Evangelist in the Restoratiom Movement by Thomas Campbell

The EVANGELIST in the RESTORATION MOVEMENT was to evangelize. Thereafter, the overseers were to read and apply the once-preached sermons and once-sung songs of God. These Godly men gave little credibility to located evangelists - an oxymoron.




The following letter was written and address to me, by the pious, aged, and venerable Father Campbell, father of Brother Alexander Campbell, of Bethany, Va. about eight years ago, at the advanced age of eighty. He is still living; and from recent advices, enjoying unusually vigorous health for one of his age. The letter is so replete with evangelical instruction, that it will be of service to other as it has been to myself. Boonsboro, Md. March, 1851.

J. R. Frame.   

BETHANY, May 16, 1843.   

Brother Frame: Your kind letter of the 19th ult., was received in due time. I would have answered it immediately, but I was not determined what to do, and am not yet. But having learned from a brother, who passed this way, that you were to hold meeting the last Saturday of this month at Bridgeville, I have determined to address you at that place; that if I should not meet you there, you might know the reasons that prevented me.

In the mean time, I congratulate you upon the success of your labors since I saw you here. "Paul may plant, and Apollos water; but it is God who gives the increase." Let us look up to him with prayerful confidence for success in all our dutiful undertakings; and in so doing, we have reason to hope that "our labors shall not be vain in the Lord."

I should be very glad to co-operate with you in this good work, for all the purposes mentioned when you were here; but my son Alexander, is quite opposed to my proceeding any farther in itinerant labors, at my advanced age of eighty years. He rather urges the application of my time to writing, and to local labors in the vicinity of Bethany. However, what I shall do I have not yet finally determined. But if I conclude to co-operate with you a part of this summer, I shall endeavor to be with you at the time and place above mentioned. And if I should not, I assure you it is not for the want of disposition, but for reasons that, in the mean time, may appear sufficient to determine otherwise.

Be this, however, as it may, there are a few important hints which I wish, at present, to suggest to your serious consideration.

1. That the divine object of the blessed gospel is to make new characters--"new creatures." 2 Cor. v. 17. Therefore, according to the commission-Mat. xxix. 19, 20, and Mark xvi. 16--the gospel is to be clearly and fully taught before any be admitted to baptism, upon a professed belief of it; for how shall any person truly believe any report until he truly understand it? Wherefore, the real condition of mankind, which makes the gospel necessary to our relief and deliverance, should first be fully and convincingly declared; and then, the provisions which it presents for these all-important purposes, clearly stated. 1 Cor. i. 30, 31, with John iii. 16.

Now, according to the latter of these, the whole world was perishing--all going to perdition; but according to the former, the very things for lack of which they were perishing--namely, for want of "wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption"--these very things are presented to them in Christ, as contained in his three-fold office, in which the scriptures present him to the reception of all that are scripturally induced to receive it.

2. That through this intelligent belief, persons being prepared for baptism, and having thus put on Christ, in his office, for the above purpose, they should next be taught to desire to do all things whatsoever Christ has commanded by the teachings of his holy apostles;

for the due observance of all those things is necessary to the complete enjoyment of the proposed salvation. And seeing, that in the very nature of things, all enjoyment lies in employment--if, therefore, we do not make the due use of the divinely appointed means,

we cannot enjoy the "heaven upon earth" which the gospel proposes; nor, of course, be prepared for the enjoyment of "the salvation yet to be revealed in the last time." 1 Pet. i. 2-9. Hence it is evident, that the evangelist should see to the due instruction of all that he baptizes, and not leave them like sheep in the desert. Hence we see that Paul continued a considerable time in one place; or, if the case required him to act otherwise, he either returned, or sent competent assistants, to set in order the things that were wanting.

But, as we now have the written word for our directory, all that is necessary is to have the churches duly furnished with the intelligent reading of the good Book, and with the oversight of duly qualified persons, to see that those things be faithfully reduced to practice; Heb. xiii. 7, 8, 13. For profession, without faithful, fervent practice, is worse than nothing. Rev. iii. 15-18.

3. Family edification is the next in practical importance in church edification; it is, indeed, the proper nursery for it. Now, this entirely depends upon a proper use of the Bible, and of the throne of grace. See the divine directions and examples for these practices, in the following quotations, as also in many others that might be added, by consulting the margin: Deut. vi. 5-9; xi. 10-20, and xvii. 17-20; Josh. i. 8; Acts xv. 21; Job xxiii. 10-12; Ps. i. 2, and xxix. 7-11, &c. From these, and many more that might be added, it most evidently appears that the divinely prescribed use of the throne of grace is the food of the pious soul. See Jeremiah xv. 16, with 1 Pet. ii. 2, 3.

Indeed, how can it be otherwise, if we consider the import and importance of these two blissful provisions of divine love.

The former (reading the Word) to supply the want of his sensible presence, which we have lost by the sin of Adam;

the latter (prayer) to give us the full assurance of faith, that whatever we ask according to his will, we shall receive. 1 John v. 14, 15.

And now only thus can we have fellowship with God--that is, by the Word of God and prayer;

for by the former he speaks to us, and by the latter we speak back again to him.

And thus truly have we "fellowship with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ," through the Spirit, "for it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is the truth." 1 John i. 3, and v. 6.

These things being evidently so, what sort of a Christian must he be who neglects the word of God and prayer,

either in his closet or in his family, if he have one?

What a careless, prayerless Christian! Now, if any man has not the Spirit of God, he is none of his children. For they only that are "led by the Spirit of God, are the Sons of God." Rom. viii. 9, 14. But to what does the Spirit of God lead those that are led by him, if not to the throne of grace and to the Bible?

Wherefore, let us warn our professing brethren, in the language of the apostle, who spoke as he was moved by the Holy Spirit, Gal. vi. 7, 8, saying, "Be not deceived; God is not mocked; for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to the flesh, shall of the flesh reap corruption; and he that soweth to the Spirit, shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting."

Then let us first exhibit the gospel as above hinted. And then, in the language of the apostle just quoted, warn those who have made the good confession, lest they be deceived, by thinking to enjoy the blissful and glorious end of their high calling, without making the due use of the means divinely appointed for that happy purpose.

Till I have the privilege of seeing you, you may, in the mean [452] time, present the contents of this letter to the consideration of as many of the brethren as you please, in your family visitations and private considerations; for were I with them, the all-important subjects I have herein suggested, and the scriptures quoted to enforce and sustain them, would constitute the substance of my conversations till they were fully and constantly reduced to practice.

      I remain, dear brother, your sincere friend and fellow-laborer in the gospel.



Edited for readability Kenneth Sublett

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