Originally Posted by Pilgrim
I do like John Owen very much and have read through his works. He is especially gifted in regard to the fundamental doctrines of the faith, e.g., sola fide (justification by faith alone) and particularly on the doctrine of the vicarious substitutionary atonement of the LORD Christ. However, having read through the article linked to on this matter of the "office" of evangelist being extraordinary and temporal, I must stand opposed.

1. There is no passage that would even imply that the GIFT of "Evangelists" was an office. Phillip was ordained; set apart as a Deacon but functioned as an evangelist in addition to his basic duties. Likewise, Timothy was set apart as a "pastor-teacher", yet was instructed to also function (do the work of) an evangelist.

2. The "four things which constitute an extraordinary officer in the church of God, and consequently are required in and do constitute an extraordinary office: " are not all to be found in relation to those gifted to be "Evangelists". It would appear that Owen began with a presupposition that the "Evangelists" mentioned in the passage (Eph 4:11) constituted an office which was on the same plane as the Apostles and Prophets. And thus he proceeded on that presupposition to find justification for it. Or, to put it in simpler terms. Owen began with the view that Evangelists belonged to the designation of one belonging to an extraordinary office which was intended to be temporary and then set out to justify that view, rather than finding in the Scriptures a perspicuous teaching of that view. Most everyone I've read admits up front that the designation of "Evangelists" is obscure and that no definitive understanding has been given in Scripture.

3. On that basis, I remain comfortable in my personal view which is shared by many (majority?) that "some should be Evangelists" referred to and continues to be a select group of men (not women) who are sent out into the world as itinerant preachers of the gospel without the authority of "pastor-teachers", i.e., to serve as pastors over a permanent gather of those who have been converted to Christ. These men would be what we today call Missionaries... which unfortunately also today is one of the most corrupt and unorthodox group of men within the visible church. [Linked Image]

For years I have understood the Great Commission to be given to the 11, in Matt.28:16-20; and since Matthias was not mentioned any further than Acts chapter 1, I take Paul as the 12th apostle, and the 12 did preach the gospel to the whole world. When I follow the verb euaggelizo for evangelize from Acts through Revelation, 41 times, it seems to be the apostles doing the preaching with possibly some associates, I could not understand a couple of the verses clearly on the associates. It is true that Philip is called an evangelist and he preached and we have no special statement of his calling to the office; but he is stated to be an evangelist and I do not worry so much about what is not stated. One other verse:

"As for you, always be sober, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, carry out your ministry fully." (2Tim 4:5, NRSV)

When it reads "do the work of an evangelist", that means the Elder is not holding the office of evangelist. Such as the illustration in Merriam-Webster about robots: "a machine that can do the work of a person and that works automatically or is controlled by a computer". A machine that can do the work of a person, but that machine is not a person. I take it from this that Elders were to be preaching the gospel, and the office of evangelist fades away. The 70 Jesus appointed in Luke 10 seem to have been preachers of the gospel, evangelists. Now, I happen to distrust any new invention, novel method or belief, that appeared in the 19th century and afterwards, so as far as the body of Christ goes. The faith was once for all given to the saints of the 1st century church and I suspect anything that took 1800 years to appear and claim legitimacy. I suppose in this, I appear closer to the Primitive (Original) Baptists, who did use Elders to rule, not Deacons. laugh

19th Century movements and novel ideas:
The Shakers
The Oneida Community
Millerites/Adventists (SDA)
Christian Science
Unity School of Practical Christianity
Missionary Societies
Sunday Schools
Charles Finney
abolitionism defined by the "Battle Hymn of the Republic"
Crazy Carrie Nation and her Temperance Union
Showman Billy Sunday
Holiness movement (Phoebe Palmer)Then Pentecostalism
Campbellism (Churches of Christ)
The Social Gospel
Jehovah's Witnesses