The Organization of the Lord Part 9
The evangelist has qualifications as do the ecclesiastical order of the body of Christ. Only such men are eligible as possess these specified requirements. The evangelist must be learned in the Holy Scriptures, and continue in them. 2 Timothy 3:14,17; 1 Tim 4:13-16. He must be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient. 2 Timothy 4:13-16. He must be pure. 1 Timothy 5:22; 6:11; 2 Timothy 2:22 He must be of those who have a good reputation where he is known. Acts 16:1-3. These qualifications demand the most thorough preparation, high moral attainments, wide experience and unfeigned and abiding faith. If these instructions are strictly heeded and fully carried out, only the strongest, true and tried men will be found in the evangelistic office!
How should an evangelist be selected and inducted into office? The call and ordination of Timothy furnishes an instructive example Paul found him at Lystra, and learned of the faith of his mother and grandmother, and that from a child he had known the Holy Scriptures. He learned of the “good report” of the brethren at Lystra and Iconium. Acts 16:1-3 It is generally understood that the brethren of Lystra (I am not sure they were elders or if there were elders among them) recommended Timothy to the apostle. This is a precedent, that at least two local congregations join together, led by some previously approved evangelist, to set a brother apart for “the work whereunto I have called you.” Paul then gave Timothy post-graduate training in education, and taught him all the details of the important work to which he was about to be called, the work of a prophet. A gift was given him by prophecy “with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery.” 1 Timothy 4:14 Then a gift of God was conferred “by the putting on of Paul’s hands.” 2 Timothy 1:6 It was given to him by prophecy, or according to prophecy; that is, by a particular inspiration or prophetic impulse moving Paul to make choice of Timothy for this office, and to approve him in this manner. This was a divine sanction of the person chosen as fit for several functions. These invested Timothy with the evangelistic office and the office of a prophet.
All Churches of Christ, however numerous, constitute but ONE Church of Christ; and in all cases where public officers are to be chosen, especially evangelists, who are to be regarded as officers of the whole body, a concurrence of a plurality of churches by their officers or other chosen representatives should be regarded as necessary. Unlike the eldership, the evangelist can serve more than one congregation, simultaneously, be a member of a congregation in yet another locale, and be an officer in all the congregations in which he might work. This gives the evangelist general acceptance, and constitutes them public, responsible agents of the whole Body of Christ!
It is interesting to note that the congregations presented Timothy (on whom they had laid hands) to Paul (who also laid hands on Timothy). Why both? It was for two offices! Timothy was to be a preacher’s teacher, a prophet, qualified by an apostle!! Listen to these words: “The things you did hear of me from many witnesses, these commit to faithful men, such shall be competent to teach others, also.” 2 Timothy 2:2 “Put them in remembrance”, “teach them to avoid vain babblings, it will eat them alive” verse 16, as it did Hymeneus and Philetus, who had ‘wondered away’, verse 18, for ‘the Lord knows who are His’ and teach everyone to depart from adding to the Word of God, that they might be a vessel of God for every work for which God has called them, for some oppose themselves.” Verse 21,25, 26 “Do this in meekness, Timothy” for they are captives of Satan and your job is to expose or restore them! (We will continue in chapter 3, next)