Leading to Christ - Poll

Through what agency were you first brought to the knowledge of Christ?

  • I was converted through the work of an ordained minister.

    Votes: 23 39.7%
  • I was converted by some other means apart from an ordained minister.

    Votes: 22 37.9%
  • I am not sure.

    Votes: 13 22.4%

  • Total voters
    58
  • Poll closed .
Status
Not open for further replies.

Jeri Tanner

Moderator
Staff member
Based on what some are saying on the two threads, Salvation is impossible unless it occurs under the preaching of an ordained reformed minister.
I don't have time to keep interacting with the threads, Bill, but for me anyway, the main thing is, what does the Bible teach us about God's plan for the conversion of souls. The current evangelical thinking and subsequent practice about this is way out of line with what Scripture teaches (that's the proposition) and a corrective would call for strong assertions and statements. God in his mercy saves people even in our disorderly thinking and practice (Arminianism, charismaticism, individualism, and on and on) but we should seek to understand his prescribed ways and pray for times of reform. We should seek to recover the higher, Reformed view of the church and our practice in lay witnessing should simply reflect this higher view of the church.
 

BG

Puritan Board Junior
When Christ sent out the 72 in Luke 10, had these men all attained a bachelors, masters and passed a two day examination by a Presbytery? Could any of the Apostles have done this? Is it okay for a Pastor to Appoint men to the office of elder in order to share the gospel and do the work of the ministry? Can he do this on his own?


Is the the Gospel only effective if preached by a legitimate Minister? If so can we get a definition of what a legitimate minister is?
 

Jeri Tanner

Moderator
Staff member
When Christ sent out the 72 in Luke 10, had these men all attained a bachelors, masters and passed a two day examination by a Presbytery?
These men were trained, ordained, commissioned, and sent by our Lord.

Could any of the Apostles have done this?
Done what- commissioned and sent men? The Book of Acts seems to show men, including apostles, being commissioned and sent by the church, which sought to conform its will to God's will, and expressed God's will through its leaders.

Is the the Gospel only effective if preached by a legitimate Minister? If so can we get a definition of what a legitimate minister is?
I don't think we should think about all this in terms of what is effective, but rather, what do the Scriptures teach us to think and do. Many doctrinal issues are discerned not through proof texts but by good and necessary inference, which requires patience and more study.
 

BG

Puritan Board Junior
These men were trained, ordained, commissioned, and sent by our Lord.

Done what- commissioned and sent men? The Book of Acts seems to show men, including apostles, being commissioned and sent by the church, which sought to conform its will to God's will, and expressed God's will through its leaders.

I don't think we should think about all this in terms of what is effective, but rather, what do the Scriptures teach us to think and do. Many doctrinal issues are discerned not through proof texts but by good and necessary inference, which requires patience and more study.

Jeri, I’m just looking for consistency. Ideas have consequences. I understand that you don’t want to look at legitimacy or effectiveness because we know where that leads, straight to ROME. Christ trained men and sent them out Ministers are to train men in the local Church and send them out.
 

earl40

Puritan Board Professor
It seems a strange exclusion if we do not count the private reading of the Word or the regular witness of non-ordained Christians to be non-ordinary means, as if we are to find fault in the testimony of a believer who comes to faith through reading the Scriptures on his own.

I would not include reading the scripture as a non ordinary means. For God has preached by having it written down for those who can read.
 

Jeri Tanner

Moderator
Staff member
Jeri, I’m just looking for consistency. Ideas have consequences. I understand that you don’t want to look at legitimacy or effectiveness because we know where that leads, straight to ROME. Christ trained men and sent them out Ministers are to train men in the local Church and send them out.
Rather the church is to train ministers and send them. Is this not the Reformed view?
 

Gforce9

Puritan Board Junior
Rather the church is to train ministers and send them. Is this not the Reformed view?

I agree, Jeri. In the OPC (Dr. Strange, Rev. Buchanan or Rev. Keister may correct me), there are no lay folk in any theatre of operations without a minister present. It is ok to have "helpers", but the means of grace are for the dispensing by the minister alone.
 

BG

Puritan Board Junior
Rather the church is to train ministers and send them. Is this not the Reformed view?

Sounds great. Now can you define what you mean by church? Who is the legitimate church? Who is illegitimate?

I agree, Jeri. In the OPC (Dr. Strange, Rev. Buchanan or Rev. Keister may correct me), there are no lay folk in any theatre of operations without a minister present. It is ok to have "helpers", but the means of grace are for the dispensing by the minister alone.

To be clear, you are saying that if I say to a man that he should repent and turn to Jesus Christ and cry out for salvation that that can have no effect on the man but if I minister says it then something special can happen?
 

Gforce9

Puritan Board Junior
Sounds great. Now can you define what you mean by church? Who is the legitimate church? Who is illegitimate?



To be clear, you are saying that if I say to a man that he should repent and turn to Jesus Christ and cry out for salvation that that can have no effect on the man but if I minister says it then something special can happen?

I have said no such thing in the previous post or in any other post. I think what "this side" (including me) is getting at is why the hard push to circumvent the way God has ordered His church? No doubt, good things have happened in spite of God's revealed will (Rahab's lying comes to mind), but should we then make lying a regular part of our lives? In the same way, God has "used" folks employing improper means for centuries. Does that mean we should be like the anti-order evangelical and everyone is a "minister". May I inform the session that I'll be preaching next week because, after all, I'm a priest, too?
 
Last edited:

Jack K

Puritan Board Professor
May I assume you believe Rahab and Ruth had no exposure to OT prophets?

All we can do is make educated guesses. I would guess Ruth may have heard some of the works of Moses, probably recited orally, from her in-laws. If so, this is the equivalent of having a Bible the home today. Rahab's report, however, seems to emphasize hearing bits about God through the grapevine. In either case, it's hard to imagine a commissioned priest or prophet showing up in their home towns.

To me, both incidents sound similar to what happens in some apparent conversions today. A person hears the truth from others, sometimes more of it and sometimes less, sometimes from highly dependable sources and sometimes from weak ones, and is moved to believe.

NOTE: If your standard for whether conversion is possible is not based on hearing the gospel from an ordained minister, but rather based on some exposure to the prophetic Word, this changes our whole discussion. The typical "dorm buddy" come-to-Jesus spiel would include bits of Scripture and perhaps even extended readings. And most people in America have at some point in their lives heard or read some part of the Bible or heard a preacher, even if they report it seemed to have little influence. If you are saying a witness-through-friends conversion is possible after all, provided there's been some exposure to the prophetic Word in the convert's lifetime, then every conversion report I've ever heard qualifies, and from a practical standpoint our disagreement is over.
 

Dachaser

Puritan Board Doctor
Isn't conversion more akin to repentance, i.e. turning around? Certainly that includes the knowledge of certain biblical facts (like the law of God), but I would hesitate to say that conversion is "ascending" to facts. Would you agree with this?

Thanks for clarifying.
We are saved by the working of the Holy Spirit, by receiving Jesus as Lord through faith, and then we get to assent to all of those facts of the faith.
 

Ryan&Amber2013

Puritan Board Junior
I hear of family members and friends sharing the Gospel with loved ones before they die, and it is received at times with great joy. We are in no place to say those people are not with the Lord because His ordained ministers were not the ones sharing it. At times we need to be careful of being too rigid.
 

Jeri Tanner

Moderator
Staff member
I hear of family members and friends sharing the Gospel with loved ones before they die, and it is received at times with great joy. We are in no place to say those people are not with the Lord because His ordained ministers were not the ones sharing it. At times we need to be careful of being too rigid.
I don't see anyone being too rigid. The temptation is to view the call back to a sounder way of thinking as overly-strict or rigid. But there is great freedom within God's prescribed bounds.

I don't suppose any would deny the scenario you just described. But if at all possible, why not a visit from a faithful minister to share the gospel at the bedside?
 

Herald

Administrator
Staff member
I hear of family members and friends sharing the Gospel with loved ones before they die, and it is received at times with great joy. We are in no place to say those people are not with the Lord because His ordained ministers were not the ones sharing it. At times we need to be careful of being too rigid.

Ryan, I'll be blunt (it's my Jersey side coming out). Any Christian is able to share the Gospel with whoever is willing to listen. Preaching? Perhaps that's where some of my Reformed friends may differ, as they see preaching being the responsibility of an ordained minister of the Gospel. But no matter what you call it, communicating the gospel message does not require a pedigree beyond being a child of God. Would it be that more Christians are willing to share their faith.
 

Scott Bushey

Puritanboard Commissioner
Bill,
I believe u may have misunderstood Ryan as he is advocating for exactly what u are saying:

We are in no place to say those people are not with the Lord because His ordained ministers were not the ones sharing it

No one in this thread has said otherwise.....we're just drawing lines in the sand. I have no idea why it is so difficult.
 

Scott Bushey

Puritanboard Commissioner
Ryan wrote:

We are saved by the working of the Holy Spirit, by receiving Jesus as Lord through faith, and then we get to assent to all of those facts of the faith.

You have this backwards. Men are given eyes to see (and comprehend), i.e. regeneration. Then, the assent to biblical facts and are converted; a man must know who the Lord is and what He calls men to. Repentance and faith are seeds at that point; the water is the word. I made mention of the terms assensus, fiducia and notia, earlier in this thread. It would do u well to study these doctrines.

I wrote a paper on this recently: Wisdom does not save (or does it?)

http://www.semperreformanda.com/2015/03/4398/
 

Scott Bushey

Puritanboard Commissioner
Bill,
If I may:

When Christ sent out the 72 in Luke 10, had these men all attained a bachelors, masters and passed a two day examination by a Presbytery? Could any of the Apostles have done this? Is it okay for a Pastor to Appoint men to the office of elder in order to share the gospel and do the work of the ministry? Can he do this on his own?

These instances were not the norm on two fronts:
1) They walked with the teacher of teachers-a better education than any man this side of heaven will ever get and
2) The times were not typical. The church was in an elementary stage at this time and things occurred in scripture that don't happen any longer.
 

Dachaser

Puritan Board Doctor
Ryan wrote:



You have this backwards. Men are given eyes to see (and comprehend), i.e. regeneration. Then, the assent to biblical facts and are converted; a man must know who the Lord is and what He calls men to. Repentance and faith are seeds at that point; the water is the word. I made mention of the terms assensus, fiducia and notia, earlier in this thread. It would do u well to study these doctrines.

I wrote a paper on this recently: Wisdom does not save (or does it?)

http://www.semperreformanda.com/2015/03/4398/
That is why I said the Holy Spirit first does His work in and on us, as he gives us the new heart/mind and the faith to believe unto Jesus and get saved. We agree on the order here my friend.
 

Dachaser

Puritan Board Doctor
Ryan, I'll be blunt (it's my Jersey side coming out). Any Christian is able to share the Gospel with whoever is willing to listen. Preaching? Perhaps that's where some of my Reformed friends may differ, as they see preaching being the responsibility of an ordained minister of the Gospel. But no matter what you call it, communicating the gospel message does not require a pedigree beyond being a child of God. Would it be that more Christians are willing to share their faith.
Would there be any difference between how reformed baptists and Presbyterians see this issue of who is able to give to others the Gospel message then?
 

Gforce9

Puritan Board Junior
Would there be any difference between how reformed baptists and Presbyterians see this issue of who is able to give to others the Gospel message then?

The difference between independency and presbyterianism plays a significant role, me thinks. A discussion down this road would derail the thread, so I will only state it in answer to your question.
 

Herald

Administrator
Staff member
Bill,
If I may:



These instances were not the norm on two fronts:
1) They walked with the teacher of teachers-a better education than any man this side of heaven will ever get and
2) The times were not typical. The church was in an elementary stage at this time and things occurred in scripture that don't happen any longer.

Scott, so what is your point? Should I have not shared the Gospel with the man next to me when I was waiting for my tire to be changed? I sense of a lot of dancing around in this thread and very few direct answers to direct questions.
 

Scott Bushey

Puritanboard Commissioner
My dear brother,
Again, for the 20th time, no one is railing against anyone giving witness, sharing etc. The body/commission is made up of different body parts; the foot would not work the same without the pinky toe! No one has said anything against people being involved in Christ's commissional charge, but that we need to call things by the correct name. Distinctions are important.

I posted this in the other thread on the subject; it should explain my position:

Finally, I am a lay-person. I am a seminary student. I am an old guy (60 yrs old this April). I do not feel neglected being a laymen. I do not feel short changed. I know my place in the polity chain and am fine with it. It does not destroy nor hamper my witness in any way. I keep moving forward in Christ. I play a part in my church's commission. It's all good.
 
Last edited:

Herald

Administrator
Staff member
My dear brother,
Again, for the 20th time, no one is railing against anyone giving witness, sharing etc. The body/commission is made up of different body parts; the foot would not work the same without the pinky toe! No one has said anything against people being involved in Christ's commissional charge, but that we need to call things by the correct name. Distinctions are important.

I posted this in the other thread on the subject; it should explain my position:
Scott, I get you, but that's not how the thread is coming across to me.

Sent from my Pixel 2 XL using Tapatalk
 

Scott Bushey

Puritanboard Commissioner
That may be because of the posts by a certain individual is collapsing terms and when people respond, it comes across as those who seemingly are against the principle altogether, which they aren’t. I’ve been involved in both threads in question and no one has taken the position that laypeople cannot give witness.

This is not that difficult for most, but if u come out of an independent setting, it’s hard to undo what u previously have been taught- no matter how much doctrine you are given. To me, it’s rather silly.

Nothing that I do is ever independent of the church I hold membership in- especially when it comes to the gospel. Am I sent? Not in the way the leaders are; it is them that have an official call to the commission. My job is to support those arms so when they hang down, I lift them. Make the needed distinction, is all I ask.
 

JimmyH

Puritan Board Senior
In this mornings reading in D.A. Carson's 'For The Love Of God' I felt his exegesis on the verse is worth considering vis a vis the topic of this thread.

Revelation 12:11b

"They overcame him by ... the word of their testimony." This does not mean that they frequently gave their testimonies. It means, rather, that they constantly bore testimony to Jesus Christ; in short, they constantly proclaimed the Gospel. That is what spells Satan's defeat. Keep silent, and Satan wins."

The they referenced are,"the collective people of God, whether of the old covenant or of the new."

(used by permission of Crossway Publishers)
 

Scott Bushey

Puritanboard Commissioner
Lastly, again, as mentioned earlier, most of this comes from the idea that one component of the gospel is more important than another- which is not true. The silent prayer person may play a larger portion than my apologetical gymnastics.
 

Scott Bushey

Puritanboard Commissioner
The church’s testimony, the people of God, must always be seen as a testimony of the church as a whole as the gospel is given to the bride to press forward, not individuals. Hence, anything I share is an extension of the church.
 

Jeri Tanner

Moderator
Staff member
The OP (in the Leading to Christ thread) made a proposal that in light of Scriptural evidence, we should expect evangelism to be undertaken by those ordained to the ministry. The authority of the church to call people to repentance and faith rests with them. In light of this, some correctives must be spoken about the current evangelical assumptions of lay ministry. There is no need to take anything personally, as if the conversation about Christ you had with a stranger or a friend or family is now viewed with suspicion. But everyone should seek to find out what the BIBLE teaches about these matters. It will raise your view of the church and its ordained officers and temper individualistic views of lay evangelism. It's remarkable to me how little interaction with the Scripture those who want to hold on to lay evangelism have engaged in.

Earl raised the issue whether anyone can be converted strictly through lay evangelism (that's a shorthand statement that encompasses a lot of Scripture and doctrine). I don't think anyone can find an example in the Bible of people being converted through lay witness. In the Scripture, I see encouragement to look to the church and its ministers for the means of grace in both evangelism and discipleship, and no encouragement for lay evangelism or discipleship. Arminians think God would never be so unfair as to elect people to salvation, and many Calvinistic people believe he would never be so strict as to limit and prescribe how evangelism should take place.

I think my position right now is that if we have a person interested in hearing more about Christ, we should try to get that person to attend church, meet with a minister. I am thinking a lay member should realize that the authority to call on people to repent and believe resides in the church with its ordained ministers as representatives. I'm continuing to think about it.
 

Herald

Administrator
Staff member
As a member of a local church I recognize the role and authority of the pastor and elders. When I share the word of God with someone am I doing so under their authority? Maybe their passive authority, but certainly not their express authority.

Sent from my Pixel 2 XL using Tapatalk
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top