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Ask the Pastor

† Theological musings and answers to selected questions by a confessional Lutheran pastor.

17 November 2005


Q: What are some Scriptures that would define what exactly an evangelist is according to the Word of God?

A: The noun translated as “evangelist” appears only three times in Scripture. In Acts 21:8, Philip is called “the evangelist.” Paul tells Timothy (2 Timothy 4:5) to “do the work of an evangelist.” Ephesians 4:11 mentions it as an office in the Church, placing it in a list of offices among pastor and teacher, apostle, and prophet.

Its root meaning is “one who announces good news.” The verbal form is usually translated as preaching or proclaiming the Good News. Another related noun is simply translated “Good News” or “Gospel.” The idea of this proclamation is not original to the New Testament — proclaiming “glad tidings” is part of the message of Isaiah (see 40:9 and 52:7).

While a definition is not given, by context we see than an evangelist is one who brings the Good News of salvation in Christ Jesus to those who do not know Him. It does not appear that people merely set themselves up to be evangelists, but that along with others in Church offices, they are called by the Holy Ghost through the Christian Church and are sent on their way.

This doesn’t mean that the Gospel is not a part of the everyday Christian’s life, for each believer takes Christ home, to work or school, and elsewhere. Yet not everyone is specially charged with the public proclamation of the Gospel as a primary task. Just as not every believer was or is an apostle, prophet, or pastor and teacher, so not every Christian is an evangelist.

Scripture quoted from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version™, © 2001 by Crossway Bibles.

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Walter Snyder is the pastor of Holy Cross Lutheran Church, Emma, Missouri and coauthor of the book What Do Lutherans Believe.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello from Montreal, Canada.
My name is Wren and I just happened upon your blog today.
I have a family friendly discussion forum, and am trying to get discussion on various sects...or just plain old christian discussion! There is a christian section which already has a couple of threads (sects) in progress. Please feel free to join in the discussion or, if you don't see your church mentioned in any of the topic titles in that section, please feel free to create your own new topic for it.
Registration is free and the forum rules are posted at the top of the various sections.
It would be an honor to have you post there...that is if you wish to, of course.
Have a wonder filled day!

19 November, 2005 15:22  

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