Go forth, ye heralds, in My name,
Sweetly the Gospel trumpet sound;
The glorious jubilee proclaim,
Where’er the human race is found.
The joyful news to all impart,
And teach them where salvation lies;
With care bind up the broken heart,
And wipe the tears from weeping eyes. — John Logan.
For the priest’s lips should keep knowledge, and they should seek the law at his mouth: for he is the messenger of the Lord of hosts. — Malachi 2:7
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the Gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the broken-hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord. — Luke 4:18-19
Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God. — 2 Corinthians 5:20
In contrast to certain classes of so-called clergymen, or ministers, it affords supreme satisfaction to know that we have an evangelical and evangelistic ministry. They are not all found in any one Church. They are in every Church where the name of Jesus is revered as that of the second person in the adorable Trinity, where he is loved and worshiped, and where he is known as the all-atoning Lamb of God. This evangelistic ministry does not despise, much less ignore, sound learning or the thorough cultivation of the intellect. It believes that other things being equal, the man with the best brain and most carefully and wisely trained is the best evangelist. Nor does it undervalue, much less pour contempt on, creeds. It holds to the Bible, first, last, and always, as the source of all truth essential to salvation.
Still, at the same time, it claims a part in the heritage of the ages and takes the Apostles’ Creed as a wise and helpful formulation of doctrine. It has hope and is ready and able to declare the reason for it. It believes, and therefore it speaks. Its faith is “the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” It believes the whole eleventh chapter of Hebrews. It believes in the inspiration and authority of all the Scriptures. It believes in the supernatural, in miracles, in the absolute divinity of Jesus, in his atonement, resurrection, and ascension to the right hand of God. It believes in the resurrection, judgment, immortality, heaven, and hell. It believes that every penitent soul may come to God in the name of Jesus Christ and find pardon, life, and salvation. It believes the time is coming when “the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the water covers the sea.” In this faith, it expects the Gospel to spread abroad until the last son of Adam shall hear the joyful sound.
If ever there was a time when such a ministry, with such faith, was needed, it is now. Christ has told us that the time is coming when “there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and the stars. Upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity. The sea and the waves roaring; men’s hearts fail them for fear and for looking after those things coming on the earth.” No mightier problems ever confronted Christianity than at this hour. What are we to do with labor and capital? What with the corruption of society? What with the corruptness of politicians and legislators? What with the worship of wealth and power?
What with the wronged and oppressed in this land and all lands? What with the vast masses of the illiterate of Christendom? What with the hordes of tramps and the vile, dangerous classes? What with the poor of the great cities? What with the waste of naval and military armament? What with the awful drink habit and the fearfully malignant and curseful drink traffic? What with the unconverted, unenlightened, unevangelized thousand millions of heathenism?
Surely such a condition of affairs revealed by these questions may well appall the stoutest heart and try the stanchest faith. The supreme hope of the world is in a genuine, cultured, believing, rejoicing, evangelistic ministry. Such a ministry can answer questions and resolve doubts; state, explain, and defend the truths of the Gospel when formulated into creeds; exemplify the blessed, joyous, conscious experience of personal salvation. This world is not to be won to Christ en masse. From this time on, it is to be hand-to-hand work. The ministry is the divinely appointed leadership of the people. If the ministry is evangelistic, the people will be the same. And when the Church and ministry are both evangelistic, all barriers to the progress of the cause of Christ will be removed. The great and pressing questions that demand attention will be solved, the Gospel message will be carried to all lands, and the morning of the millennium will be hastened in its coming. Why may it not become the all-absorbing desire of every ministér to enter with all his soul upon evangelistic work, which includes the enlightenment and conversion of sinners and the building up of all converts in the truth of the Gospel? To this, there must be entire consecration of all that is ever called “my” or “mine,” a devotement of all powers to the service of the Master. A seeking for the baptism of the Holy Ghost, for purity, inspiration, and service, until the gift is bestowed. A holy, blameless life and ceaseless toil for the salvation of the souls of men. That God may give the Churches and the world an evangelistic ministry ought to be the ceaseless prayer of every loyal Christian heart.
By Bishop W. F. Mallalieu
Updated 2023 Nathan Zipfel