I was involved in a Facebook discussion on the issue of evangelism. Two people who are regulars on that particular forum and who are also Reformed chimed in and went totally against the grain everyone else was. One of them made the statement that sharing the Gospel is not evangelism in the biblical sense. He went on to say that according to Romans 10 only the God ordained means of salvation is preaching and went on to say that the book of Acts testifies of this. He also added that the pastoral epistles clearly teach that only the gifted, called and ordained should preach.
In other words, they believe that the only ones who are qualified to do evangelism are those who are ordained to preach. Something else one of them said, is this is clearly the teaching of Reformed Paedo-Baptists affirm.
I need to admit here, in my 39 years as a Christian, although I may have forgot about it; I do not remember hearing this before. However, I do not want to dismiss it out of hand without doing some research on the matter.
As I think about the issue, I believe there is a difference between “witnessing” and “evangelism”.
Witnessing is basically baring witness to the Savior. Giving one’s testimony is a good thing, but it is not evangelism.
Evangelizing is sharing the actual Gospel with people and repentance and faith must be part of this. Perhaps, their problem is with the word “share”. However, when I think of the word “share” in this sense. I think of proclaiming the Gospel to people.
I have no problem at all with gifted and ordained preachers preaching and that is certainly evangelizing. However, to say that only the gifted and ordained can do evangelism, goes against everything I have been told to do; both when I was an Arminian and as a Calvinist.
They are basically telling me that every time, I proclaimed the Gospel to those around me, I was actually sinning, because I am not “ordained”.
Of course, when it comes to who can administer Baptism and the Lord's Table, only elders can do this. Yet they add evangelism to this.
Also , Eph. 4: 11-16 comes to mind. “And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds[a] and teachers,[b]to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood,[a] to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, 14 so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. 15 Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.”
If part of equipping the saints, does not mean equipping the saints (Christians) how to rightly divide Scripture, so we can properly share (proclaim) the Gospel, then every single Church I have ever been a member of taught me wrong.
I decided to see if Ligonier Ministries said anything on the issue. Here is a fairly short article on the matter. https://www.ligonier.org/learn/devotionals/what-evangelism/
Here is a quote from the article. “God has created us with different personalities and gifts, and some of us are more adept at the verbal proclamation of the Gospel than others. Nevertheless, declaring the message of salvation through Christ is the responsibility of us all, and we must seek opportunities to preach the Gospel. Only if we confess Him before men will He confess us before the Father (Matt. 10:32–33). “
Did you notice the words "declaring the message of salvation through Christ is the responsibility of us all."
I would be interested in getting some feedback on the issue.