GIFT OF EVANGELIST
Do You Have This Gift?
(This article was written by the Chief Bishop to stimulate a better understanding of the Church's Evangelistic work.)
It looks to me as though Catholicism had led the world, the Christian people, into a great error that even the Reformation of Martin Luther (or the great man D. L. Moody and Calvary, and many other noble ministers who have had the Hand of God on them including the Late A. J. Tomlinson) has course of this gift of an Evangelist.
I would like to share some light with you on this subject as the goal of The Church of god is to have a perfect ministry and this we believe we have. I do not mean men perfect in it but the reformation of it and its offices I believe we do have.
There are five outstanding gifts to the ministry. They are given for the Church not for the Kingdom. I would like to use a Scripture to being with, the old favorite one used so many times, where the five gifts are quoted in Ephesians the 4th chapter beginning at the 11th verse.
"And he gave some, apostles; (failed to reach back far enough in their research to find the true) and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers. For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the son of god, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ;"
Now what has been overlooked in this Scripture is the fact that these are special gifts to be used in working at the perfecting of the Church as a whole and the individual saints of the Church. They are given wholly to the Body of Christ to bring the saints to the unity of the faith and to the knowledge of the Son of God unto a perfect man. The theory has been handed down through the centuries that an evangelist was a traveling soul saver. To an extent his ministry would be and so are all the other ministries; likewise, even to the man who has the gift of an apostle. He is a traveling soul saver. The Early Apostles pointed this out in their labor. But, this gift given to a minister would be used directly in the church and only for the Church.
Now this does not look like what we term the old evangelist system, that, the evangelist is to travel in new fields, go to local churches, and his gift is to work at the saving of the soul. According to this Scripture that is completely contrary; however, every minister's commission is to get souls saved. This commission of healing, casting out devils, cleansing the leper, raising the dead is a commission to all the Kingdom ministers. Jesus made it clear if anyone had faith they could do these things. The five gifts are somewhat different from this commission. They are given to bring about a perfect organization (Church) as described in the 5th chapter of Ephesians. This gift of an evangelist is one of the gifts that works wholly to being this about.
Let us go to another Scripture that will probably show a greater light on the gift of an evangelist. Timothy, and Philip, are examples, but, even Paul an apostle and prophet, as well as other ministers with these gifts, conducted some revivals just as great. So you can see that the gift of an evangelist does not mean just a soul-saving revival.
Now let us use Timothy. Paul charged Timothy to make full proof of his ministry and do the work of an evangelist. Now what was Timothy doing at the time Paul gave him this charge to carry out his work -- well? Was he in a soul saving revival or was he in some kind of a church revival? Perhaps the Scripture itself will turn some light on the subject.
"Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry (II Timothy 4:2-5)."
Now to open up this subject greater, consider the ministry of Timothy as an evangelist and over there doing the work of an evangelist. It looks to me like, in accordance with the Scriptures, he was working at the perfecting of those saints. Preaching doctrine, revelation, reviving the people and getting the saints to line up with the Word of God. Now what do you think about that?
We realize when these seven offices were filled it was due to the lack of the widows being taken care of and due to this each one of these seven held their responsibility of taking care of secular affairs and departments of the Church along with their ministry and their gift. Timothy was charged by Paul and was given the regulations or rulings of the widows home as it seemed Timothy had the authority to accept them in the home or to refuse them. So, this is another great spot light on this office and gift. It appeared that Philip, the evangelist, had this as his secular work in the Church and handed it on down to the beloved Timothy as an Evangelist.
So, have you been given the gift of an evangelist? This gift in the past has been taken too lightly. It has been handed to all mankind as the beginning of their ministry. Little children, grownups, men and women who begin were issued evangelist papers but a great mistake has been made. This is an office wholly responsible for the spirituality of the Saints to establish them in doctrine and revelation. I began this evangelistic effort many years ago when I started the Biblical Wonder Campaign. I was on the right track even though some thought I wasn't, but now we have no barriers! Let us move forward in the perfect ministry. Suppose you search this subject out and see what you think about it!
The closest interpretation of this gift that I have been able to find is handed down from the Greek language. They compare him, the evangelist, in the order of a traveling pastor and that his gift is distinct as much so as an apostle or prophet. Of course, he is the spreader of glad tidings, but glad tidings of the gospel extends beyond soul saving. It is the Word of God brought to others or the true story of the gospel.
* Article Written By: The Late Grady R. Kent, St. John II, Chief Bishop of The Church of God, 1957-1964. This sermon was taken from The Vision Speaks, Volume 4 : Number 5 : October 1961.
] All grammatical and typographical errors have been corrected except for direct quotations from the Author. Thought content of said article has not been changed.