The Prophets- Teachers or Preachers? Part 18

This entry is part 18 of 18 in the series Purpose of the Prophets- Teachers or Preachers?

???? Philip was later found again in Caesarea, where Luke records that he now was an ?evangelist,? they who originated first in Jerusalem.? Time had passed but time finds Philip faithful to his calling.? Blessed of God, we see Philip had four virgin daughters ?that prophesied.? Acts 20:8-9?? Entering the house of Philip, Paul had his third visit to Caesarea, for now Philip had preached the gospel in Caesarea for almost 20 years.?

???? We find the word ?evangelist? used by Luke in this text.? The word evangelist is a translation of a compound Greek word made up of eu, meaning well or good, and angelos, a messenger.? We need to look real close at this word!!? Perhaps, the title was given to Philip because of the type of missionary work he did, that he was located in a certain area and field of endeavor.? What about the rank of the office of an evangelist?? Immediately the question must be faced whether the listing of offices in Ephesians 4:11 is one of descending authority.? If so, the office of evangelist is next in order to that of apostle and prophet.? This in turn raises the question of the evangelist?s position in relation to that of elder (pasturing teacher).? Even if we insist that Ephesians 4:11 lists the offices in the order of descending authority, we never teach that the office of evangelist gives him absolute authority as some of our brethren have taught of the elder!!? The word seems to imply the evangelist was one who proclaimed by word of mouth the glad tidings, the good news, the Gospel.? The office or function of evangelist is mentioned two other places in the New Testament, Ephesians 4:11 and 2 Timothy 4:5.? From these limited sources, the following implications have been drawn: first, it is not easy in every case to distinguish between the activities of an apostle and an evangelist, but it is easy to distinguish between the evangelist and the eldership.? Evangelist was the name given to the writers of the four Gospels.? Two of those were apostles, too, you might remember.? The distinction between apostle and evangelist then might be given in this little formula: all apostles were evangelists but not all evangelists were apostles!!

???? Apostles and prophets were not limited to one congregation, where elders are.? Prophets and evangelist were commissioned to all churches within in a given area.? This seems to be what distinguished Philip from Peter and Paul.? The listing of this office is then geographical in nature!!? A question then has to be asked.? Is an evangelist or prophet (preacher) under the oversight of elders, or an ?outside advisor to the elders? when he is serving with any given congregation.? How were the evangelist appointed?? Evangelist, from the beginning received their commission from the churches, and not directly from Christ, as did the apostles of Christ-see Acts 16:1-3; 1 Timothy 4:14? This can be shown from the case of Timothy in which the hands of the eldership were laid on him for the purpose of setting him aside for the work on which he was embarking, and by parity of argument from the case of Philip.? Paul laid hands on Timothy evidently to impart to him those spiritual gifts which in that age were necessary in order to enable him to fulfill the commission which he had received from the church through the hands of the elders, 2 Timothy 1:6.? Was the office of evangelist temporary (like the office of apostle), or permanent (like the elder and deacon?? Timothy was told to commit the Gospel to faithful men, who in turn would be able to commit it to others, 2 Timothy 2:2.? This has properly been taken as a prerogative for setting aside evangelists-preachers chosen among the members of the church, by the church, not just the eldership, who showed an intense love for Christ during the mature age of the church, that they might fulfill their lives. ??Preach the Word,? resounds from the halls of eternity for such men!!

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