Vol.IX No.V Pg.7
July 1972

?You Know What?

Robert F. Turner

Bro. Turner:

To what extent is an evangelist in a foreign field amenable to elders of the church which sent him out?


What is meant by "sent him outer"???

ROM.10:15 refers to God sending inspired apostles to the Gentiles. (see ISA.52:6-f. which is Messianic) This passage does not say that a church must "send" (authorize, approve) a man before he can go with the gospel.

In ACT.13:1-4 brethren "separated" from their number certain ones, to be "sent" by the Holy Spirit. In "delivering" or "committing" them (ACT.14:26;15:40) they simply acknowledged a mutual trust in the grace of God and His purposes. The K.J. "recommended" here does not imply authorization or "official" sanction. Had the brethren in Antioch refused to "send" Paul and Barnabas, it would only have reflected discredit upon Antioch, and would not have lessened by one whit the right of these men to go. The "calling" or "authorization" was from God (ACT.13:4; GAL.1:11-15-f) and was recognized as such. (GAL.2:7-9)

I find no Bible authority for the popular concept of the local church (or its elders) as the medium of organization or government for the universal church. I believe many are unwittingly establishing a clime for denominational machinery when they insist that local elders (and what other kind are there?) must sanction and approve all evangelistic work, to give it divine approval.

The local church is a "team" of saints, and scriptural elders are the divinely approved overseers for harnessing and directing this collective activity. (1PE.5:2-3; 1TH.5:12; ITI.3:5) But a saint is to "teach others also" (2TI.2:2) by virtue of his standing before God, not on the basis of some supposed "official" sanction from local church or elders. (Fo1lowing great apostasy, where do suppose a Campbell or Stone would get "authority" to preach the truth)

When a group of brethren making up a local church desire to support an evangelist at home or abroad, their overseers should coordinate and lead in this activity. They should determine the ability and soundness of the man to be supported, determine the amount or extent to which the church could support him, and counsel and confer with the man in order to reach such agreements as are necessary to a "sharing relationship" in the work.

If the evangelist does his work in the environs of the supporting church he should be subject to those overseers in the same sense as any other member. If he worships and works regularly with saints abroad, I believe he is subject to the obligations of that fellowship, as any other member there. The source of a mans support does not alter the divine plan

Two-way communications should be maintained between the man abroad and the supporting church -- to enhance and strengthen the fellowship between them; and support should be stopped if the man ceases to work faithfully. This is the moral obligations of supporter and supported. But the MASTER of both parties is Jests Christ.