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 .
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Scott Bushey

Puritanboard Commissioner
Why is it an assault if I say it is 'express' authority? Are they not your oversight and will they not answer to God for that leadership, given it be biblically correct or heterodox?
 

Jeri Tanner

Moderator
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
You're probably speaking to Scott, but I would say that lay members don't need to worry about that? My opinion is that they should witness as the Biblical examples of lay witness and testimony describe. There is no force of ministerial authority with that; there is the power to overcome by "the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony."

It's interesting to me, I haven't found a systematic theology that deals with evangelism, including lay evangelism. Does anyone know of one?
 

Scott Bushey

Puritanboard Commissioner
My opinion is that they should witness as the Biblical examples of lay witness and testimony describe.

Independency. This mentality goes against the scriptures as well as the standards. Nothing a member does is divorced from their local church over sight.

It's interesting to me, I haven't found a systematic theology that deals with evangelism, including lay evangelism. Does anyone know of one?

There isn't one...that should tell u something.
 

Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
Across the world are many testimonies of people finding the Scriptures and believing through reading them even without an ordained minister around. These then tell others and some of them believe. I've even heard of small groups forming and even churches founded this way.

When we look at cases like this we should shout, "Praise God!" Instead of shouting, "Irregular, Irregular!" or saying that is cannot be so because no ordained minister was involved.

Jeri,
It is also strange that a paedobaptist who lacks a single instance of an infant being baptized would doubt that a layman may be the instrument through which a person may believe due to a lack of an explicit Scripture witness. (and of course you are ignoring the woman at the well and the demoniac and other implicit cases).
 

Jeri Tanner

Moderator
Staff member
Across the world are many testimonies of people finding the Scriptures and believing through reading them even without an ordained minister around. These then tell others and some of them believe. I've even heard of small groups forming and even churches founded this way.

When we look at cases like this we should shout, "Praise God!" Instead of shouting, "Irregular, Irregular!" or saying that is cannot be so because no ordained minister was involved.

Jeri,
It is also strange that a paedobaptist who lacks a single instance of an infant being baptized would doubt that a layman may be the instrument through which a person may believe due to a lack of an explicit Scripture witness. (and of course you are ignoring the woman at the well and the demoniac and other implicit cases).
Perg, you haven't read the thread so you're bringing up things that have already been discussed (including the instructive witness and testimony of both of those Bible persons.) You can charactize this as a bunch of legalists crying "irregular" but it isn't fair to do so.
 

Herald

Administrator
Staff member
Why is it an assault if I say it is 'express' authority? Are they not your oversight and will they not answer to God for that leadership, given it be biblically correct or heterodox?

I don't go to the pastor and elders and ask them if I have their express permission to share the good news with people. Am I under their passive authority? Yeah. Sure. Do they have the right to confront a church member if they are sharing something that is wrong and harming the church? Absolutely. Scott, you seem to think this is just a semantical argument (see post #83). I want to think that is the case.
 

Scott Bushey

Puritanboard Commissioner
Bill, in my opinion, if you are planning on witnessing regularly, why wouldn't you want their endorsement? We all know that there are these loose cannons out there and how could we say that these people screaming into bull horns is endorsed by their local congregations; in fact, most of these lunatics don't even have a church! As I have said, it is a given that we all are playing our parts and the church expects that of us all.

Is it semantics? Not exactly. Semantics makes it sound like just verbiage; It is a matter of biblical distinctions and as I have said, I don't see the conflict.
 

timfost

Puritan Board Senior
Earl,

Is it possible that someone on their death bed can be converted through hearing the gospel without an ordained minister?

Yes or no, please.
 

Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
Jeri,

I've read the whole thread.

Your position leads to people diminishing the witness of regular Christians, as if their witness lacks power. Or as if we should not hope that any witness is effective unless it be from an ordained person.
 

Ryan&Amber2013

Puritan Board Junior
I am very discouraged and I really wish more ordained men were out witnessing on the streets. Every other Thursday I try to go out witnessing with a friend to our downtown area. He cancelled last minute tonight, and I was by myself. People were with their families trying to have a good time and I felt like a weirdo. I was so uncomfortable and started to think that I didn't belong here, but rather, men who do this as a profession should be. I started to grow bitter, sadly.
 

timfost

Puritan Board Senior
I am very discouraged and I really wish more ordained men were out witnessing on the streets. Every other Thursday I try to go out witnessing with a friend to our downtown area. He cancelled last minute tonight, and I was by myself. People were with their families trying to have a good time and I felt like a weirdo. I was so uncomfortable and started to think that I didn't belong here, but rather, men who do this as a profession should be. I started to grow bitter, sadly.

Ryan,

As much as I think some people in this thread are playing word games, I don't think anyone is saying that you cannot go out and witness. Our witness can be prompted by people asking about our hope (1 Pet. 3:15) or unprompted as the Samaritan woman (John 4:29).

This is certainly witnessing and is very appropriate for you or any other Christian. Why not call it evangelism? For the life of me, I can't figure why people have a problem with this word.
 

Jeri Tanner

Moderator
Staff member
Jeri,

I've read the whole thread.

Your position leads to people diminishing the witness of regular Christians, as if their witness lacks power. Or as if we should not hope that any witness is effective unless it be from an ordained person.
Sorry Perg, I've gotten confused about the threads- I don't know if you've read the original thread, that one is where a lot of discussion took place about the issues you e mentioned.

Would you like to bring up some Scripture related to the topic that hasn't already been discussed? That's where the back and forth needs to be centered, I think. I hope we all want to discern God's will from his word.
 

timfost

Puritan Board Senior
Perhaps we should also get away from hard and fast definitions.

Does "lay-evangelism" have to mean a confusion of the ordained with non-ordained? Or can it be used interchangeably with the promulgation of the gospel through lay witnessing? The use of "lay" assumes not ordained.

It seems the gracious thing to do would be to say "I disagree with the terminology because of x, y and z, but I agree with your meaning."

There seems to be a lot of unwillingness in these threads to hear the meaning of others.

Let's not be "obsessed with disputes and arguments over words," slow down and hear meaning.
 

Jeri Tanner

Moderator
Staff member
I think where there has been disagreement with terminology there has also been disagreement with views on practice. The two seem linked. We all agree that there is a distinction in roles between ordained ministers of the gospel and lay witness, but the disagreement is over what the Scriptures teach about these distinctions. It shouldn't be a discouraging topic, but an interesting one. To seek to know and obey God's mind on the matter should be of the utmost importance! That's how the most fruit in evangelism will be born.
 

Ask Mr. Religion

Flatly Unflappable
Ryan wrote:
Moderator Note:

Scott,

It would help all concerned if you could include the quote tags of posts such that a person does not have to go searching for the full context. These tags, containing a post ID and member ID, permit the reader to just click and jump to the post being quoted.
 

Jeri Tanner

Moderator
Staff member
There are several old Puritanboard threads to be found on this topic for those not thoroughly tired of it! :) Here's one, and here's another, both (mercifully) short, and with some pastors weighing in and a few refreshing insights. I appreciated how these threads managed to keep a cordial tone throughout.
 

Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
I have seen course materials on "lay-evangelism" and it is never about preparing a sermon or administering the sacraments or exercising ecclesiastical authority but is always about improving one's witness. BUT...many Reformed still choke on the term "evangelism" when used in conjunction with lay-people.

I believe it has a net effect of muting the witness and sharing of the gospel by people in the pews. If we ask why there are so many Arminians and so few confessional Presbyterians about, this might be one reason. The more Truly Reformed you get the more of a stickler you become about witnessing until it dries up the enthusiasm of many.
 

earl40

Puritan Board Professor
Earl,

Is it possible that someone on their death bed can be converted through hearing the gospel without an ordained minister?

Yes or no, please.

Yes, if someone reads the preaching in the bible. BTW I would have no problem witnessing to a person on their deathbed.....I am blessed to do this with regularity in that I work in a hospital and for many many years. What is interesting that with my witness I have articulated The Gospel scores and scores of times, and not once have I had anyone wish to say "I used to not know Jesus but now I know Him now". What happens in my many situations of witnessing is that I usually find out if one is a brother or sister in Jesus, and the conversation goes one way or the other. If one is not a believer I have to know I am not working at my paid job to do the job of the Pastor, and must be wise knowing that to preach or witness causes many problems for my captive audience. Knowing this I share the effects of The Gospel in my life, and love all of my patients as best I can.
 

Jeri Tanner

Moderator
Staff member
I have seen course materials on "lay-evangelism" and it is never about preparing a sermon or administering the sacraments or exercising ecclesiastical authority but is always about improving one's witness. BUT...many Reformed still choke on the term "evangelism" when used in conjunction with lay-people.

I believe it has a net effect of muting the witness and sharing of the gospel by people in the pews. If we ask why there are so many Arminians and so few confessional Presbyterians about, this might be one reason. The more Truly Reformed you get the more of a stickler you become about witnessing until it dries up the enthusiasm of many.
Thankfully, none of this is true so far as what any of us has said and testified to on this thread! I and I am sure everyone else who is trying to get at what the Scriptures teach are enthusiastic about witnessing and sharing what Christ has done. I pray for opportunities. The nature of this conversation has unfortunately resulted in a lot of misunderstandings. (Last statement edited to sound more charitable. :) )
 
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Herald

Administrator
Staff member
I am very discouraged and I really wish more ordained men were out witnessing on the streets. Every other Thursday I try to go out witnessing with a friend to our downtown area. He cancelled last minute tonight, and I was by myself. People were with their families trying to have a good time and I felt like a weirdo. I was so uncomfortable and started to think that I didn't belong here, but rather, men who do this as a profession should be. I started to grow bitter, sadly.
Ryan,

Be encouraged! A dear friend and brother in the Lord who went to bible college with me lives in Pt. St. Lucie and he regularly preaches the gospel in the open-air and outreach events. There is a work going on in your city. While I'm not much of an open-air preacher, I try and take advantage of what D. James Kennedy used to call "divine appointments". The difference for me today, as opposed to my former Baptist fundamentalist days, is I do so today without guilt. I came out of a background where people were shamed for not witnessing. To witness from bad motives is not a profitable thing. What a change good theology makes.
 

JimmyH

Puritan Board Senior
Patrick,
Thanks for the assistance.
How do I do that, exactly?
If this is the question .... I look at the bottom right of the text box, click 'quote' first, then 'reply', and your text/screen name appears . I reply under that and there you go. There is also a multi quote option which is self intuitive if you try it a time or two.
 

Scott Bushey

Puritanboard Commissioner
If this is the question .... I look at the bottom right of the text box, click 'quote' first, then 'reply', and your text/screen name appears . I reply under that and there you go.

Got it. Thanks, Jimmy.

However, in the quote above, I don't see any post number as Patrick described a few posts up. ??? See post 105.
 

BG

Puritan Board Junior
I am now convinced that what Earl, Scott and Jeri are advocating is both biblical and confessional. However, with this knowledge comes responsibility, not just for me but for everyone on this board. I will be meeting later today with a minister, I will ask him if he has been going out from town to town and from house to house sharing the gospel, if his response is that he has not been doing that I will ask him to contact his presbytery and resign immediately. I would encourage all the members of this board to do the same please contact your minister today and find out if he is out on the street preaching the gospel every day as is his commission. I believe that we will see hundreds if not thousands of reformed ministers resign many will probably resign today as a result of this thread if they are honest men. I anticipate that many of the men on this board who are currently ministers, but who are negligent in this area, will start a new thread today asking us to pray for them because they have resigned their commission. I personally believe that this mass resignation of ministers will spark a great revival and bring glory and honor to Jesus Christ as we see only qualified men who are willing to do the work of an evangelist in our pulpits and on the street, rather than men who have no real desire to do these things. I look forward to the threads where the ministers on this board ask us to pray for them as they transition from ministry into the workforce.

Wait a minute.....this is not going to happen. I am sure that out there lurking in the darkness is a doctrine which says that Layman are not permitted to hold their ministers accountable. I totally forgot that. I’m sure the next threads on this board will be entitled, “Why Layman are not permitted to meddle in the affairs of the Presbytery” followed by, “Should Layman be permitted to own or read the Bible?” followed by “Why did we stop using Latin?”

Consistency is a cruel taskmaster but a great litmus test for hypocrisy.
 

timfost

Puritan Board Senior
Earl, I'm thankful to are able to witness to people in the hospital.

Some follow-up questions if I may. You said:

Yes, if someone reads the preaching in the bible.

1. Does any portion of the Bible count as preaching or only certain portions?
2. If someone speaks of biblical doctrines without reading scripture, can the person on their deathbed be saved?
3. Since you a) count at least some portion of the Bible as preaching, b) permit this to come through the mouth of the lay-person, c) do you believe in vicarious preaching through laypeople?

Thanks!
 

earl40

Puritan Board Professor
Earl, I'm thankful to are able to witness to people in the hospital.

Some follow-up questions if I may. You said:



1. Does any portion of the Bible count as preaching or only certain portions?

I doubt people would be saved by reading the geologies.

2. If someone speaks of biblical doctrines without reading scripture, can the person on their deathbed be saved?

Of course if one is sent.

3. Since you a) count at least some portion of the Bible as preaching, b) permit this to come through the mouth of the lay-person, c) do you believe in vicarious preaching through laypeople?

a. Of course discernment should be used depending on the knowledge of the recipient.

b. As stated I believe God can use the direct Words from scripture to "save" by a layman, though I hardly would depend on such knowing that the providential working of scripture tells us a Preacher (Pastor) is the only ones sent to do the job. People neglect the gathering to the great peril of the soul and one ought not to depend on earl (am man married to a girl named Tina) to read scripture to them at their deathbed.

c. No
 

Scott Bushey

Puritanboard Commissioner
Bill,
For the life of me, I have no idea what you are so incensed about. Serioulsly. The only thing we’ve all said, repeatedly, is that we need to call a thing that which it is. No one ever said that a lay-person cannot go out to witness, share, confess biblical truth. We, as well, acknowledge that people can get saved in these scenarios. The issue that we have is when you start calling it preaching or Evangelizing.
 

Scott Bushey

Puritanboard Commissioner
Earl,
I believe you may be guilty of collapsing terms. Sharing, witnessing, confessing all include the reading of scripture if that person is led. They are not preaching- they are not called of God to that office. One is an official proclamation and the other, not.
 
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