July 20, 2018

May Only the Church Teach the Gospel?

Johnie Edwards

It is being said, only the church is to preach the gospel, not an organization separate from the local church. It is true that the church is to preach or teach the gospel as the church is “the pillar and ground of the truth” (1 Tim. 3:15). Churches “sounded out the word of the Lord” in New Testament times, like the church of the Thessalonians did (1 Thess. 1:8). No one, that I know of denies that the church is to preach or teach the gospel. Do you? The question is, can others than the church teach the gospel or is preaching or teaching the gospel the exclusive work of the church? So, we take a look:

  1. A Religious Journal. If only the church can teach the gospel, then one could not have a journal where the gospel is taught. Yet there are journals that are incorporated, separate and apart from the church, teaching the Bible. These papers are another organization, different from the church, which have been set up to teach. Why would one write for such a paper, if he thought only the church is to teach the gospel? The paper, editor, and contributing writers are not the church, you know! If it is OK to publish and write for a journal; what makes speaking those same words to a live audience all bad?
  2. A Family Bible Study. Lots of families have Bible study in their homes. A family acts independently and is a separate entity from the church. A father, mother, and children are not necessarily the church. Can a father “bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” (Eph. 6:4) if only the church is to preach the gospel? A family cannot do any Bible teaching, since a family is not the church! A family is a group of persons acting in concert and that’s what a collectivity is. Any one opposed to this Bible teaching? A father, a mother, or a child is not the church. Maybe some have forgotten that “the body is not one member, but many” (1 Cor. 12:14).
  3. Home Bible Studies. We baptized thirty people last year, as individual Christians taught the Bible in home Bible studies. We thought we were just doing what the Lord said do: “Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee” (1 Tim. 4:16). If only the church is to preach the gospel, we will have to stop teaching the Bible in home Bible studies, since these individual teachers are not the church!
  4. Schools Teaching Bible. A number of schools teach religious courses and these schools are human organizations. If only the church is to preach or teach the gospel, a school could not do so, and it would be sinful to attend such an institution. There are those who say only the church can teach the Bible, yet they have or are attending such schools that teach the Bible and even speak on their lectureships! Where has consistency gone?
  5. Husband/Wife Teaching. In Acts 18:24-28, we find a husband and wife, Aquila and Priscilla, taking Apollos “unto them, and expounded unto him the way of God more perfectly.” Who is ready to condemn this couple, who are not necessarily the church, for teaching the Bible?

Truth Magazine Vol. LI: 7 July 2007