You invite communications as to the relation of the evangelist to the assembly. The discussion is likely to be of much profit, with the Lord's help.
I wish to speak from the side of the assembly's responsibility.
In how few meetings do the prayers rise beyond the local needs! What a contrast there often is between the hearty "Amens" if prayer is made for a well-known saint, and the chilling silence that creeps over the meeting if the work of a local evangelist is mentioned.
How many assemblies feel any responsibility to minister to the needs of such? How few show any really hearty labour and sympathy with the workers!
If there is prayer for the gospel, do not some brothers evince by their listlessness that they have no sympathy with it, and that to pray for evangelizing is, in their opinion, to drag down the meeting, and to manifest a very low state of things?
Is not assembly fellowship in gospel preaching to every creature often prevented by brothers who have their own opinion as to how matters should be worked, and who thrust that judgment upon the assembly without having had any experience in the work? How far is this to be looked upon as the deliberate judgment of a gathering?
In short, is it not often impossible to evangelize with the fellowship of the assembly, because the assembly has no fellowship in evangelizing?
How hard do those who object to notices work to supply their place by themselves personally inviting the unconverted to come to the preaching?
How many assemblies do not increase, and the younger brothers have little interest in the Lord's work, because they have no acquaintance with the Spirit's activity in the gospel?
I am putting these questions, Mr. Editor, for consideration. There are, thank God, many exceptions to what I have described; but is it putting the case too strongly to say that many assemblies have, in a great measure, lost sense of their responsibility in the gospel, and to the workers in that blessed service?
Your brother in Christ, E. C-p.
My dear Brother in the Lord,
I am glad the subject of the relationship of the evangelist to the assembly has been brought forward for consideration. It is a most important subject, and the Word clearly shows that the evangelist is not only to be in fellowship with the assembly, but I think it also teaches that the assembly is responsible concerning the evangelist and his work. Acts 13:2, 4 shows the qualifications of the servant; from Acts 18:24-28 and Romans 10:15 we learn by whom they are sent; and in Proverbs 24:27 we get the principle on which the work is to be carried out.
God forbid that one word should be said to discourage any of the Lord's servants whom He has qualified and commissioned. There are two things necessary for every servant - the word of Christ dwelling in them richly (Col. 3:16), and the love of Christ constraining them. (2 Cor. 5:14.) According to Luke 24:49 they were to tarry until they were endued with power from on high; and in John 10:9 they were to go in before they came out.
The only perfect Servant could say, "He wakeneth morning by morning, He wakeneth Mine ear to hear as the learned." (Isa. 50:4.) If HE was the dependent Servant, how much more the best of servants today!
My desire is simply to turn to the word of God for a few examples of how His servants carried on the work at the beginning. And mark well where the work of God originated. It commenced from a prayer meeting (Acts 1:13); and the result was three thousand souls brought to the feet of the Lord Jesus. And when Peter and John, in the name of Jesus, proclaimed liberty and salvation to the lame man, the hatred of man's heart which came out against that name only cast them more upon God; so they had recourse to prayer, and God's power was so manifest that the place was shaken where they were assembled together, and filled with the Holy Ghost. They spake the word with all boldness (Acts 4:31), and although Satan came in for the moment to try and spoil the work by deception, yet multitudes of men and women were added to the Lord. (Acts 5:14.) And when Stephen was martyred the people of God were scattered abroad, and, preaching the word, great numbers believed, and turned to the Lord. (Acts 11:21.)
Then Peter, who had opened the door to the Jews, opened it also to the Gentiles, and while he spake the word unto them the Lord put His seal upon them (Acts 10:44); God gave His approval. And when Paul preached the word of the gospel in Antioch, many believed and glorified the Lord. (Acts 13:48.)
These few instances clearly prove the relationship of the evangelist to the assembly, while on the other hand we find the assembly watching over the work (Acts 8:14) of the evangelist. The servants, moreover, were men so fitted by God, and filled by His power, that there was no need to try and create an interest, but the power of God came down and moved men and women to believe on the Son of God.
May the Lord of the harvest raise up many, filled with His word and with the Holy Ghost, who can handle both the happer* and the sickle, for truly the fields are white unto harvest.
Yours in Christ, W. W.
*Case for holding corn for sowing by hand.