Question on evangelism

Discussion in 'Calvinism & The Doctrines of Grace' started by Herald, Sep 11, 2005.

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  1. Herald

    Herald Administrator Staff Member

    Scott - I would like to drill down on what you been by the teaching in a home not comparing with that of a worship service. I think I know what you mean, but I am not sure.

    There are many, many men that are more learned in the scriptures than the ordained pastor in their local fellowship. I dare say that there are many godly wives and mothers who are well versed in the scriptures. I have personally rubbed shoulders with the children of these families. Their biblical literacy is not in question and I would feel perfectly comfortable with them proclaiming God's truth within and outside the church. That said, I am not negating the need to have trained ministers of the gospel in our pulpits and overseeing the flock of God. The dynamics involved in shepherding the flock is more complex than just proclaiming God's word. Now if you are saying that, on average, the teaching received in the home is not equal to the teaching received from the pulpit from a qualified man of God, I would be in general agreement. I just do not want to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

    [Edited on 9-18-2005 by BaptistInCrisis]
  2. VirginiaHuguenot

    VirginiaHuguenot Puritanboard Librarian

    Acts 8
    1. And 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.
    2. And devout men carried Stephen to his burial, and made great lamentation over him.
    3. As for Saul, he made havock of the church, entering into every house, and haling men and women committed them to prison.
    4. Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word.

    It is clear that those spoken of in v. 1 as being scattered abroad and those spoken of in v. 4 as being scattered abroad and preaching are in fact the same group of people. It is not clear that those men and women who were in house churches and were arrested in v. 3 are equivalent to those spoken of in v. 1 and v. 4. If they were arrested, they were not scattered.

    I do have certain built-in presuppositions when I approach the Scriptures and one of them is the principle of non-contradiction. I believe that 1) those who were arrested were not also scattered and 2) that the all spoken of in v. 4 who preached could not possibly include unordained men, women and children because that would contradict the Scriptural qualifications for the office of a preacher which require such to be male and set apart publically for the work of the ministry of the church (see here for further elaboration on the qualifications for ordination).

    I am a presbyterian and am fully persuaded by the Scriptures that the God has instituted church government jure divino which gives the function of preaching only to those who are called by God unto that office (Heb. 5.4). Preaching carries with it the authority to administer sacraments and exercise discipline; it is likewise an act of the church which declares the word of God on a commission from Christ the King.

    I make no apologies for setting forth the Scriptural and Presbyterian doctrine of the church. To do otherwise would be to bring unScriptural biases to the text and issue at hand.

    [Edited on 9-18-2005 by VirginiaHuguenot]
  3. Herald

    Herald Administrator Staff Member

    And I understand that this board was begun by Presbyterians and the Presbyterian point of view will be the majority represented. I have no problem with that. If this was a historical Baptist* board, I would expect it to have a decidely Baptistic slant.

    The heart of this thread is not about preaching (as preaching is commonly defined). It is about sharing of ones faith in Christ with sinners. One of the questions at hand is whether sharing ones faith in Christ is solely the responsibility of ordained ministers. At the risk of becoming redundant, my answer is "no." A secondary question is whether untrained (and for my Presbyterian brother, "ordained") men should have formal teaching/preaching responsibilities within the church. My answer is, "no."

    *I define "historical Baptist" to be in keeping with the London and Philadelphia confessions. This is in contrast with modern day Baptists that had their roots in the post-Darby era.

    [Edited on 9-18-2005 by BaptistInCrisis]
  4. Scott Bushey

    Scott Bushey Puritan Board Doctor

    On the contrary Bill. When we started this board, Matt had just corrected his view to presbyterianism and I was still reformed baptist, but moving in that direction.

    I don't know if I agree with this fully. The credo side of the coin has many staunch supporters here on PB; in fact a number of my mods as well as one of the admins is credo.

    I don't belioeve there is anyone on board that holds to the Philadelphia confession.
  5. Herald

    Herald Administrator Staff Member

    I stand corrected. I was basing my assumption on what appears to be a strong Presbyterian leaning (not that there is anything wrong with that). ;)

    Scott, lets assume the board was a Presbyterian board (which you have told me it is not). In that case I would still hold to my assumption. But since it is not, I "recant" on my comment.

    I don't know if that is true or not. The Philadelphia Confession of 1742 is almost identical to the 2nd London Confession of 1689. There are two chapters (23 & 31) that were added to the Philadelphia Confession.

    Chapter 23

    Chapter 31

    I have no problems with these two added chapters. I am in agreement with both confessions.

    [Edited on 9-18-2005 by BaptistInCrisis]
  6. ChristopherPaul

    ChristopherPaul Puritan Board Senior

    Great discussion!

    I was away for the weekend and come back to see a lot has gone on with this topic.

    I believe a distinction needed to be made between teaching/preaching and sharing. It is good to see that has been done.

    A brother or sister in Christ may be alone on any given day and approached by a non-Christian. This believer should not refrain from sharing their faith, but should cease to take on discipleship outside the company of the rest of the body. If the person is truly intrigued and drawn by this persons testimony (through word and deed), then they will certainly want to learn more and accept an invitation to the church. If they mock and revile, then why cast pearls before swine? They may hate, they may wish to stone, they may wish to throw you off a cliff, or they may wish to know more. The bottom line, is we should not try so hard per se, especially when we do not have the answers. Plenty of sharing can be done without instruction on what the word of God says. Our day and age promotes individualism and pride. Too many cannot say a simple phrase as, "I do not know," or "I know of someone who can better answer your questions." Statements as these are far more effective than "winging" it yourself and most likely resulting in misguidance and confusion.

    Regarding missionaries, as was already clarified they are sent under authority of a church and it is my understanding that they are sent ultimately with the mission to start more churches. Paul commissioned Titus to appoint elders in every city. Paul did not give such a mission to all believers everywhere. The importance is on establishing the overseers who are of like mind and mission - establish churches to baptize and teach thus making disciples.

    Yes, there are accounts of people being saved through unorthodox means. I heard the gospel and responded due to neighbors who visited my family at my house. They refused to be part of any church (and thus we did as well), they were highly charismatic in beliefs, and often came over to teach us. I thank God for drawing me and using them, but that does not glorify those means, but God who is able to use man's wisdom to accomplish His will. Twelve years later I am still undoing some damage they did (not intentional damage on their part, but consequential damage due to their ignorance and misguidance and disobedience). My parents still refuse to go to any church and by talking with them, it shows they are without shepherds.

    "As for God, His way is perfect; The word of the Lord is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him" (2 Samuel 22:31).

    God's way is perfect. There are ways that seem right to us and that seem to work better, but God's way is always perfect and shall be strived for. May it result in smaller congregations? Perhaps, but that is not my concern. May God's way result in hatred by the world? Perhaps, but that shall not cause us to modify our convictions.
  7. ChristopherPaul

    ChristopherPaul Puritan Board Senior

    How does this all play out in the context of message boards?

    Personally, I am not a teaching elder. I am not appointed to teach anyone other than my family. Yet I have instructed disciples by guiding them through scripture.

    My family just left our seeker friendly independent church home of four years. I just resigned as a small group leader through that church. Looking back, I can see that I have taught wrong things to my small group and to various youth groups I have led in the past. Years ago, while I was a teenager, I even preached three sermons for two different churches, not being a member of the one and not appointed by anyone to do so in either (I was "appointed" small group leader, but with no interview of any sort) . Looking back, those churches should never have let me do such and I did not know better to restrain myself.
  8. Herald

    Herald Administrator Staff Member

    The requirement that one be ordained to teach is obstacle to many learned men who have the gift. Part of the ordination requirement is a denominational distinctive it seems. Before someone would teach at our church, they would be interviewed by the elders. We would determine whether they are qualified to teach others. We recognize three offices of the church that require ordination: pastors, elders and deacons. Small group leaders, Sunday school teachers and other assigned teachers do not require ordination. They do, however, require the approval of the elders.

    Chris, as far as your personal experiences...perhaps you were unqualified (at the time) or lacked the experience to teach. If so, it was not an ordination problem (In my humble opinion). It had more to do with your ability.

  9. Steve Owen

    Steve Owen Puritan Board Sophomore

    Hi Andrew,
    Whilst I am quite convinced in my own mind that Independancy is the Biblical form of church government, I am quite relaxed about Presbyterianism or Episcopacy so long as no one tries to force it on me. I'm sorry if my previous post seemed to indicate otherwise. I generally steer clear of discussions on Church government.
    I think the most logical reading of the text is that many were scattered but some remained. There is no hint that only the ordained people fled and the rest stayed. That would seem to be a most deplorable dereliction of duty on behalf of the elders!

    I made the point that those who were scattered 'gossipped' or 'chatted' the word. There is no suggestion here of formal preaching until we get to 11:20, where 'men' are specifically mentioned, although there is no hint that they were specifically ordained.

    The Lord has given Elders and Deacons to His Church. It is the duty of the elders of a church to guard the pulpit. But each and every one of us has a duty to witness to his family, friends, neighbours, acquaintances and whoever he or she may meet. At the very least we can tell them, 'Come, meet a man who told me all things that I ever did' (John 4:29 ).

    With regard to ordination, I am certainly not opposed to it, but it is God who qualifies men to the ministry. Spurgeon was never officially ordained. At its best, ordination is man catching up with God and recognizing what He has done. At its worst it is giving a spurious respectability to those who may have been taught by men, but have never learned of God.

    Grace & Peace,


    [Edited on 9-20-2005 by Martin Marprelate]
  10. WrittenFromUtopia

    WrittenFromUtopia Puritan Board Graduate

    Ordination comes from God through His Church. Not through autonomy and self-proclaimed rights to ministry.
  11. Scott Bushey

    Scott Bushey Puritan Board Doctor

    1Ti 4:14 Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery.

    Ordination happens practically through Gods ministers, i.e. the apostles, else who is to say who or who isn't ordained properly.
  12. Herald

    Herald Administrator Staff Member

    Ordination does happen through other ordained ministers. But in the end, it is still God who qualifies. He may use other ordained ministers to sanction the calling, but it is still of God.

    I think we are in agreement on
  13. Scott Bushey

    Scott Bushey Puritan Board Doctor

    Yes. As long as there is actual ordiantion precedings by actual ordained men. This silly idea that God ordained me spiritually by coming down from Heaven and anointing me for the ministry does not fly.

    Then we have the issue of legal and proper ordination..........
  14. ChristopherPaul

    ChristopherPaul Puritan Board Senior

    It is an obstacle, but a very necessary one. Too many are "œthrown" into such a position blindly. Small group leaders, Sunday School teachers and other assigned teachers may not require formal ordination, but they should require approval from those who are ordained. In my case, I was put in teaching and preaching situations even though the overseers had no idea what I actually believed.

    The point is not so much as whether I was able to teach or preach, but that no one even made an effort to examine my ability beforehand. As with my recent resignation as small group leader, I believe I taught orthodox doctrine and interpretation, but the point is, the church had no idea what I was teaching. One small group could be taught pelagianistic ideas, another charismatic prosperity gospels, and another Reformed teachings. The church had no idea and insisted on maintaining the stance that anyone can be a small group leader, never mind the confusion that may result.

    As far as my personal ability, I had a lot put on my shoulders to be the "œexpert" at the church I just left. I had no elders to go to for consistent and sound instruction. I was alone and expected to guide all those who came to me.

    The past youth groups I led was during my Arminian/dispensational days (however, at the time I had no clue what that would even mean).

    [Edited on 9-21-2005 by ChristopherPaul]
  15. ChristopherPaul

    ChristopherPaul Puritan Board Senior

    So how does this all play out in the context of message boards?

    Should those who are not appointed either by formal ordination or informal appointment through those ordained, be teaching others within the context of message boards?

    Specifically in regards to this message board, we all list our church with each post we submit.
  16. Herald

    Herald Administrator Staff Member

    Legal according to whose standards? The Presbyterians have their own rules of ordination, as do Baptists. Doctrinal and polity positions aside, it is proper for both to take ordination seriously.
  17. Herald

    Herald Administrator Staff Member

    Chris - there reaches a point where the argument becomes ridiculous. Believers DO have the indwelling Holy Spirit. We are able to understand and interpret God's word.* There are many informal or less structured venues where God's word can be shared. The church is not "big brother", hiding behind corners waiting to smite us because we dared teach someone else. Teaching in the church is different, because what is taught in the church is sanctioned by the pastor and elders. Therefore we need to make sure all such teaching (and the teachers themselves) is approved.

    *While believers have the ability to understand and interpret God's word, I would be cautious if our interpretation differs from the perponderance of church history. There is only one interpretation of scripture. If our interpretion disagrees with the consenus, we need to take a close look at our exegesis. Liberty and heresy are close cousins.
  18. Scott Bushey

    Scott Bushey Puritan Board Doctor

    According to the bible.............Presbyterians follow the bible. Independancy is schismatic, period.
  19. Herald

    Herald Administrator Staff Member

    YOUR opinion...which I do not share at all. I am not Presbyterian. I do not share Presbyterian thought on the matter. But Scott, did either of us think we would agree on this? ;) We're both pretty stubborn on this matter, which is fine. Your my brother in Christ and I am thankful for the areas on which we do agree.
  20. Scott Bushey

    Scott Bushey Puritan Board Doctor

    Whats my opinion, that independancy is schismatic or that Presbyterianism is the correct biblical approach.
  21. Herald

    Herald Administrator Staff Member

    BOTH! You may say it is biblical fact, but I say the same thing about what I believe. But Scott, I am willing to have latitude in the area of denominational differences (to a point). I am not interested in a Baptist-Presbyterian war. That has been done by far greater minds than us, and the conclusions have not changed.
  22. Scott Bushey

    Scott Bushey Puritan Board Doctor

    yea..........I remember back when I thought along the same lines. ;)
  23. ChristopherPaul

    ChristopherPaul Puritan Board Senior

    It appears now that a distinction has been made between teaching within the church and teaching outside of the church. In one setting we are accountable and within the other we are not?

    As far as we know, Origen, Augustine, Luther, Erasmus, Wesley, and Whitfield were all indwelt with the Spirit of Christ. Which Spirit of Christ was right? I am being facetious, but we must be careful in simply saying that we all have the indwelling Holy Spirit and therefore are all entrusted to teach right doctrine outside of the church´s discipline.

    Again I am not talking about sharing Christ, I am talking about guiding people through scripture.

    My church is listed with all my posts, would she be comfortable with that?

    You IDIOT! ;) (just making my point)

    Does any one else have thoughts on this? I appreciate your responses Bill, I would also appreciate other's as well.

  24. Scott Bushey

    Scott Bushey Puritan Board Doctor

    Can you say fellowship? Exhorting, encouraging, rebuking? Teachers are delegated in scripture. It is an official title; the title is given of God and confirmed via earthly witness, i.e. Gods apostles and subsequent ordained.
  25. Steve Owen

    Steve Owen Puritan Board Sophomore

    Mark 9:38-9.
    'Now John answered Him saying, "Teacher, we saw someone who does not follow us casting out demons in Your name, and we forbade him because he does not follow us." But Jesus said, "Do not forbid him, for no one who works a miracle in My name can soon afterwards speak evil of Me. For he who is not against us is for us.'

    Acts 4:13.
    'Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marvelled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus.'

  26. ChristopherPaul

    ChristopherPaul Puritan Board Senior

    Was this in response to me or Bill?
  27. Scott Bushey

    Scott Bushey Puritan Board Doctor

    It was in response to you as comfort.................essentially stating that we here at PB are fellowshipping. Are there nuggets of wisdom to be had, absolutely. However, no one is here as an official teacher.
  28. Scott Bushey

    Scott Bushey Puritan Board Doctor

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