Who Can Preach the Gospel?

Question?   -   Newsletter   -   New!
Should Christians strive to personally preach the gospel or is it God's will that only a few special people do the job? Is the Great Commission Jesus gave just before he ascended to heaven (Matthew 28:18 - 20, Mark 16:15 - 18 and Luke 24:47) meant to be carried out only by a few people?

Nearly all of the efforts in a modern church to preach the gospel (evangelism) focuses around a person (usually a male) who is "ordained." They go by such religious titles as minister, pastor, elder or priest. They are usually the ones who preach, teach, evangelize, study the Bible, pray for others and so on. This is not, however, how the New Testament church of God operated!

The Bible states average Christians began to play a dynamic part in promulgating and preaching the gospel message on the day the New Testament church began in power in 30 A.D.!

Believers, on Pentecost, not only helped preach the good news of God's kingdom they played an integral part of baptizing 3,000 people. This task would have been impossible for just the twelve apostles to do in an eight hour period (see Acts 2)!

Did persecution of the early church cause church members to abandon their efforts to spread the gospel and the teachings of the Bible? Did they opt to let only the apostles do the work of God?

And that day a great persecution arose against the church that was in Jerusalem; and all the believers were scattered . . . those who were scattered passed through everywhere, PREACHING THE WORD OF THE GOSPEL" (Acts 8:1, 4, HBFV throughout)

Now those who had been scattered by the persecution that arose concerning Stephen went through Phoenicia and Cyprus and Antioch, speaking the word . . .

But certain men among them who were Cypriots and Cyrenians came to Antioch and spoke to the Greeks, PREACHING THE GOSPEL OF THE Lord JESUS. And the hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number believed . . ." (Acts 11:19 - 21).

Note the following carefully. When persecution against the church started, the apostles stayed in Jerusalem (Acts 8:1) while the brethren were the first ones to preach God's truth in distant lands.

What was God's response to the efforts of average church members to spread the gospel? Did he decide to not honor their efforts since they clearly (both men AND women) were not 'ordained' as ministers by the apostles? Did he reject their attempts to preach and teach others about his ways because it was a job meant for only the clergy class to perform?

Not only did God abundantly bless the efforts of his people to tell others the gospel, the response was so great that the church in Jerusalem had to send Barnabas (a leader in the church) to find out what was going on (Acts 11:22)!

When Barnabas finally saw what was happening, instead of chastising the brethren for doing something they were not 'suppose' to do (as many churches today would do), he rejoiced in their gospel efforts (Acts 11:23).

What did Paul teach?

Did the apostle Paul teach it was rebellion against God for anyone who was not 'ordained' or who did not first seek approval by church leaders (see Galatians 2:1 - 6) to preach the gospel? Writing from a prison cell, Paul told the church in Philippi the following.

And most of the brethren, trusting in the Lord, have been emboldened by my bonds to speak the Word more abundantly without fear . . .

What then shall I say? Nevertheless, in every way, whether in pretext or in truth, Christ is being proclaimed; and I rejoice in this, yes, and will also continue to rejoice (Philippians 1:14 - 15, 18).

Rather than Paul condemning brethren for preaching the gospel to the masses he praises their efforts!

God never intended his church to be divided into two distinct classes - those who had permission to serve, lead and preach the gospel (the clergy class) and all others whose primarily purpose is to 'pay, pray, stay and obey.'

Christians, by virtue of their calling, have been given permission to use whatever talents and spiritual gifts they possess (see 1Corinthians 12, Ephesians 4), to preach the gospel to anyone they can reach in the world!

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