Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
May 1, 1952

Questions For The "Dislocated Preachers"

Robert A. Bolton, Chowchilla, California

Recently we have heard much about the "sin" and "unscripturalness" of congregations of the church engaging a man to locate and work with them in "preaching the word." The cry goes out that such "located preachers" are in reality nothing more than "hirelings" who are "one man pastors" as much as any found among the denominations.

Such statements and accusations may not seem important enough to warrant consideration by many, but behind them rests that which has literally "split" the church on occasion and caused very dear and near friends to come to a parting of the ways, while the cause of Christ has been visibly deterred before the eyes of an already unbelievable and divided world.

Certainly, if the "one man pastor" system exists in any congregation of the church, or if an evangelist takes it upon himself to do the work of the elders in any congregation with which he is laboring, it is wrong and should be corrected. But in my quest for the truth on this subject, I can not accept the belief that it is wrong for an evangelist to work in "preaching the word" to a congregation of Christians, under the oversight of scriptural elders, while he is supported by that congregation. Therefore, I humbly submit the following questions for consideration by those who believe the "located preacher" is wrong:

1. What is meant by "located preacher"?

2. Are all preachers "located"?

3. If not, how long does it take a preacher to get "located"?

4. If a preacher preaches in a "gospel meeting" for a week or ten days, is he "located"?

6. Were Barnabas and Saul "located" or not when "even for a whole year they were gathered together with the church"? (Acts 11:26)

6. Where is the command, example, or necessary inference in the New Testament that makes known the length of time a preacher is to remain in one location?

7. What determines the length of time a preacher should remain in one place "preaching the word"?

8. What does it mean, "to feed the church of the Lord"? (Acts 20:28)

9. Was Paul an elder when he "fed" the church in Corinth? (1 Cor. 3:2)

10. When a preacher is "preaching the word" is he feeding those that are listening?

11. Does all the teaching and preaching in a congregation with scriptural elders have to be done by those elders?

12. What does the term "exercising the oversight, mean? (1 Pet. 5:2)

13. Is it permissible for a preacher to preach one sermon to a congregation of Christians who are under the oversight of scriptural elders and receive financial support for his work? If not, why not?

14. If so, would it be wrong for the same preacher to remain long enough to preach several sermons in a protracted meeting, to the same congregation under the oversight of scriptural elders, and receive remuneration for his efforts?

15. How long would a preacher have to remain in the above situation (No. 14) before he became "located"?

16. Would a preacher, under the oversight of elders, (No. 14) be doing his own work of an evangelist by way of "reproving, rebuking, exhorting, with all long-suffering and teaching" (2 Tim. 4:2), or would he be doing the "feeding" work of the elders themselves?

17. Is an elder always above the need of ever being included in the group that needs to be "reproved, rebuked, and exhorted"?

18. If not, who is the one or ones to "reprove and rebuke and exhort him?

19. Is "for the time will come when they will not endure the sound doctrine" the reason why Paul admonishes Timothy to "do the work of an evangelist" by telling him to "preach the word; be urgent in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with all long-suffering and teaching"? (2 Tim. 4:1-5)

20. Did Paul include the elders of the church in Ephesus when he said "from among your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them"? (Acts 20:23)

21. Is it wrong for a preacher to "do the work of an evangelist" (No. 19) in a congregation of people where elders are "exercising the oversight"?

22. Is "the laborer worthy of his hire"? (1 Tim. 5:18)

23. If so, is it wrong for a preacher to receive financial support for his work as an evangelist?

24. If not, how much or how little can he receive, and how regularly or how irregularly can he receive it?

25. Would it be wrong for an evangelist to agree to "preach for whatever support, financially, you want to give me"?

27. Where is the sin in "and when he had agreed with the laborers for a shilling a day, he sent them into his vineyard"? (Matt. 20:2)

28. Are these matters concerning "located preachers" in the realm of opinion or faith?

29. If they are in the realm of opinion, why have congregations of the church been "split asunder" and lifelong friends come to a "parting of the ways" over these issues, and who is guilty of the "parting"?

30. If they are in the realm of faith, will those "located preachers" and congregations who support them be condemned eternally if they continue in this "sinful practice"? If not, why not?

31. If so, do those who advocate the "dislocated," "evangelistic control and oversight" and "no salary" preacher disfellowship the "located preachers" and congregations who support them, and if not, why not?

Brethren, may the Lord hasten the day when the church in the 20th Century will possess the spirit of the church in Jerusalem during the first century, the multitude of whom "were of one heart and soul" (Acts 4:32); for "Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity," (Ps. 133:1) so "that the world may believe" that God sent His Son. (John 17:21)