach can do so, even if not yet ordained by the church, as we see routinely in cases of men in training for ordination.
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2015
  26. Reformed Roman

    Reformed Roman Puritan Board Freshman

    The main argument isn't that any member of the church should preach from the pulpit. That's a separate topic compared to proclaiming the gospel outside the church
  27. toddpedlar

    toddpedlar Iron Dramatist

    Would you explain to me/us the difference between preaching from the pulpit (in which, presumably, gospel truth is proclaimed) and proclaiming the gospel on a street corner?


  28. MW

    MW Puritanboard Amanuensis

    Acts 8. If irregular, it is no standard for the regular situation of a settled church order.

    There is no statement that they were not ordained, and the only examples of preaching in the following narrative, which is doubtless enlarging on the succinct statement under question, is of ordained men. So the weight of testimony inclines towards Prof. Bannerman's position, and there is no testimony to support the contrary.
  29. timmopussycat

    timmopussycat Puritan Board Junior

    But if a particular aspect of irregular order is not specifically addressed when regular order is introduced, that aspect must, be assumed to continue under the regular order.

    There is no statement that they were not ordained, and the only examples of preaching in the following narrative, which is doubtless enlarging on the succinct statement under question, is of ordained men. So the weight of testimony inclines towards Prof. Bannerman's position, and there is no testimony to support the contrary.[/QUOTE]

    "Doubtless" = begging the question: not only we are specifically told that the men from Cyprus and Cyrene "preached (i.e., evangelized) the Lord Jesus" (Acts 11:20), we don't see the verb "preaching" mentioned even once in the subsequent narrative in that chapter. As for the men who were doing the teaching in Antioch in the later part of that narrative: from what we know it seems that Saul was simply brought in by Barnabas' sole decision with no reference to a church ordination, and we don't know whether Barnabas had been ordained to any office by the Jerusalem church before they sent him out. We don't even know whether the church at Antioch had fully formed during this period since we know from other instances of a gospel reaching a city that the believers remained members of the local synogogues for as long as they could.

    When only one ordination had taken place in church history to this point, and that an ordination to waiting on tables rather than teaching, presuming that the Jerusalem church had recognized the need for ordained evangelists prior to the persecution leads one to ask the question why they would have seen the need for such an office. The apostles were already devoting themselves to prayer and teaching, and with all of them still based in Jerusalem there would have been no need for such.

    Clearly not all are called to teach and preach formally within the church, lacking both the necessary God given gifting and the external call of the church. But, as has previously been noted, a man gifted for the task and with a correct understanding of the message will not be acting in love if he does not share the gospel as he has opportunity.
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2015
  30. timmopussycat

    timmopussycat Puritan Board Junior

    Do you think Luke would have called it a "great persecution" if it resulted in scattering only the six remaining table servants (the only ordained persons outside the Apostles)?
    Given the severity of what Saul was doing, do you think only the six were scattered?
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