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Evangelism, Missions and the Persecuted Church discuss Is the Great Commission only to Apostles? in the The Church forums; (This thought is in line with chaplinintraining's question on evangelism... but a little different, so I bring it up here, so as not to sidetrack ...

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    Mrs. Bailey's Avatar
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    Is the Great Commission only to Apostles?

    (This thought is in line with chaplinintraining's question on evangelism... but a little different, so I bring it up here, so as not to sidetrack that thread.)

    I've been involved in various evangelistic outreaches and mission trips for much of my adult life (some before our family was in the "reformed" camp). They have been a great personal blessing for me and I hope most of all pleasing to the Lord. I have had the chance to share the Gospel directly, to provide mercy, to encourage missionaries in-country and to do the "behind the scenes" admin stuff that has allowed others to do these things.

    Currently, and for the past 5 years, my Husband and I have lead summer trips from our church (under the PCA's missions branch) to a Native Reservation in our state.

    Just recently, someone told me that the Great Commission given to the Apostles was not meant for me.... (read: unordained to baptize, woman, whatever) because it applies only to ordained ministers of the Gospel. "Missions" should only be applied to ordained church-planting operations.....

    I truly believe that it is our imperative (all believers) to always be able to share a reason for our hope, but this is so discouraging to hear. This mincing words of missions/outreach/evangelism/mercy..... It seems like a slam to every dedicated effort on growing the kingdom but a non-ordained Christian.

    I go from livid to sad in my reactions to this (sometimes cycling very quickly) and I need some godly perspective. This is not about me or any hurt pride, but my desire for God to be glorified.

    I would appreciate your thoughts and scripture back ups on this issue.
    Ju
    PCA Washington State, US

    Wife of Brian (George Bailey), mom of Breanna (Piano Hero) and Andrew
    Blessed is the man whose trust is in the Lord, He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit. Jeremiah 17:7,8

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    Greetings Mrs Bailey.

    Contextually the "Great Commission" was given to the apostles. But I quickly add that it was not only for the apostles; if that were the case the Commission would have ended with them.

    Matthew 28:16-20 16 Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had appointed for them. 17 When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some doubted. 18 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 "teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Amen.
    What the Church engages in now is the carrying out the Great Commission under that Apostolic Authority granted by Christ. As to the question of what all comes under the umbrella of that Commission we need to consult the writings of the New Testament. Therein we find who may be sent as preachers, assistants, etc.
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    AustinW is offline. Puritanboard Postgraduate
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    I believe the Great Commission should be understood as a specific command for the Apostles, but not as a limit on who may share the gospel with others. The principle of expanding the kingdom and reaching your neighbors applies to everyone, but that doesn't mean Christ didn't intend the Great Commission for the Apostles in particular.

    It is similar to when people try to take Jesus' sending of the 72 and use the rules he gave them (e.g. take only one tunic) as rules for missionaries today. Jesus didn't intend it to be a rule for anyone but the 72. Nevertheless, the principle of depending on God for provision still applies to everyone, even if the rule to take only one tunic does not. Does that help a little?

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    Mrs. Bailey,

    I understand your distress as this was presented to me about a year ago and saddened me deeply because a group from my church would out weekly. However, in the end I did not find the argument persuasive.

    First off note that in the great commission itself Jesus says the apostles are to be, "teaching them [the disciples the apostles make] to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age."

    I would ask the opponent of this if one of the things Jesus commanded the apostles was the Great Commission (as it is called) yes, He just did, so why would the apostles only pass that down to a select group and not to all the disciples they made?

    Also is the promise "I am with you always, even to the end of the age" from Jesus only to the disciples? Well yes, He spoke it to them but it is also a promise for us.

    I would point to the examples of what followed the Great Commission mandate of Jesus and how the apostles carried it out and did it. Obviously we see the apostles evangelizing but notice the following verses:

    Notice in the following passage who is left behind (no pre-trib pun intended ) and notice who preaches (emphasis mine):

    Acts 8:

    1And Saul was consenting unto his death. And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles.

    2And devout men carried Stephen to his burial, and made great lamentation over him.

    3As for Saul, he made havock of the church, entering into every house, and haling men and women committed them to prison.

    4Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word.
    --

    Acts 11:

    19Now they which were scattered abroad upon the persecution that arose about Stephen travelled as far as Phenice, and Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching the word to none but unto the Jews only.

    20And some of them were men of Cyprus and Cyrene, which, when they were come to Antioch, spake unto the Grecians, preaching the LORD Jesus.

    21And the hand of the Lord was with them: and a great number believed, and turned unto the Lord.
    --

    Acts 6:5 tells us that one of the first deacons was Philip but we see him involved in cross-cultural missions (emphasis mine):

    Acts 8:

    5Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ unto them.

    ...

    Acts 8:25-40

    25And they, when they had testified and preached the word of the Lord, returned to Jerusalem, and preached the gospel in many villages of the Samaritans.

    26And the angel of the Lord spake unto Philip, saying, Arise, and go toward the south unto the way that goeth down from Jerusalem unto Gaza, which is desert.

    27And he arose and went: and, behold, a man of Ethiopia, an eunuch of great authority under Candace queen of the Ethiopians, who had the charge of all her treasure, and had come to Jerusalem for to worship,

    28Was returning, and sitting in his chariot read Esaias the prophet.

    29Then the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot.

    30And Philip ran thither to him, and heard him read the prophet Esaias, and said, Understandest thou what thou readest?

    31And he said, How can I, except some man should guide me? And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him.

    32The place of the scripture which he read was this, He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb dumb before his shearer, so opened he not his mouth:

    33In his humiliation his judgment was taken away: and who shall declare his generation? for his life is taken from the earth.

    34And the eunuch answered Philip, and said, I pray thee, of whom speaketh the prophet this? of himself, or of some other man?

    35Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus.

    36And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?

    37And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.

    38And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him.

    39And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing.

    40But Philip was found at Azotus: and passing through he preached in all the cities, till he came to Caesarea.
    Of course those are just examples what about imperatives to all?

    1 Peter is enough for me, first note the audience and the author (an apostle):

    Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ,
    To those who are elect exiles of a the dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia
    and look what he tells them in 1 Peter 2:9:

    "But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light."
    So go, preach the gospel to every creature, proclaim the excellencies of Jesus, for He has saved us, how can we not tell of this good news?

  5. #5
    Der Pilger is offline. Puritanboard Freshman
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    Something else to consider is Eph. 4:8-13 (NASB):

    8Therefore it says,
    "WHEN HE ASCENDED ON HIGH,
    HE LED CAPTIVE A HOST OF CAPTIVES,
    AND HE GAVE GIFTS TO MEN."

    9(Now this expression, "He ascended," what does it mean except that He also had descended into the lower parts of the earth?

    10He who descended is Himself also He who ascended far above all the heavens, so that He might fill all things.)

    11And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers,

    12for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ;

    13until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.
    At first glance it would seem that if those who are evangelists are to equip the church "for the work of service," then that work of service must be evangelism, at least in some manner. That is their purpose: to equip the saints to do that particular work of service.

    But on second thought, this might not work so well. By this logic, we would have to conclude that those who are pastors are equipping all the saints to be pastors, those who are apostles are equipping all the saints to be apostles, and so on.

    So, then, the question is: What exactly is it that these "evangelists" do for the church? Perhaps the answer lies in Paul's second description of what all these gifted people do: "building up [εἰς οἰκοδομὴν] of the body of Christ." Perhaps their function is defined strictly by this second phrase that Paul uses, particularly the words "eis oikodomein," which could indicate the making of a building, i.e., the increase of the church. If that's true, then maybe Paul was saying that the evangelists' purpose was not really that of training but rather in bringing people into--building up--the church.

    Just another passage to consider relating to this topic.
    Jeremy

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    Contra_Mundum's Avatar
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    v.11 lists four "gifts" to the church: apostles to establish and settle it;

    prophets to finish NT revelation and to provide in the absence of that finished writing, and in their trail simple preachers (heralds) of that same word after inscripturation;

    evangelists who were extraordinarily missionary-men and assistants to the apostles (and in present presbyterian polity, similarly gifted and church-authorized men),

    and the pastors-teachers (the elders, without distinctions).

    v.12 is properly parsed in the older KJV, and infelicitously parsed in many recent translations. The "work of the ministry" is one of the three reasons listed for the "pastors-teachers" et al, in the previous verse; along with "equipping the saints" and "building up {or edifying} the body of Christ {that is the church}."


    Jeremy,
    If one follows the reasoning presented in your post (though I'm not persuaded of the propriety of putting one-for-one), and a more accurate reading of v.12 as I have proposed it, with the exception of the extraordinary office of apostle (and treating "prophets" as inclusive of the preachers of the gospel):
    1) prophets/preachers equip the saints;
    2) evangelists do the work of the ministry; and
    3) pastors-teachers build up the body of Christ.
    As I said, I do not think either this, or your previous suggestion, properly understands the passage. All three of these functions belong specifically to the successors to the apostles, in some degree--either by direct participation as chief officers (ministers/TEs), or by fortification/support (elders/REs).
    Rev. Bruce G. Buchanan
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    Der Pilger is offline. Puritanboard Freshman
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    Quote Originally Posted by Contra_Mundum View Post
    v.11 lists four "gifts" to the church: apostles to establish and settle it;

    prophets to finish NT revelation and to provide in the absence of that finished writing, and in their trail simple preachers (heralds) of that same word after inscripturation;

    evangelists who were extraordinarily missionary-men and assistants to the apostles (and in present presbyterian polity, similarly gifted and church-authorized men),

    and the pastors-teachers (the elders, without distinctions).

    v.12 is properly parsed in the older KJV, and infelicitously parsed in many recent translations. The "work of the ministry" is one of the three reasons listed for the "pastors-teachers" et al, in the previous verse; along with "equipping the saints" and "building up {or edifying} the body of Christ {that is the church}."
    Thanks for pointing out that distinction. The way the NASB renders it, it looks like just two functions.


    Jeremy,
    If one follows the reasoning presented in your post (though I'm not persuaded of the propriety of putting one-for-one), and a more accurate reading of v.12 as I have proposed it, with the exception of the extraordinary office of apostle (and treating "prophets" as inclusive of the preachers of the gospel):
    1) prophets/preachers equip the saints;
    2) evangelists do the work of the ministry; and
    3) pastors-teachers build up the body of Christ.
    As I said, I do not think either this, or your previous suggestion, properly understands the passage. All three of these functions belong specifically to the successors to the apostles, in some degree--either by direct participation as chief officers (ministers/TEs), or by fortification/support (elders/REs).
    I would tend to agree with this latter view you presented. I've always read the passage to mean that all three (or two, if you go by the NASB :-) ) of the functions belong to each of the gifted people in the preceding verse. I have not even begun to study this passage in depth, so my thoughts on all this are tentative, but on the face of it, separating the three functions and assigning only one to each office seems forced, although your description of evangelists as "extraordinarily missionary-men and assistants to the apostles" does seem to support the idea that their predominant sphere of ministry was "the work of the ministry" with the apostles rather than "build[ing] up the body of Christ.
    Jeremy

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    1. "...to the end of the age..." would indicate that it is an ongoing obligation on the church to fufil.
    2. To "make disciples of all nations" would also suggest it was something that would require far more time than the apostles had left on this earth.
    3. William Carey wrestled with this problem within the contemporary church. His conclusion was the great commission had not been fulfilled nor cancelled and therefore the church still had to engage in it.

    I do not believe for one minute the great commission applies to a certain category of Christians within the church but is an obligation on all Christians to be involved in the task.
    Stuart
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    Carson addresses this specifically in a chapter entitled "Ongoing Imperative for World Mission" in The Great Commission (Ed. by Martin Klauber and Scott Manetsch). He presents an alternative reading (similar to those suggested above) that would be necessary to exclude all believers other than the apostles. He is a bit more colorful, offering this directive from Jesus to the apostles concerning the making of disciples: "Teach them to obey everthing I have commanded you, except for this commandment to make disciples. Keep their grubby hands off that one, since it belongs only to you, my dear apostles." He then says that "the ludicrousness of this reading merely has to be spelled out; the laughter will take care of the rest." In addition, he refutes a number of other objections to the idea of missions today.
    Steve Curtis, DMin
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    It seems "obvious" to this interpreter that since the G.C. "obviously" applies to every believer in exactly the same way, then its a bit of "cherry-picking" to tell everyone that they need only feel the weight of obligation with respect to the matter of making disciples, but NOT ALSO that they must feel equally the obligation to baptize AND teach those same persons.

    I'm laughing uproariously at the thought that anyone could have missed this... Who needs the Church and the Ministry anyway? Everyone is competent to teach and to baptize--i.e. "make disciples."

    Really?


    The important thing to remember is that we are not to impose obligation further than higher authority has assigned it. This is simply the matter of the limits of church-power. If the command of Christ here applies to all in the same, undifferentiated manner, then all have the duty to complete the obligation under the obligatory manner also prescribed.

    That not every Christian is competent to teach or authorized to baptize (and I could go farther and say the same thing of both) should not even be debatable.
    Rev. Bruce G. Buchanan
    ChainOLakes Presbyterian Church, CentralLake, MI

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    Der Pilger is offline. Puritanboard Freshman
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    Quote Originally Posted by Contra_Mundum View Post
    It seems "obvious" to this interpreter that since the G.C. "obviously" applies to every believer in exactly the same way, then its a bit of "cherry-picking" to tell everyone that they need only feel the weight of obligation with respect to the matter of making disciples, but NOT ALSO that they must feel equally the obligation to baptize AND teach those same persons.

    I'm laughing uproariously at the thought that anyone could have missed this... Who needs the Church and the Ministry anyway? Everyone is competent to teach and to baptize--i.e. "make disciples."

    Really?


    The important thing to remember is that we are not to impose obligation further than higher authority has assigned it. This is simply the matter of the limits of church-power. If the command of Christ here applies to all in the same, undifferentiated manner, then all have the duty to complete the obligation under the obligatory manner also prescribed.

    That not every Christian is competent to teach or authorized to baptize (and I could go farther and say the same thing of both) should not even be debatable.
    I think this is a strong point:

    "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." (Mt. 28:19-20, NASB)

    The Great Commission involves more than just communicating the gospel message; it also involves teaching and baptizing. This teaching and baptizing, if I'm not mistaken, are expressed with participles, indicating that these activities were to be going on at the same time that they were to "go ... and make disciples." It seems that many, though, are content with choosing which of these they shall do. The command of Christ does not allow for such freedom. It would be a stretch to think that after Christ said this to his disciples, they then sat down and said, "Okay, who wants to teach the gospel? You? Great. Now who wants to take on the part of baptizing?"
    Jeremy

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    a mere housewife's Avatar
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    There is the opposite danger though of being too easily assuaged by the 'it's not my responsibility to do this' to be comfortable in our lack of zeal for the lost. Proverbs says 'he that winneth souls is wise'. It wasn't speaking only to ministers when it said that. In our callings, we should desire to be part of the salvation of other people, surely -- this is why Christ came into the world, and as we are in the world to serve Him we should share the same heart?

    I had a question perhaps stemming off of this -- maybe properly it should belong to another thread? Is the 'Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the world' then not applicable to me, and to the average layperson?
    Heidi
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    But I have asked my Jesus to live his life in me . . .
    Behold his warm, his tangible, his dear humanity.'
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    Der Pilger is offline. Puritanboard Freshman
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    In all honesty, I'm divided on this topic, and I am still thinking through it. I can say for sure, though, that it's vital not to go beyond the limits of Scripture. The Bible does not explicitly prohibit all Christians from communicating the gospel. At the same time, it does not explicitly command all of them to do so. What it does command us to do, though, is to love our neighbors as ourselves. Such love necessarily seeks to do what is best for the one loved. Since our neighbor's greatest need is divine reconciliation, the one who truly loves would surely want to impart the very message that can lead to that reconciliation.

    Having said that, lately I have tended to lean more in the direction of limiting gospel preaching to called, trained ministers. I have seen and heard some pretty abysmal teachings and modes of presentation among those who are not theologically trained, not only with respect to the gospel but also with respect to Christian doctrine in general. The latter has led me to eschew the house-church movement, with its strongly anti-clergy leanings.
    Jeremy

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    What it does command us to do, though, is to love our neighbors as ourselves. Such love necessarily seeks to do what is best for the one loved. Since our neighbor's greatest need is divine reconciliation, the one who truly loves would surely want to impart the very message that can lead to that reconciliation.
    Yes, the ordinary people spread abroad by the persecution of Stephen went everywhere gossiping the Word.

    Joshua, no; I didn't mean to accuse you of arguing against such a point -- only that I think it's another danger very easy to fall into.
    Heidi
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    For he was strong and selfless, and I am tied to me.
    But I have asked my Jesus to live his life in me . . .
    Behold his warm, his tangible, his dear humanity.'
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    Pardon me, but I have difficulty seeing how laity are meant to be sticking to their positions and fully leave the ministry of God's word to ministers, and yet somehow be involved in some sort of sharing of God's word with others on a day-to-day basis and having a zeal to actively share the gospel with others. I'm rather split on this issue. On one hand, I have seen many try to teach the bible in parachurch settings like university fellowships and getting many fundamental doctrines awfully wrong, yet on the other hand if the laity are not meant to generally teach God's word, that means that whatever bible study sessions I have been having with my friends are contradictory to God's commands. Conversations I have with those around me often end up with me sharing some doctrines or the gospel itself, so am I undermining the ministry of ministers? I know that I would eventually enter full-time ministry, but circumstances prevent me from pursuing theological education for another decade or so. So until the day I become an ordained minister or at least take on deaconship, am I bound by scriptures to not doing any teaching at all? Indeed proper equipping needs to be given prior to any teaching being done and the main source of teaching and pastoral care should come mainly from ministers, but where do we draw the line. I don't mean to give the impression that I'm pushing for the position of laity teaching, just wondering if I am sinning everyday when I'm sharing with my friends and housemates the whole counsel of God.
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    (I really do need to figure out how to correctly quote ) A mere housewife said: "There is the opposite danger though of being too easily assuaged by the 'it's not my responsibility to do this' to be comfortable in our lack of zeal for the lost. Proverbs says 'he that winneth souls is wise'. It wasn't speaking only to ministers when it said that. In our callings, we should desire to be part of the salvation of other people, surely -- this is why Christ came into the world, and as we are in the world to serve Him we should share the same heart?"

    I am greatly appreciating the conversation and ALL of you who have expressed your thoughts on this. Heidi here, speaks my heart on this....

    So, were any of you led to Christ by a non-ordained person? Have you been discipled or encouraged in your faith by a non-ordained person? Does that invalidate your conversion? If our efforts are not theologically precise, does that damn us and any we share Christ with? Should we stop now? Do we have false hope in this direction where we are efforting to be faithful?

    And, I guess I want to ask in humble hope: those of you who are ordained by your church to preach, teach, evangelize, and baptize. Are you being faithful to your calling? Tell me how you are sharing and how the Lord has blessed your ministry, if you would. And where you see your laity in sharing your burden to teach the gospel?

    Your sister,
    Ju
    PCA Washington State, US

    Wife of Brian (George Bailey), mom of Breanna (Piano Hero) and Andrew
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    FWIW

    Institutes: IV VIII 11

    The Church, they say, has the noble promise that she will never be deserted by Christ her spouse, but be guided by his Spirit into all truth. But of the promises which they are wont to allege, many were given not less to private believers than to the whole Church. For although the Lord spake to the twelve apostles, when he said, "Lo! I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world," (Matth. 28: 20) and again, "I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever: even the Spirit of truth," (John 14: 16, 17,) he made these promises not only to the twelve, but to each of them separately, nay, in like manner, to other disciples whom he already had received or was afterwards to receive. When they interpret these promises, which are replete with consolation, in such a way as if they were not given to any particular Christian but to the whole Church together, what else is it but to deprive Christians of the confidence which they ought thence to have derived, to animate them in their course? I deny not that the whole body of the faithful is furnished with a manifold variety of gifts and endued with a far larger and richer treasure of heavenly wisdom than each Christian apart; nor do I mean that this was said of believers in general, as implying that all possess the spirit of wisdom and knowledge in an equal degree: but we are not to give permission to the adversaries of Christ to defend a bad cause, by wresting Scripture from its proper meaning.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Contra_Mundum View Post
    ...not every Christian is competent to teach or authorized to baptize (and I could go farther and say the same thing of both) should not even be debatable.
    Do you believe that the command to "teach" is only in regards to a pastor teaching? Are not the older to teach the younger, even older women teaching the younger women in some context (obviously not preaching from the pulpit on a Sunday), a parent to teach their children, or must that only be left up to ordained ministers?

    Also where in Scripture is baptism commanded only for ordained ministers?

    ---------- Post added at 04:59 AM ---------- Previous post was at 04:57 AM ----------

    I have had this discussion in person and online and have never heard a rebuttal to this still:

    Quote Originally Posted by jason d View Post
    1 Peter is enough for me, first note the audience and the author (an apostle):

    Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ,
    To those who are elect exiles of a the dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia
    and look what he tells them in 1 Peter 2:9:

    "But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light."

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    Quote Originally Posted by Joshua View Post
    I think most ideas surrounding the modern day understanding of "evangelism" is a product of several things:

    1. Revivalism - Since Finney and beyond there's this pressing for decisions, etc. that has so pervaded "evangelicalism," I believe this has trickled down to the more "Broadly Reformed" folks' understanding of what evangelism is. The ministers then impress upon the layfolk of how they ought to be "evangelizing." This pressure mounts and everyone's all of a sudden a missionary. Sure, folks may not be pressing them to say the sinners prayer, etc. but they take upon themselves the mantle of being the "ministers of reconciliation," when that responsibility, duty, and privilege are for ministers. They are the ones beseeching the lay folk to be reconciled unto Christ.

    2. Egalitarianism - Flowing from Revivalism, since now every Christian is a missionary proper, there is this idea that everyone must be a "soul winner." It doesn't matter if they can't properly articulate the Scriptures or not. It doesn't matter if they are inverts who shutter at the thought of talking to complete strangers in awkward moments of confrontation. No, "God can use it." That's not the point, however. From this, I think arises the greatest detriment that has been a result of revivalism:

    3. Misunderstanding of Calling - Christians are to be contented in their place and stations and do what it is with which they are gifted really well. THIS is the mark of a Christian. And, if those gifts be ministering, teaching, articulating the gospel, and they meet all the other qualifications of an elder, then the local session will recognize such, present said man to presbytery, and the rightful process will be undertaken to accomplish such. The problem with modern day thoughts of "evangelists" is a result of folks being discontent with their place and station, and wanting something different than that to which they are rightly gifted and called. They see some kind of romantic view of what ministry is and aspire towards.

    It is a noble thing to desire to be an officer in the Church Paul tells us. No doubt. But there is a process to getting there, and the ministry belongs to ministers.
    How would you then counter the Arminian-revivalist argument that Calvinism destroys evangelism and missions, since it is their habit to "encourage" laymen to go "cold" evangelism, door-to-door tracting or street preaching?

    And how about the truth re-founded by the Reformation - the priesthood of all believers?
    LTL
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    Quote Originally Posted by jason d View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Contra_Mundum View Post
    ...not every Christian is competent to teach or authorized to baptize (and I could go farther and say the same thing of both) should not even be debatable.
    Do you believe that the command to "teach" is only in regards to a pastor teaching? Are not the older to teach the younger, even older women teaching the younger women in some context (obviously not preaching from the pulpit on a Sunday), a parent to teach their children, or must that only be left up to ordained ministers?
    Brother Jason,
    I'm not sure why folks can't read exactly what is printed in the post, and follow the reasoning of another person, except for the fact that they are accustomed to a reader-response form of interpretation of what they ingest.

    Take the time to follow this:
    Jesus gave a commandment in the Great Commission passage. He also gave form to the manner by which that commandment was to be performed. Therefore, to impose the specific obligation upon all Christians is to impose the obligatory manner as well. Therefore, if you feel the weight of the obligation to "make disciples" (whatever you think that means), then you have NO LIBERTY to set aside the manner of its performance.

    If you believe Christ's commandment has been given directly to you, without any mitigations, then you had better be teaching the faith with full accuracy (do consider James 3:1), and you had better be baptizing. Don't you dare fail in either of these requirements. This is simply the logic of the position.

    Now, I don't think that the simple belief that one has been directed to do anything actually confers the authority to perform a deed. Any more than I think a man who "believes" himself competent or authorized to do brain surgery is in fact legitimately so, simply because he thinks so, or thinks he sees a need to act as such.

    What bearing does Titus 2:3 have on the interpretation of Mt.28:18-20? My post doesn't concern itself with the scope of the teaching ministry of the church! It simply addresses the question: on WHOM is the obligation to "make disciples" laid? The men to whom those words were precisely directed were competent (trained in the school of Jesus), and they were being commissioned (ordained, authorized) to this mission. It would be proper to describe this event as a "graduation exercise."


    Another point that needs to be addressed:
    It has been evident throughout this thread that the language: "make disciples" has been assumed--very improperly so--to be synonymous with "share your faith" or "give your testimony" and "get a faith-profession from someone" etc. which translates (for some) into a "disciple-made." Disciples are "made," according to Mt.28:19, by baptizing and teaching; such is the relation of those participles to the main verb in the sentence.

    There is also a major assumption that "sharing the gospel" equals "preaching the gospel." I'm not aware of any explicit command in Scripture to "share" the gospel, however there is a command to "preach" it. And to preach it in a strict and proper sense, one has to be a "herald," a "preacher." No one in the days of the Scripture would have confused an ordinary speaker with a herald of the potentate, regardless of the innate quality or truthfulness of the content of his speech. Passing oneself off as an official herald without authorization was an outlaw action. And folks, Christians in general aren't preachers. Preachers fill an office in the church; they are ordained, and with that ordination comes obligation.

    Consider it this way: You may have a right, under specified circumstances, to perform a "citizen's arrest." But you are not generally authorized by the Power to arrest (in accord with his authorization), or to do any of the other regular functions of a policeman. Nor do you have the right to assume his uniform, badge, or equipage without being branded an impostor. The regular preaching of the gospel is an exercise of church authority in the name of Christ by one of his "officers."



    Now then, for an ordinary citizen of Christ's kingdom to get involved in missions-work, or presenting Christ and his gospel, etc., can be a fine thing. But it needs to be put in its true category, namely the actions of a kingdom-citizen, performing his calling. A housewife is performing her calling when she cooks meals for the family, washes clothes, or has tea with her neighbor and opens up the Bible with her.

    This is important that we understand: There is nothing "extra-spiritual" about going on a missions-trip, nothing that puts such a participant into a "special category" of serious-religious, that is not EQUAL in service to the dishwashing done by the woman who stayed home. When we start thinking like that, we are going down the same road that the monks went, that the whole church went in the Middle Ages, when there was "ordinary life" juxtaposed with the superior labors of the priests, monks, and nuns.

    The mother at home has certain providentially appointed opportunities to teach her children the faith, to trust Christ, to believe the gospel. She has been fully equipped to fulfill the limits of her responsibility--which, incidentally, includes taking the children to church where they are acquainted with the official proclamation, and with even more competent teachers. She does not deserve EVER to be made to feel as though she has not done "enough" if she has not "shared her faith" with her neighbor even once or twice. It might not be her calling! She may not be "outgoing" and garrulous. Being tongue-tied is not a "deed of the flesh" to be overcome by the "fruit of the Spirit"!


    Quote Originally Posted by jason d View Post
    Also where in Scripture is baptism commanded only for ordained ministers?
    It is beyond the scope of this thread to discuss the whole matter of ordination to the ministry, and what duties such appointment involves, and how the sacraments belong to the church, and not to individual Christians. 1Cor.4:1 identifies the apostles as "stewards of the mysteries." Heb.5:4-5 teaches that even Jesus was "appointed" to his office, and those who performed the Levitical office of old were appointed, and did not assume for themselves the right to exercise church-power.

    If you do not understand or accept the limits of your authority within the church, but are a "Leveler" and assume that the general priesthood of all believers has abolished all distinction of order in the church, if in short ecclesiastical anarchy is preferable to all but the flimsiest drape of human authority, then you will not accept that administration of the ordinances of Christ are properly placed in the lap of Ministers of Word and Sacrament.

    I'm not sure how your LBC1689 limits the "sovereign" individual in these matters, but to the degree that the principles of independency work their way out in personal as well as social/ecclesiastical settings, these sorts of tensions regularly manifest themselves.


    Quote Originally Posted by jason d View Post
    I have had this discussion in person and online and have never heard a rebuttal to this still:
    1 Peter 1:1
    Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ,
    To those who are elect exiles of a the dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia
    1 Peter 2:9:
    But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.
    1) The word you highlight, exanggeilete, is not the technical term for a herald's proclamation, "kerusso".

    2) You have here, in fact, divorced this statement from the church-context in which it is set. The words of v9 are collective nouns, and not individual qualities. Further, note v5:
    Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.
    This is a whole building, not individuals. Not everything that is predicable of the whole is predicable of individual parts. No more than a sink in a house is suitable to cook a turkey, is each person in the church suited to do any manner of spiritual sacrifice.

    3) The text you adduce IS, in fact, suitable to establish a general right of any Christian to present to any who will listen the truth of Christ. But this does not at all get down to particulars, nor establish clear duties obligated upon individual Christians.



    Final word:
    Let it not be said that I oppose personal evangelism. Neither I, nor Josh, nor any of the others here are (so far as I know) saying that the open testimony of the truth of God's Word, or the testimony of a changed life, are bad things. But people have enough of Law for their own private callings, without added burdens of false and unscriptural expectations. They do not need "grades" of spirituality, based on "Christian-work" vs. private calling.
    Rev. Bruce G. Buchanan
    ChainOLakes Presbyterian Church, CentralLake, MI

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    Der Pilger is offline. Puritanboard Freshman
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mrs. Bailey View Post
    (I really do need to figure out how to correctly quote )
    Click on "Reply with quote" at the bottom of the post you're responding to. If you want to change any quotes after that, just remember the quote tags: the word quote (with brackets, [ ]) goes before the text your'e quoting, and /quote (again with brackets, [ ] ) immediately follows it.

    So, were any of you led to Christ by a non-ordained person? Have you been discipled or encouraged in your faith by a non-ordained person? Does that invalidate your conversion?
    No, since God can, and sometimes does, work in spite of the means we use. God's use of a particular person or means does not necessarily mean that we should use it. He used cruel, wicked, pagan nations to chastise/punish Israel and then later on punished those very same nations!

    The correct question to ask, IMO, is: What are the scriptural principles for evangelism? What does God say about it? Any ministry needs to be evaluated on a biblical basis--whether it conforms to Scripture--and not on its results. I've heard too many Christians defend a particular ministry merely on the basis of the visible results it produced. For example, once someone defended Promise Keepers on the basis of the sheer numbers of people that came forward during an altar call at one of their events.
    Jeremy

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    Quote Originally Posted by Contra_Mundum View Post
    Final word:
    Let it not be said that I oppose personal evangelism. Neither I, nor Josh, nor any of the others here are (so far as I know) saying that the open testimony of the truth of God's Word, or the testimony of a changed life, are bad things. But people have enough of Law for their own private callings, without added burdens of false and unscriptural expectations. They do not need "grades" of spirituality, based on "Christian-work" vs. private calling.
    You say that you don't oppose personal evangelism but your words have thus discouraged lay people from articulating their faith with others. How can a Christian in good standing with his or her church share the gospel with someone without violating the office of the preacher? Pastors cannot be everywhere at once, but with enough sheep steeped in the Word, we can. Thus, how can a pastor expect to reach his community for the sake of the Gospel without his congregation being the feet?
    Patricia
    Communicant Member
    Zion United Reformed Church
    Ripon, CA

    Give yourself to prayer, to reading and meditation on divine truths: strive to penetrate to the bottom of them and never be content with a superficial knowledge.
    David Brainerd

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    Okay, so for a start there are a few guidelines based on the responses from Josh and Rev Bruce if I understand them correctly. We ought to perform duties according to our calling and gifts. All who preach the word need to be competent and commissioned. Laity do not ordinarily take to the pulpits and perform preaching or baptism. That is not an issue, to me at least. It has also been said that the laity have a general right to proclaim God's word to all who are willing to hear.

    However, practically, where how do we draw a line? When I'm holding uni bible study groups with the permission from my pastor and confine myself to teaching only the basics of the faith, am I already crossing the line? We have less than 10 adults in our congregation for my Australian church, so any sort of a church office for anyone at all doesn't make sense for the time being. So do we all need to have at least a deaconship to be teaching? If I'm telling my friends who are in Arminian and charismatic churches the errors of Arminianism and charismatism, am I already starting to undermine the ministers of their churches? When I study the bible with my housemates every night, a good deal of teaching happens while we are discussing what we have read, so is that unbiblical? Most of my friends are still in charismatic churches and wouldn't even entertain the though of entering a conservative and cessationist church. Ideally, it would be best if they can be directly ministered to by a minister trained in sound doctrines, but where it is not possible yet, am I undermining the pastors of their charismatic churches in letting them know about the gross errors of word-faith, prosperity preaching, extra-biblical revelations and speaking in tongues? It's not an issue with my brethren from within the conservative circles, as I can redirect them back to our ministers. The issue lies with those who are in churches embracing errors, and at times heretical errors. Should I really be telling them, "Well, I have just shared with you what 1 Cor 13 means with regards to cessation. But just so that I am not undermining the pastor from your church, you should go and ask him and submit to the doctrines that he teaches."? Even for exhorting our brethren within conservative churches, where do we draw the line? If I share Ps 23 with a brother who has been having a rough patch, and go on to explain to him what it means, am I undermining the pastoral duty of the my ministers? Or is it absolutely necessary that I stop at telling him to just have a look at Ps 23 and if he does not understand any part of it, then direct him to our pastors? Methinks we need clearer guidelines. A great deal of informal teaching is also taking place on the PB by the laity, so is that unbiblical? We don't strictly need a pulpit and a congregation sitting before us before we do teaching. The effects of some posts by the laity may be read by many and others may be affected by what we say. Should we then be confining all answering of questions on the PB to those holding church office while the laity are only allowed to ask questions?

    With regards to evangelism, my Singapore church regularly holds evangelism sessions where we are led by a deacon and the whole gang of people split up into groups of two to three to knock on doors and pass tracts to residents. If there are any questions or debates, we stick to sharing the basics of the gospel, at times with the help of the tracts. We try to ensure that there is at least a person with enough maturity and understanding of the gospel in each group, but naturally most are laity. Are we doing something unscriptural?

    Okay, I'm not sure if this is out of the left field or something, but my church elder from Singapore asserts that the great commission is not for merely the apostles, as he was addressing 500 people on Galilee. This would mean tying in the GC with 1 Cor 15:6 I think. Is this interpretation problematic?
    Jason Lim
    Singapore
    Bible-Presbyterian(BP)

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by ubermadchen View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Contra_Mundum View Post
    Final word:
    Let it not be said that I oppose personal evangelism. Neither I, nor Josh, nor any of the others here are (so far as I know) saying that the open testimony of the truth of God's Word, or the testimony of a changed life, are bad things. But people have enough of Law for their own private callings, without added burdens of false and unscriptural expectations. They do not need "grades" of spirituality, based on "Christian-work" vs. private calling.
    You say that you don't oppose personal evangelism but your words have thus discouraged lay people from articulating their faith with others. How can a Christian in good standing with his or her church share the gospel with someone without violating the office of the preacher? Pastors cannot be everywhere at once, but with enough sheep steeped in the Word, we can. Thus, how can a pastor expect to reach his community for the sake of the Gospel without his congregation being the feet?
    Patricia,
    With all due respect, you're making stuff up. You're putting words in my mouth. You aren't reading my words of someone who denies the privilege of "articulating their faith" to any group, except what you are reading into them.

    I haven't accused the anybody who "shares the gospel" (whatever that phrase means) of infringing on the office of the preacher. I think the congregation "steeped in the Word" is salt-and-light for sure. And I would encourage all sorts of religious conversations, and even an explanation of the gospel by anyone comfortable enough to do so, and the friendly encouragement, borne of love for the lost, to obey the summons of the gospel.

    Part of that summons should be, "Why don't you come to church with me, and hear some real gospel-preaching?" Or, "Can my pastor or elder come and talk with you? God has gifted them for the task of evangelism, and he's assigned that duty to them by appointing them to that office." Why would such a scenario seem odd to us, when we would think in similar lines with respect to civil government?

    If I tell a regular Christian church-goer that he's not been commanded by Christ to "evangelize" or "make disciples" (which are not even the same thing, though they have been spoken of here like they are identical), how have I discouraged anyone from articulating his faith with others?

    That's like saying that if I don't tell people Christ has commanded them to have a "quiet time" devotional for half-an-hour in the day, every day, (he hasn't commanded that either, by the way) then I'm discouraging them from having personal devotions.

    Telling people that they need a law so they will really be motivated to do "spiritual" activity, to be sanctified, is just another way of saying "GET in the Kingdom by grace; STAY in the Kingdom by works." If I tell someone to be happy and feel free to do their laundry for the glory of God, and not worry if he is "sharing Christ" enough; just be his-growing-in-grace-self and talk of Christ will just flow out of him naturally--how is that discouraging?

    To know you don't have certain blocks to check for spirituality is usually considered "encouraging" rather than "discouraging." The fact that some Christians aren't comfortable living in the freedom of the gospel, but prefer having external controls (being in bondage again to law) is unfortunate. But the gospel isn't "new law," its "no law."

    I'm not saying that there isn't any law. There are the ten commandments, and all the moral obligations there ever have been, as well as certain positive commands for the New Covenant age. But "evangelism" isn't one of the general spiritual requirements that has been laid upon everyone.

    Why should it seem controversial that there should be special directions for church operations and officers in the Bible? Why should you, or anyone else, feel as though they aren't being treated "respectfully" unless all the commands of Scripture are directed equally toward everyone? Doesn't this attitude take us right back to Rome, to the Medieval church, and before that to the origins of monasticism?

    The Bible doesn't give us directions for organizing a bakery. But it gives us tons of material on organizing the church. And many directions spelling out the duties of the persons occupying office in that church. And several general directions (but far fewer) for the vast majority of Christians who's ordinary callings are in bakeries, auto repair shops, and homes. Their moral direction is supposed to come specially (so not excluding private reading) from the pastors who exegete the Word, and teach it to them week by week.

    If believing wives are to "win their husbands without a word," but by a sanctified life, how could it be strange to say that the words of most of us will also be of less effect than lives committed to Christ? The best people to speak those words are those who are commissioned for the task. But I think that others should speak as they have opportunity.
    Rev. Bruce G. Buchanan
    ChainOLakes Presbyterian Church, CentralLake, MI

    Made both Lord and Christ--Jesus, the Destroyer
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    Now then, for an ordinary citizen of Christ's kingdom to get involved in missions-work, or presenting Christ and his gospel, etc., can be a fine thing. But it needs to be put in its true category, namely the actions of a kingdom-citizen, performing his calling. A housewife is performing her calling when she cooks meals for the family, washes clothes, or has tea with her neighbor and opens up the Bible with her.

    This is important that we understand: There is nothing "extra-spiritual" about going on a missions-trip, nothing that puts such a participant into a "special category" of serious-religious, that is not EQUAL in service to the dishwashing done by the woman who stayed home. When we start thinking like that, we are going down the same road that the monks went, that the whole church went in the Middle Ages, when there was "ordinary life" juxtaposed with the superior labors of the priests, monks, and nuns.
    This was very helpful to me -- we've been reading Luther combating such ideas of 'uber-holy' ways of life etc.
    Heidi
    Steger, IL

    'I cannot live like Jesus, example though he be
    For he was strong and selfless, and I am tied to me.
    But I have asked my Jesus to live his life in me . . .
    Behold his warm, his tangible, his dear humanity.'
    -Betty Stam

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    Before we even arrive at the making of disciples and baptising-teaching part of the commission, there is one extremely important word that must not be overlooked -- GO!

    The most informative New Testament teaching on the concept of evangelism is to be found in Romans 10. Within this chapter we have the explicit rhetorical question, How shall they preach except they be SENT?

    We also have the autobiographical account of mission in the Presbyterial address of the apostle Paul in Acts 20. He makes it quite clear that the work of mission-evangelism is a COURSE.

    Christian friends, shine your light with all your might, testify the rich grace of God which you have received, share your faith with as many as will listen, always be ready to give an answer for the hope that you have; but please do not represent this as the activity of mission or evangelism. Unless a person has gone, been sent, and entered upon the life-course of preaching the gospel, he is not actively and personally undertaking the work of mission or evangelism in the biblical sense of the term. It is the rejection of the biblical concept of mission and evangelism which has led to the very sad state of affairs in the present day where churches are suffering from a lack of men committed to the ministry.

    Christian men, if you are assured that you are saved by the grace of Christ, have a well grounded belief that God has gifted you to teach and preach, have the testimony of the church as to your gifts and graces, and are ready to forsake your earthly calling in order to undertake the work of teaching and preaching -- please, talk to your pastor and eldership so that they might fulfil their responsibility of training faithful men to whom the ministry may be committed for the future.
    Yours sincerely,
    Rev. Matthew Winzer
    Australian Free Church,
    Victoria, Australia

    "Illum oportet crescere me autem minui."

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    Quote Originally Posted by Contra_Mundum View Post
    ...This is important that we understand: There is nothing "extra-spiritual" about going on a missions-trip, nothing that puts such a participant into a "special category" of serious-religious, that is not EQUAL in service to the dishwashing done by the woman who stayed home. When we start thinking like that, we are going down the same road that the monks went, that the whole church went in the Middle Ages, when there was "ordinary life" juxtaposed with the superior labors of the priests, monks, and nuns.
    I agree there is nothing "extra-spiritual" but I don't think the view that all have the privilege to preach the gospel means we are creating a juxtapose of any sort. No doubt some have but one doesn't necessarily equal the other. Just like I am not for any form of pragmatism in evangelism, or alter calls or revivals as other have mentioned earlier who oppose this view. Just cause those things exist don't prove or disprove a position.

    Quote Originally Posted by Contra_Mundum View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by jason d View Post
    I have had this discussion in person and online and have never heard a rebuttal to this still:
    1 Peter 1:1
    Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ,
    To those who are elect exiles of a the dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia
    1 Peter 2:9:
    But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.
    1) The word you highlight, exanggeilete, is not the technical term for a herald's proclamation, "kerusso".

    2) You have here, in fact, divorced this statement from the church-context in which it is set. The words of v9 are collective nouns, and not individual qualities. Further, note v5:
    Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.
    This is a whole building, not individuals. Not everything that is predicable of the whole is predicable of individual parts. No more than a sink in a house is suitable to cook a turkey, is each person in the church suited to do any manner of spiritual sacrifice.

    3) The text you adduce IS, in fact, suitable to establish a general right of any Christian to present to any who will listen the truth of Christ. But this does not at all get down to particulars, nor establish clear duties obligated upon individual Christians
    This is what I find as the definition for exaggello:
    1) to tell out or forth
    2) to declare abroad, divulge, publish
    3) to make known by praising or proclaiming, to celebrate


    (Again, I don't believe this is the same as a pastor preaching in the pulpit.)

    So, in verse 9 how do you decide what is for the whole church and what for particular individuals in the church?

    "you are a chosen race" everyone or not?
    "a royal priesthood" everyone or not?
    "a holy nation" everyone or not?
    "a people for his own possession" everyone or not?
    "you may proclaim the excellencies of Him" not everyone according to you just ordained individuals (curious why that one is set apart from the others?)
    "called.. out of darkness into His marvelous light." everyone or not?

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    Jason,
    So far as your posts seek to establish the "right" of individual testimony, let me quote myself:
    3) The text you adduce IS, in fact, suitable to establish a general right of any Christian to present to any who will listen the truth of Christ.

    I'm not going to handle this subject in a proof-texting manner. 1Pet.2:4ff is most obviously a text on worship "4 And coming to Him ... 5... offer up spiritual sacrifices." Hence, the proclamation of His excellencies is most obviously the praises of the congregation. vv11-12 take us outside the church gathered, where nothing is said explicitly about our speech, but refraining from sin and doing good works before the ungodly.

    As for what nouns apply to whom, this is just abuse of the text. Since I don't think the purpose for the text is to parcel out duties to few or many, this bit of prooftexting is just nonsense. Peter is speaking to the church qua church. What the church does is not specifically the duties enumerated and described to the members.
    Last edited by Contra_Mundum; 03-01-2010 at 03:17 PM. Reason: harshness
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    Evangelism: Whose Responsibility? Ordained Servant (OPC publication)
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    Ever since I became a member at a reformed church, I have been coming to see the Gospel in a more holistic way.
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    Der Pilger is offline. Puritanboard Freshman
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    I was talking with a friend yesterday about some of the points made in this thread, namely, that trained ministers should be the ones to preach, while laypeople should communicate the gospel in a more passive, reactive way, giving a defense for the hope that lies within them to those that might ask. IOW, those of us who are not ministers of the gospel should not take it upon ourselves to bring the gospel to the public proactively and intentionally but should limit our "sharing of the gospel" to those who ask us about it, perhaps as a result of having witnessed our godly lifestyles.

    Perhaps I've misunderstood the points made in this thread, but if my understanding above is correct, then the conclusion my friend and I came to yesterday was also correct: Those laypeople among us who have been proactively bringing the gospel to the public have two choices: Become ministers (if called, of course) or quit doing evangelism intentionally.

    That leads to my main question in this post, and I don't ask this out of contentiousness but rather because I want to make sure that I am not violating the will of God in this matter. Reverends Bruce and Matthew have gotten me thinking about this, and I think the Bible definitely reveals the pattern they seem to be referring to (ministers preach the gospel, laity communicate the gospel when asked but are not commanded to do so), so here is my question: In the warm weather, some others and I have been, for some time now, conducting an evangelism ministry in which we set up a table and sign in a public place, the purpose of the sign being to attract people to come to the table to take a quiz. The quiz, of course, communicates the gospel message. In doing this, we are obviously proactively bringing the gospel to the public. I also do the same type of outreach in and through my church with some other men in the church (one of them being an elder). Should we cease and desist from this?
    Jeremy

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    Jeremy,
    It seems to me that there is another choice that may not have occured to you:

    Your gifts and willingness to "put yourself out there" may be an indicator that you are called to service in the church that is not ministerial, or official in any way, or perhaps in time as an elder or deacon. Your engagements with unbelievers should be under the oversight of your officers, and according as you are equipped for the task.

    In my opinion, you shouldn't be (or view yourself) as a lone-ranger-operator, with no connection between the "church-work" of evangelism you are doing, and the church to which you belong. We are far, far away from being Roman in our view of the church, but historically speaking, your service to Christ is never divorced from your connection to Christ in his church. When you think about it, this is even true when the church itself--acting in an ungodly way--persecutes the faithful.


    But I would also say another thing, concerning the "method" you describe above:

    It still looks to me like something akin to the "bait-and-switch" approach. When the folks take the "quiz," do they understand up-front that they are being contacted by the church? That the goal is to confront them with their SIN by means of the Law of God, and when they have been convicted to then present them the sure promise of comfort by the gospel, and citizenship in the Kingdom?

    The problem with a churchless gospel is that the gospel gets divorced from the church. If a sinner only needs the gospel when he "gets saved," then the gospel ends up as little mor than the doorway, the threshold, of the way to Christ. But the gospel is the savor of life for the Christian every day. It is his comfort not only the hour he first believed, but every hour thereafter. We get gospel comfort (or should) every Sunday. If the minister/officers/church is essentially superfluous for evangelism, why is any of it important afterward?

    And, of course, that is just what we've seen in Christianity of late. No more importance attached to the church. The gospel is not recognized as vital to our Christian life after the "moment of salvation," so why do we need the minister of the gospel? In this view, what we need is a man (or woman!) with talents for public speaking, charismatic (in the carnal sense), who is a good "life-coach." Oprah or Dr.Phil with a stack of Bible verses.

    If you haven't read the articles linked above in Joy's post, I recommend them. They will assist your thinking in this area. Please do not be discouraged in well-doing. Continue to think about these things, and do not be afraid of "starting" a Christian conversation, for "fear" of doing "unauthorized" evangelism. Just think about it the right way, in connection to the church--visible as well as invisible--and categorically, in the way of our separate callings.

    And never forget the gospel is an everyday, week-by-week thing for every believer.
    Rev. Bruce G. Buchanan
    ChainOLakes Presbyterian Church, CentralLake, MI

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    Der Pilger is offline. Puritanboard Freshman
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    Quote Originally Posted by Contra_Mundum View Post
    Jeremy,
    It seems to me that there is another choice that may not have occured to you:

    Your gifts and willingness to "put yourself out there" may be an indicator that you are called to service in the church that is not ministerial, or official in any way, or perhaps in time as an elder or deacon. Your engagements with unbelievers should be under the oversight of your officers, and according as you are equipped for the task.
    I agree completely. That's one of the main reasons why I do the outreach in the context of my church. Most of the time when that occurs, an elder is with me. I'm glad that he's out there with me, too.

    But I've also applied what you said above to the other ministry (the one linked to in my sig). I had been involved in that even before I became a member at my current church, so it's actually a separate outreach. The ministry had actually been started by others and completely apart from any local church. Later, after I got involved in it and the original founders left, I made the move to bring it under my church's authority, with my pastor's agreement.

    In my opinion, you shouldn't be (or view yourself) as a lone-ranger-operator, with no connection between the "church-work" of evangelism you are doing, and the church to which you belong. We are far, far away from being Roman in our view of the church, but historically speaking, your service to Christ is never divorced from your connection to Christ in his church. When you think about it, this is even true when the church itself--acting in an ungodly way--persecutes the faithful.
    I agree, Bruce. I'm totally on board with the truth and necessity of doing ministry within the context of the local church. In recent years I have developed a healthy distrust of anyone or any group that sets up on their own apart from any sending body or authority.

    But I would also say another thing, concerning the "method" you describe above:

    It still looks to me like something akin to the "bait-and-switch" approach. When the folks take the "quiz," do they understand up-front that they are being contacted by the church? That the goal is to confront them with their SIN by means of the Law of God, and when they have been convicted to then present them the sure promise of comfort by the gospel, and citizenship in the Kingdom?
    I'd say that yes, doctrinally, the quiz communicates all that up front, except perhaps for the part about being contacted by the church. The quiz focuses entirely on doctrinal content--God, sin (using the Ten Commandments), Jesus Christ, faith and repentance, so no mention is made, or is rarely made, of the specific church with which we are associated. It does come up at times, but I would not say that we make it a point to speak of it.

    Incidentally, the quiz we use can be found here:
    http://www.alexandriago.org/AGO%20-%...%207-17-09.pdf.

    I welcome any feedback you might feel like giving about it.

    The problem with a churchless gospel is that the gospel gets divorced from the church. If a sinner only needs the gospel when he "gets saved," then the gospel ends up as little mor than the doorway, the threshold, of the way to Christ. But the gospel is the savor of life for the Christian every day. It is his comfort not only the hour he first believed, but every hour thereafter. We get gospel comfort (or should) every Sunday. If the minister/officers/church is essentially superfluous for evangelism, why is any of it important afterward?
    I agree. One thing that has disturbed me about so much evangelism out there is that often it consists only of seed sowing, if you will, while leaving the work of disciple-making undone. This is a bit different from what you spoke of above, but it's still related. Often many who do evangelistic outreach, as I have noticed, are content with presenting the gospel and then leaving the person with whom they spoke out in the cold, so to speak, with no follow-up. That is a tragic omission. Doing evangelism in and through the local church, I think, goes a long way toward avoiding such an omission.

    And, of course, that is just what we've seen in Christianity of late. No more importance attached to the church. The gospel is not recognized as vital to our Christian life after the "moment of salvation," so why do we need the minister of the gospel? In this view, what we need is a man (or woman!) with talents for public speaking, charismatic (in the carnal sense), who is a good "life-coach." Oprah or Dr.Phil with a stack of Bible verses.

    If you haven't read the articles linked above in Joy's post, I recommend them.
    I did, in fact, read a couple of them. They definitely got me thinking about the issue.

    Thanks for your thoughts and insights.
    Jeremy

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    I apologize if I frustrated anyone, was not my intention. Sorry, was just trying to figure out things and press some points to try to figure out why yall believe what you believe.
    Last edited by jason d; 03-02-2010 at 04:45 AM. Reason: cleared up reason i was surprised

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    Jason,

    I appreciated the remarks of those above who defend lay-evangelism as falling under the umbrella of the Great Commission. I have written a three-part series that examines the view of those Reformed teachers who limit evangelism to the ordained clergy, and I seek to refute this notion by examining several key passages in the NT that, in my estimation, clearly support the notion of lay-evangelism. Part 1 and Part 3 are especially relevant to this discussion.

    Giving Proper Due to the People in the Pew: A Biblical Defense of Lay-Ministry and Evangelism, Part 1
    Giving Proper Due to the People in the Pew: A Biblical Defense of Lay-Ministry and Evangelism, Part 2
    Giving Proper Due to the People in the Pew: A Biblical Defense of Lay-Ministry and Evangelism, Part 3

    Your servant,
    Bob Gonzales Jr., Dean and Professor of Biblical Theology
    [URL="http://rbseminary.org/"]Reformed Baptist Seminary[/URL]

    "Persons need not and ought not to set any bounds to their spiritual and gracious appetites." Jonathan Edwards

    Check out my new book: [URL="http://www.wtsbooks.com/product-exec/product_id/6852/nm/Where+Sin+Abounds:+The+Spread+of+Sin+and+the+Curse+in+Genesis+with+Special+Focus+on+the+Patriarchal+Narratives+(Paperback)"]Where Sin Abounds[/URL]

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joshua View Post
    I think most ideas surrounding the modern day understanding of "evangelism" is a product of several things:

    1. Revivalism - Since Finney and beyond there's this pressing for decisions, etc. that has so pervaded "evangelicalism," I believe this has trickled down to the more "Broadly Reformed" folks' understanding of what evangelism is. The ministers then impress upon the layfolk of how they ought to be "evangelizing." This pressure mounts and everyone's all of a sudden a missionary. Sure, folks may not be pressing them to say the sinners prayer, etc. but they take upon themselves the mantle of being the "ministers of reconciliation," when that responsibility, duty, and privilege are for ministers. They are the ones beseeching the lay folk to be reconciled unto Christ.

    2. Egalitarianism - Flowing from Revivalism, since now every Christian is a missionary proper, there is this idea that everyone must be a "soul winner." It doesn't matter if they can't properly articulate the Scriptures or not. It doesn't matter if they are inverts who shutter at the thought of talking to complete strangers in awkward moments of confrontation. No, "God can use it." That's not the point, however. From this, I think arises the greatest detriment that has been a result of revivalism:

    3. Misunderstanding of Calling - Christians are to be contented in their place and stations and do what it is with which they are gifted really well. THIS is the mark of a Christian. And, if those gifts be ministering, teaching, articulating the gospel, and they meet all the other qualifications of an elder, then the local session will recognize such, present said man to presbytery, and the rightful process will be undertaken to accomplish such. The problem with modern day thoughts of "evangelists" is a result of folks being discontent with their place and station, and wanting something different than that to which they are rightly gifted and called. They see some kind of romantic view of what ministry is and aspire towards.

    It is a noble thing to desire to be an officer in the Church Paul tells us. No doubt. But there is a process to getting there, and the ministry belongs to ministers.
    I smell the genetic fallacy in the reasoning above: attempt to discredit a legitimate position by associating it with imbalances, aberrations, or extremes. In point of fact, the NT accords the ordinary rank-and-file saints the role of "ministry" and "evangelism." The kind of ministry and level of evangelism in which they engage will be conditioned and circumscribed by gift and providence. But to limit ministry and evangelism to the "ordained" clergy is patently unbiblical.

    ---------- Post added at 11:37 PM ---------- Previous post was at 11:28 PM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by armourbearer View Post
    Christian friends, shine your light with all your might, testify the rich grace of God which you have received, share your faith with as many as will listen, always be ready to give an answer for the hope that you have; but please do not represent this as the activity of mission or evangelism. Unless a person has gone, been sent, and entered upon the life-course of preaching the gospel, he is not actively and personally undertaking the work of mission or evangelism in the biblical sense of the term. It is the rejection of the biblical concept of mission and evangelism which has led to the very sad state of affairs in the present day where churches are suffering from a lack of men committed to the ministry.
    Mr. Winzer's reasoning is, I'm afraid, quite fallacious. I don't doubt his zeal for the church. I agree with his recognition of the unique place of the clergy. But I think his attempt to restrict the privilege and stewardship of "evangelism in the biblical sense of the term" to the province of clergy is quite contrary to the biblical data and reflects a kind of clericalism foreign to NT Christianity. Like flies in the ointment of the apothecary, this kind of "High Calvinism" lacks the fragrance of a full-orbed Christianity. I'm surprised that so many readers would be persuaded by such reasoning that runs contrary to the teaching of the NT.

    ---------- Post added at 11:56 PM ---------- Previous post was at 11:37 PM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by Contra_Mundum View Post
    v.12 is properly parsed in the older KJV, and infelicitously parsed in many recent translations. The "work of the ministry" is one of the three reasons listed for the "pastors-teachers" et al, in the previous verse; along with "equipping the saints" and "building up {or edifying} the body of Christ {that is the church}."
    For a rebuttal of Reverend Buchanan's "clerical" view of Ephesians 4:12, see my article "Giving Proper Due to the People in the Pew: A Biblical Defense of Lay-Ministry and Evangelism, Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3. The weight of NT evidence does not tip the scales in his direction. The saints, as well as the ordained minister, are granted the privilege and stewardship both to minister and to evangelize. Listen to Calvin's exposition of Acts 6:7-9:
    Therefore, in keeping with the teaching Luke gives here, let us learn that we constitute a true church of God when we try our best to increase the number of believers. And then each one of us, where we are, will apply all our effort to instructing our neighbours and leading them to the knowledge of God, as much by our words as by our showing them good examples and good behaviour. That is also why holy Scripture exhorts us so often to win to God those who remain alienated from his church, for we see unbelievers as poor lost sheep. Our Lord has not given us insight into his truth for our advantage alone, but for sharing it with others. Because we see them as madmen casting themselves into hell, we must, to the extent we can, prevent them from doing so and procure their salvation. That, I tell you, is the zeal all Christians must have if they are not to limit themselves just to the public worship of God (emphasis added). (John Calvin, �Learning, Teaching, and Living the Gospel Message� (sermon on Acts 6.7-9) in Sermons on the Acts of the Apostles (Chapters 1-7)[Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 2008], 335-36.)
    Last edited by Dr. Bob Gonzales; 03-07-2010 at 06:36 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by armourbearer View Post
    Before we even arrive at the making of disciples and baptising-teaching part of the commission, there is one extremely important word that must not be overlooked -- GO!

    This should not be looked as going to another country. It is properly translated "AS you go" or 'As you are going' Which being in the passive participle leads me to believe it could be translated as something like; 'As you are following me" It is not an action or imperative men can perform without the power of Christ leading them.
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    Rather than a command, evangelism is the natural inclination of true believers. A person who has been so gloriously saved, who has been regenerated by the Holy Spirit of God, and who has seen a picture of the glories to come WILL have a desire to tell others. It will be a natural outflow of their life. The reason so many people are having to be "commanded" to evangelize, is that goats don't typically act like sheep. They have to be coerced.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Damon Rambo View Post
    Rather than a command, evangelism is the natural inclination of true believers. A person who has been so gloriously saved, who has been regenerated by the Holy Spirit of God, and who has seen a picture of the glories to come WILL have a desire to tell others. It will be a natural outflow of their life. The reason so many people are having to be "commanded" to evangelize, is that goats don't typically act like sheep. They have to be coerced.
    Helpful observation, Damon. That is why the bulk of NT data related to lay-evangelism is descriptive rather than prescriptive. In other words, the NT writers spend more time describing ordinary saints engaged in evangelism than commanding ordinary saints to evangelize. Of course, the Christian's privilege, stewardship, and responsibility may be established by precedent as well as precept. In any case, you are correct. Those who've know and have experienced the saving power and benefits of the gospel ought to have a desire to share the gospel spoil with those in need.
    Bob Gonzales Jr., Dean and Professor of Biblical Theology
    [URL="http://rbseminary.org/"]Reformed Baptist Seminary[/URL]

    "Persons need not and ought not to set any bounds to their spiritual and gracious appetites." Jonathan Edwards

    Check out my new book: [URL="http://www.wtsbooks.com/product-exec/product_id/6852/nm/Where+Sin+Abounds:+The+Spread+of+Sin+and+the+Curse+in+Genesis+with+Special+Focus+on+the+Patriarchal+Narratives+(Paperback)"]Where Sin Abounds[/URL]

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    The view of Mr. Gonzales, (1.) gives to the church and the world an evangelism which is without divine appointment and gifting. In the New Testament the body of Christ is said to be gifted by the risen Christ; we have some gifts which relate to speech and some which relate to action. The apostle Peter explicitly distinguishes these two. If every Christian is not gifted to speak then evangelism cannot be the function of every Christian. (2.) His view also individualises evangelism so as to make it unaccountable. The great commission is a charge -- GO -- to a group. It requires submission and sacrifice. Throughout the Acts of the Apostles we find that evangelism is carried forward by men who were set apart to the work, who answered to the church for their work, and who were willing to sacrifice earthly callings in order to fulfil their course. (3.) Finally, his view obscures the nature of the church as visible. If evangelism were the office of every Christian then individuals could be saved without the ordinary means of grace, and would fill the world with numerous believers detached from the visible church. This is contrary to the view of the New Testament, where we find evangelism also entailed the work of gathering churches, confirming saints, and making provision for office-bearers.

    Dear friends, be active and diligent in using all the gifts that God has given you to further the cause of Christ, but please do not listen to people who think that flattery is the way to motivate Christians. If the cause of Christ is to progress in this world it will be by means of the church functioning as a body and with the mind of Christ.
    Last edited by armourbearer; 03-07-2010 at 05:03 PM.
    Yours sincerely,
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    Quote Originally Posted by armourbearer View Post
    The view of Mr. Gonzales, (1.) gives to the church and the world an evangelism which is without divine appointment and gifting. In the New Testament the body of Christ is said to be gifted by the risen Christ; we have some gifts which relate to speech and some which relate to action. The apostle Peter explicitly distinguishes these two. If every Christian is not gifted to speak then evangelism cannot be the function of every Christian. (2.) His view also individualises evangelism so as to make it unaccountable. The great commission is a charge -- GO -- to a group. It requires submission and sacrifice. Throughout the Acts of the Apostles we find that evangelism is carried forward by men who were set apart to the work, who answered to the church for their work, and who were willing to sacrifice earthly callings in order to fulfil their course. (3.) Finally, his view obscures the nature of the church as visible. If evangelism were the office of every Christian then individuals could be saved without the ordinary means of grace, and would fill the world with numerous believers detached from the visible church. This is contrary to the view of the New Testament, where we find evangelism also entailed the work of gathering churches, confirming saints, and making provision for office-bearers.
    This argument (the portion in bold) doesn't make sense to me. Wouldn't those who are saved by grace through faith begin attending a church and thus become a part of the visible church? In the NT there were multitudes that heard the gospel in the public and were saved. In what way were they a part of the visible church before this conversion? And the eunuch that Phillip baptized, was he not detached until he came to a city and presumably gathered with Christians? The same events would be true for a new convert today.

    Dear friends, be active and diligent in using all the gifts that God has given you to further the cause of Christ, but please do not listen to people who think that flattery is the way to motivate Christians. If the cause of Christ is to progress in this world it will be by means of the church functioning as a body and with the mind of Christ.
    I'm not sure, are you suggesting that Dr. G's position is one of flattery? That is how it is easily read. If that is what you intend to say, that is an uncharitable statement.

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