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Written by W.M. Mitchell   
The Gospel Messenger--August 1884


If to travel and preach constitutes an Evangelist in the true scriptural sense, then we surely have a good supply of them on hand in our time; for never since our acquaintance with the Primitive Baptists have they had so much traveling preaching among them as they now do. As a general thing these traveling preachers are comparatively young in the ministry, but few of them having been in the ministry as long as twenty years.

We are expressly told by the apostle that “There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.” (1 Cor. 12:4) The same Spirit that has given the church “Pastors and Teachers” has also given helps, exhorters and Evangelists. We should not, therefore, set at naught, despise, or treat lightly any gift which the Lord has bestowed upon his Church. All should be respected and encouraged in their proper place, while great care should be exercised lest some should attempt to occupy a place for which they have no gift. “All are not prophets;” neither do all have the gifts of healing old sores, difficulties and troubles among churches. When they assume that nice and delicate work, without the gift of the Spirit specially for it, they invariably seek to do things by force, lording it over God’s heritage.


We have no doubt but that God has called some men to travel mostly abroad and preach. They are peculiarly fitted and adapted for such work, because of their gifts and personal experience. They are burdened at heart with the word of the Lord and sorely tried and pressed in spirit to preach in regions beyond the limited circle of their acquaintance. They are adapted by their gifts, and by their mild and gentle deportment to be useful and instructive to both pastors and churches wherever they go. There is a desire of the churches and communities for them, and they do not have to push themselves through where they are neither known nor invited. Churches and ministers of their home acquaintance are always ready and willing to commend them favorably to churches who may not know them. Thus they go abroad by recommendation and approval of their churches at home.


There is some reason to fear that Primitive Baptist churches are not always as careful and watchful as they should be about having appointments for strange preachers published among them. “It is not all gold that shines.” And we know that in a few instances churches have been much imposed upon by strange men under the guise of Primitive Baptist preachers. Such things are hurtful and are calculated to greatly embarrass and fetter the feelings of those faithful ministers of the Word, whom the Lord has irresistibly impressed by His spirit to go aid speak in His name.


It matters not what fair name or profession one may assume to himself, churches should be very particular as to giving publicity to preaching appointments among them, unless the minister is known from character, endorsed or recommended satisfactorily. Even in the apostolic days the churches of Galatia were greatly troubled, corrupted and torn asunder by suffering some to preach among them who “perverted the gospel of Christ.”


The name and character of a gospel minister was very early as by designing men among the unsuspecting churches. But the apostle of Jesus, being inspired by the Holy Ghost, puts the churches, not only then, but in all after ages, upon their guard, by saying, “Though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.”—Gal. 1:8. Some ministers need “letters of commendation,” others who are already known do not. Some corrupt the word of God by forced constructions and misapplications; others “speak as God in Christ.”—2 Cor. 3:17. Some “handle the word of God deceitfully,” while others have “renounced these hidden things of dishonesty.”—2 Cor. 4:2. The “Mother Church” at Jerusalem would not receive even the Apostle Paul till he had been well recommended by Barnabas, with whom they were acquainted. (Acts 9:26) And in every instance when a minister went forth abroad to preach he went by church authority and commendation. Young ministers are much safer in the hands of their church and brethren at home till their gift and ministerial character is fully established, than they would be abroad in the world or among strangers. They may “run well for a time” by leaving home before they are sent, but it will only be for a time. They will soon wear out or fall into some hurtful snare. “A man’s gift will make room for him” time enough. “He that will be great let him be servant to all.”—Prov. 18:16—M.

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The Primitive or Old School Baptists cling to the doctrines and practices held by Baptist Churches throughout America at the close of the Revolutionary War. This site is dedicated to providing access to our rich heritage, with both historic and contemporary writings.