Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
October 29, 1953

Garrett's Exegesis On Romans -- No. 2

W. Curtis Porter, Monette, Arkansas

In the preceding article attention was given to Leroy Garrett's exegesis of Romans as he tried to prove that Romans 1:15 did not refer to the church when Paul declared himself "ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also." All of this, of course, to prove that it is wrong to "preach to the church" and that the practice of employing a "located preacher" for such work is contrary to the scriptures. You will keep in mind that he claims preaching is for the lost and that teaching is for the church. Since "preaching to the church" is unscriptural, an evangelist cannot be employed to do that; and since "teaching the church" is the work of the elders, an evangelist could not be employed to do that. Therefore, according to him and his associates, there is no scriptural way to employ an evangelist to work with a church. But let us take a further look at his exegesis of Romans as he tries to prove that Paul had no idea of preaching to the church in Romans 1:15. I take these quotations from an article Brother Garrett had in BIBLE TALK for May of 1953. He further says:

"Jesus had told Paul concerning his visit to Rome: 'As you have testified about me at Jerusalem, so you must bear witness also at Rome.' (Acts 23:11) In Acts 9:28 it says: 'He (Paul) went in and out among them in Jerusalem, preaching boldly in the name of the Lord.' This work was with the unbelievers. Jesus says that Paul was to do in Rome what he did in Jerusalem. He preached to the lost in Jerusalem; therefore, Paul's mission to Rome was to preach to the same class that he preached to around Jerusalem — the lost."

No one denies that Paul's mission to Rome included his bearing witness to unbelievers or preaching to the lost. This is most readily granted. But to say that this was the extent of his mission is contrary to the facts as revealed in the word of the Lord! He also told the church at Rome that "I am ready to preach the gospel to you." And when "he went in and out among them in Jerusalem, preaching boldly in the name of the Lord" (the quotation is from the Revised Standard Version), to whom does "them" refer? The very context shows that it refers to the apostles and other disciples at Jerusalem. When Paul "went out" and "preached boldly in the name of the Lord" was he preaching to outsiders, to unbelievers? This would be readily granted. But if he "preached boldly" when he "went in among them" to whom was he preaching? Since the pronoun "them" referred to members of the church in Jerusalem, what was Paul doing preaching "among them" anyway? Did he not know that he was transcending his authority? Why did he not do all of his preaching where Christ had never been named? Had Paul become the pastor of the church in Jerusalem when he preached "among them"?

Concerning Paul's preaching to outsiders at Rome, Brother Garrett informs us:

"Luke tells us in Acts 28 that Paul did just that. First, he summoned the Jewish leaders and answered their questions about 'the sect everywhere spoken against.' These were unbelievers. When these Jews rejected the gospel, Paul turned to the Gentiles (verse 28), and then Luke says: 'He lived there two whole years at his own expense (or own hired dwelling), and welcomed all who came to him, preaching the kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ quite openly and unhindered.' Luke doesn't even mention any work that Paul did with the church at Rome."

What do you mean, Brother Garrett, by telling us that "Luke doesn't even mention any work that Paul did with the church at Rome"? Why the very quotation you gave says that for "two whole years" Paul was "preaching the kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ." Have you forgotten the difference between "preaching" and "teaching"? Do you not remember that "all preaching is for the lost, not for the church" and that "teaching is for the church, not for the lost"? When Paul was "preaching," therefore, he was working among unbelievers, but when he was "teaching," he was working with the church at Rome! This had to be, according to Brother Garrett's position on "preaching" and "teaching."

So Luke tells of two whole years that Paul worked with the church at Rome, during which time he also preached to unbelievers, even according to Brother Garrett. But if he should say that this still does not prove that he "preached to the church" but that he simply "taught the church," he will not be helped out of his difficulty, for, after all, what right had Paul to teach the church? I thought that was "the work of the elders" and that a preacher had no right to do such work. Had Paul failed to make this distinction that Leroy and Carl are telling us about? Then, too, I would like to know if Paul had a scriptural right to stay at a place "for two whole years" and "preach to unbelievers" while he was "teaching the church," why would not a gospel preacher today have the same right? Would the difference be that Paul did it "at his own expense" but today the preacher is supported while he does it? If this is the difference, then the sin is not in preaching and teaching but in being supported. But remember this: Paul did the very same thing, according to Brother Garrett, that located preachers do today — he preached to outsiders and taught the church, granting for the time being his distinction between the words preach and teach. And if Paul could do that for two whole years, why would not doing the same things today be doing the work of an evangelist?

In the New Testament "teach" is translated from different Greek words. The same is true with the English word "preach." But wherever the word "teach" occurs, according to Brother Garrett and his associates, it refers to instruction given to the church; and wherever the word "preach" occurs it refers to the proclamation of the gospel to the lost. For remember, according to them, that you cannot preach to the church and you cannot teach the lost. If you can, then their distinction between the two words breaks down, and their theory is utterly overthrown.

Sometimes the word "teach" is translated from the Greek "didasko" which means, according to Thayer's Lexicon, "to hold discourse with others in order to instruct them, deliver didactic discourses." And the word "preach" is often translated from the Greek "kerusso" which Thayer defines to mean "to be a herald; to officiate as a herald; to proclaim after the manner of a herald." So when these two words are used, "didasko" (teach) has to do with instructing the church, and "kerusso" (preach) has to do with proclaiming good news to the lost.

A writer in one of our religious papers called Brother Garrett's attention to the use of these two words in Romans 2:21 to prove that his distinction between the words was not true. In this passage Paul said: "Thou that teachest (didaskon) another, teachest (didaskeis) thou not thyself? Thou that preachest (kerusson) a man should not steal, dost thou steal?" From this statement of Paul it is evident that the words "teachest" and "preachest" are used interchangeably. Furthermore, they are applied to instruction given to the same people. The word "kerusson" (preach), which, Brother Garrett contends, refers only to the proclamation of the death, burial and resurrection of Christ, with perhaps the conditions of salvation, to the lost, is used here to refer to instruction given concerning stealing. But to preach "thou shalt not steal" is not the good news that Brother Garrett claims must be preached to the lost. In an effort to uphold his theory on "teaching" and "preaching" Brother Garrett says:

"To whom is Paul speaking? Not to Christians, for verse 17 says, 'If you call yourself a Jew and rely upon the law.' The whole section ... is addressed to the Jews at Rome. The message of Jews to the Gentiles was a moral gospel which included the prohibition against stealing. They were to preach 'Thou shalt not steal' as part of God's law to the nations. This has no reference to Christians 'preaching' to brethren not to steal. Thus Paul says to them in verse 24: 'The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.' Why? Because they were not practicing what they preached to the Gentiles." Quoted from BIBLE TALK, May, 1953.

This exegesis of Brother Garrett's is very unfortunate for his theory. "The whole section," remember, "is addressed to the Jews at Rome." It has to do with their "moral gospel" to the Gentiles. And since they did not practice what they preached to the Gentiles "the name of God was blasphemed among the Gentiles." The "Jews" occupied the same place, with respect to this instruction, that the church occupies now; and the "Gentiles" occupied the same place that "alien sinners" occupy now. Just as the "church" must now "preach" the gospel of Christ to "alien sinners," the "Jews" then "preached" their "moral gospel" (Thou shalt not steal) to the "Gentiles." Thus Brother Garrett hopes to maintain his position on "teaching" and "preaching."

Keep in mind, therefore, that "this whole section" applies to the "Jews at Rome" and refers to the instruction given to the Gentiles. That being true, the Jews "preached" to the Gentiles. (Verse 21) But the same verse, in the same section, addressed to the same people, said, "Thou that teachest another, teachest thou not thyself?" Who was doing this teaching? The Jews, says Brother Garrett. Whom were they teaching? The Gentiles. Thus he has the Jews both "preaching" to and "teaching" the Gentiles. I thought "preaching" was for the outsider and "teaching" for the insider, but in this case he has the "Gentile," parallel to the alien sinner in his set up, receiving both "preaching" and "teaching." In his theory "preaching" a moral gospel to the Gentiles may be done just as "preaching" the gospel of Christ may be done to alien sinners. But, according to him, "teaching" alien sinners is not permissible; therefore "teaching" the Gentiles is out of the question. He surrenders his whole distinction between "teaching" and "preaching" by making this whole section refer to the instruction the Jews gave to the Gentiles.

(To be continued)