After reading your "Evangelists, elders, deacons" paper (2003, revised), I get the impression that your view of the evangelist is that he represents a type of deacon (a servant of the word, as opposed to a servant of tables) and therefore should meet the qualifications of a deacon as outlined in Timothy. Is this what you think? I am only asking because it seems to make sense to me. And the ramifications would be huge in terms of how we go about deciding who will minister and preach to churches. -- Eddue Francis (Orlando)

That paper was written a long time ago. I was trying to fit the system of church governance I was familiar with into what the Bible says. An evangelist is a servant/minister of the word. The deacon's primarily focus is helping the poor. (For more on this, see Alexander Strauch's helpful book on biblical deacons.) I am not at all sure (now) that an evangelist qualifies as a deacon in the Philippians 1:1 sense. Whatever your view, you have to make sense of the fact that local evangelists are not addressed in the New Testament epistles.

It is easy to get knotted up when we insist that a word in the original must always have the same meaning, wherever it appears in scripture. Words are fluid things, and their meanings are determined by their contexts, not just by their lexical definitions. Diakonos means servant, but there are various types of servants, from the waiters (John 2) to ministers to the needy (Acts 6) to evangelists (1 Timothy 4:6).

At the same time, I do believe that the higher the level of leadership, the higher the qualifications ought to be. If an evangelist is actually "leading" a church--overseeing it in the absence of elders--it is obviously crucial that his own family be functional, spiritual, and cheerful, as this is the fiber he will be building into the church family.

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