I once came across a "Mutual Edification" site which claimed only four true CofC in all of WVa. The young Alexander Campbell set out to destroy what he called "professional clergy." The older Alexander Campbell realized this had been a mistake. The preacher is ideally a catalyst, a coach, and a spokesman for the church. Certainly Timothy was such a one. Each must work within the limits of his talent. I wrote the following parable to illustrate what I am saying.
THE PARABLE OF THE AIRPORT
R. D. Ice
We arrived at the airport. The cab driver set our luggage on the sidewalk, then drove off. No one seemed to be around to help us. So we were forced to carry our own luggage into the terminal.
No one was behind the ticket desk. We looked up to see a large sign which informed us: "Due to the current crisis we have eliminated all paid personnel. Please insert your credit card and punch in your destination. You will receive a magnetic-coded slip."
We carried our luggage over to the check-in desk. There another sign informed us to insert the magnetic slip into the reader, then to walk through the metal detector. We did this and a machine spit out a green plastic card for each of us.
We inserted our green plastic cards into the turnstile at the door, then walked down the loading chute into the airplane. There a sign instructed us to load our own luggage on the plane. We found this difficult to do, finally stowing things in some cupboards and lockers we found.
There seemed to be no stewardesses. Since no seats were assigned, we sat here and there, wherever we were comfortable.
We sat and waited for the plane to take off. Finally someone called our attention to another sign up front. "Please choose one of your number to act as pilot, plus someone to act as copilot for the flight. There are no air-traffic-controllers. You must be especially careful not to conflict with other planes as you taxi for takeoff. Thank you for flying our Airline."
As I woke from my dream, I thought of what the Lord had said. "The 'gifts' which He made are appointments as missionaries, preachers, reporters, organizers and educators, who are to shape the believers into a working force, into a functioning Christian body.” [Ephesians 4:11-12 Jordan's Version] And I prayed to the Lord to give me wisdom and a message for the sermon I was to preach Sunday morning. I am a "paid professional."
Paul planted, Apollos watered the plant, God made the plant grow. Compare 1 Corinthians 3:5-9. The word "evangelist" is used in a broad sense in the Scriptures. "Evangelize" describes only one facet of the preacher's work. A lot of Timothy's time was spent in teaching (1 Timothy 4:6,11-13; 2 Timothy 2:2 [note: men = anthropos = people]). Paul, in addition to planting, spent time teaching and training (Acts 20:31; etc.). He rejoiced and wept with his brothers and sisters in Christ (Romans 12:15). Paul, Barnabas, and others could be called "paid professionals" as they worked for the Lord. [1 Corinthians 9:6-7; 2 Corinthians 11:8; Philippians 4:15-16]
Chaucer [c. 1387] wrote some things about a man who evidently loved God and loved his brothers and sisters in Christ. I have translated this into American English.
His congregation was scattered
and houses far apart,
But he was not discouraged
by rain or thunder,
In sickness and misfortune
The farthest in his congregation,
high or low,
upon his feet,
and in his hand a staff.
This noble example
to his sheep he gave,
that first he did and
afterwards he taught.
He kept at home and guarded
well his fold,
so that the wolf
did not bring disaster.
He was a shepherd
and not a hireling.
Note Jordan's restatement of Acts 20:28. “Keep an eye on yourselves, as well as on the whole group over which the Holy Spirit made you guardians. Take good care of God's fellowship, which He has brought together around the death of His Son."
Note Apollos “watered” where Paul had “planted.” Our Restoration has been severely damaged in some instances by a lack of "watering." About 170 years ago, Walter Scott evangelized in northern Ohio and western Pennsylvania. He baptized some 1,000 people a year for 30 years! A. S. Hayden wrote: "Under Walter Scott a new order arose. It was given to him to blow the trumpet of the gospel. His work was purely an evangelism.. The admirable Osborne saw it, and lamented the absence of a system for holding and training the converts...There is an old Latin proverb which teaches that 'it is right to learn, even of an enemy.' Other religious bodies could have taught us wisdom, if we had not spurned every thing that the fingers of 'sectarianism' had touched." ["Early History of the Disciples on the Western Reserve," A. S. Hayden]
One brother has observed: "If the denominations go in and out the door - we will go in and out the window." Our desire to be "different" can lead us astray and can send us down a "blind alley." There is pleny of evidence in the past to show this to be true.
Jesus Himself warned against the leaven of the Pharisees. Often the "baby is thrown out with the bathwater." Turning to the right is no better than turning to the left. Simply "reacting" against "change" can cause us to do foolish things. The "past" is a good teacher if we are willing to learn from it. If we do not learn, we will repeat the same mistakes over and over.
The young Alexander Campbell was ready to "burn the house down to get rid of the mice." In his excitement and frenzy, he opposed some things simply because others were doing them. Age brought added wisdom, and the results of rash actions became more clear. Some simply destroy, for whatever reasons. It seems always more exciting and popular to destroy, rather than to build.
There will always be a need for spiritual preachers, elders, deacons, teachers - and members. Jesus has put the Gospel into our hands. We are to occupy (do business) until He Comes Again!!!
The Gospel is: JESUS - Crucified, Risen, Coming Again!" We dare not forget: JESUS SAVES!
The Work of a Bible Evangelist.
"I (Paul) planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase." [1 Cor. 3:6] Paul pointed out that he and Apollos were partners working together for God. Their work overlapped as they did the things necessary to make the "plant" grow - even though it was God Himself who was the Source of LIFE. [But God has no hands but our hands, His work of love to do.]
The general rule in the church - the Christian community - is that each is to "submit to one another because of your reverence for Christ" (Eph. 5:21). The Head is Christ Himself. Reverence for Christ is both a motive and an example which Christ Himself set for us. "Submitting" does not imply any inferiority, but rather a mutual sharing of the new life in Christ.
In the NT an evangelist does these things
1. To preach the Gospel (Christ-on-the-cross and His resurrection. 1 Cor. chs 1 & 15). 2 Timothy 4:1-5.
2. To "water" God's church. 1 Cor. 3:5-9. Barnabas was an encourager. He also helped enable Paul's work (Acts 9:26-31).
3. To train and teach other workers. 2 Timothy 2:1-2
4. To put things in order. Titus 1:5; 1 Timothy 5:19-20; 1 Cor. 6:5.
5. To teach in general the true meaning of the Gospel of Christ. Titus chapters 2&3; 1 Cor. 15:1-23.
BUT NOW IS CHRIST RISEN!!!
WHEN HE HAD BY HIMSELF PURGED OUR SINS!!!