Friday, April 18, 2014

What Is an "Evangelist" in the NT Sense?

D. A. Carson:
I have come to suspect . . . that we are in danger of reading back into the Greek word εαγγελιστς [e.g., 2 Tim. 4:5] what the English transliteration "evangelist" means. If instead we understood εαγγελιστς in terms of its cognates εαγγλιον and εαγγελζω, then a εαγγελιστς is simply someone who proclaims the εαγγλιον, the gospel. If we are not thinking of "the gospel" in some simplistic or reduced sense, then an "evangelist" (in the Greek sense), precisely because he or she focuses on proclaiming the gospel, will inevitably provide at least some such proclamation to outsiders, and thus be doing evangelistic work, the work of an "evangelist" in the contemporary sense. Nevertheless, such an "evangelist" will still be proclaiming the gospel even when such proclamation is not directed toward outsiders with the aim of their conversion. In short, an "evangelist" in the New Testament sense is simply a gospel-preacher, an announcer of the gospel.
—D. A. Carson, "What Is the Gospel?—Revisited," in For the Fame of God's Name: Essays in Honor of John Piper (Wheaton: Crossway, 2010), 166.

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