Originally Posted by Pilgrim
Originally Posted by PerpetualLearner
Up front, I have a very negative view of revivalism. I also believe the older Presbyterians, Baptists and Methodists were correct that the office of "evangelist" was an extraordinary office that no longer exists, being only for the apostolic age. It seems that Pastors are to be preaching the gospel, doing the work of an evangelist.

1. I share your negativism of MODERN revivalism, which would stretch back to the early 1800's, and made popular by Charles Grandison Finney. [Linked Image] Man does not bring about "revival", but rather God the Spirit brings revival according to the eternal good pleasure of God in order to gather His elect at the appointed time.

2. Now, as to the matter of the office of evangelist, I'm curious what writings you have consulted which have brought you to the conclusion that "evangelists" (Eph 4:11) was an "extraordinary office that no longer exists..."? scratchchin The original word is euaggelistas; one who brings good news euaggelion. Examples of such men can be found in Phillip (Acts 6:5, 8:5-13, 26-40, 21:8) and Timothy (2Tim 4:5). Although there may not be a definitive statement as to what evangelists actually did, I do believe that one would not be incorrect to conclude that the office of "evangelist" would be that which we today call "missionary", i.e., an itinerant preacher who does not have a permanent congregation where he would serve as a "pastor/teacher". [as a side note, if this is true, then this certainly would have much to say against the modern practice of sending men and women as missionaries evilgrin].

All the sources I have in my library are in agreement with the above, i.e., the "evangelists" of old are men gifted by Christ and His Spirit which are to be understood as those who traveled about preaching the good news of the Gospel, aka: missionaries. To be honest, I have never read anyone who believed that the office of "evangelist" was temporary. And I freely admit that I haven't read everyone who has written on this subject. grin But I have read enough orthodox and well known men to persuade me that my own exegesis and interpretation of that passage is correct.

Pilgrim and Tom, I'd heard several times that in years past many believed the 'office' of an evangelist was extraordinary, meant only for the apostolic age. I encountered a modern statement to that effect online:

From the Protestant Reformed Churches in America website:
"Unlike the offices of apostle, prophet and evangelist (which we considered in the last News) that of pastor and teacher (the other church office listed in Ephesians 4:11) is not an extraordinary office (though it is a special office). First, the extraordinary offices (apostle, prophet and evangelist) involved all or some of the following: an extraordinary call, direct revelation and miracle working. None of these extraordinary gifts are part of the office of pastor/teacher. Second, the extraordinary offices are temporary, ending with the apostolic age, whereas the office of pastor/teacher (like the offices of elder and deacon) is permanent, lasting until Christís bodily turn (cf. I Tim. 3; 6:14). Third, whereas pastors/teachers are called by a particular church, the extraordinary offices involved authority over the churches in general (and usually included itinerancy)."

John Wesley:
"And, among other his free gifts, he gave some apostles - His chief ministers and special witnesses, as having seen him after his resurrection, and received their commission immediately from him. And same prophets, and some evangelists - A prophet testifies of things to come; an evangelist of things past: and that chiefly by preaching the gospel before or after any of the apostles. All these were extraordinary officers. The ordinary were. Some pastors - Watching over their several flocks. And some teachers - Whether of the same or a lower order, to assist them, as occasion might require."

Matthew Poole:
"Evangelists; these were likewise extraordinary officers, for the most part chosen by the apostles, as their companions and assistants in preaching the word, and planting churches in the several places where they travelled. Such were Timothy, Titus, Apollos, Silas, &c. "

Matthew Henry:
"The officers which Christ gave to his church were of two sorts - extraordinary ones advanced to a higher office in the church: such were apostles, prophets, and evangelists. The apostles were chief. These Christ immediately called, furnished them with extraordinary gifts and the power of working miracles, and with infallibility in delivering his truth; and, they having been the witnesses of his miracles and doctrine, he sent them forth to spread the gospel and to plant and govern churches. The prophets seem to have been such as expounded the writings of the Old Testament, and foretold things to come. The evangelists were ordained persons (2 Timothy 1:6), whom the apostles took for their companions in travel (Galatians 2:1), and sent them out to settle and establish such churches as the apostles themselves had planted (Acts 19:22), and, not being fixed to any particular place, they were to continue till recalled, 2 Timothy 4:9."

John Gill:
"and some evangelists; by whom are designed, not so much the writers of the Gospels, as Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, some of which were also apostles; as preachers of the Gospel, and who yet were distinct from the ordinary ministers of it; they were below the apostles, and yet above pastors and teachers; they were the companions of the apostles, and assistants to them, and subserved them in their work; such were Philip, Luke, Titus, Timothy, and others; these were not fixed and stated ministers in anyone place, as the following officers be, but were sent here and there as the apostles thought fit:"

I do not know if men like Hudson and Whitefield called themselves an "evangelist" or not, but if they did, it seems they were out of the mainstream of their day.