The following article was originally published in "The Journal" the August 1997 issue.

Information was updated several times later.

Getting the Gospel Out is Not Just a Local Job

What is the Church's responsibility to get the Gospel out? Has this already been done? Are we to not worry about it and "stay in our caves" until Jesus returns as one non-Philadelphia remnant "COG" elder told me? Should we rely on statements of men or the word of God?

Jesus said, "And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come" (Mat 24:14, NKJ throughout). Since the end has not yet come, it would suggest that it is still time for "this gospel of the kingdom" to "be preached in all the world as a witness". Jesus' last statement in the book of Matthew was, "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the names of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age" (Mat 28:19-20). While statements such as "teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you" certainly have local implications, Jesus' statements "preached in all the world" and "go therefore and make disciples of all nations" strongly suggest that evangelistic efforts are to go beyond our local groups. Notice that both scriptures mention together preaching/teaching, "all the nations", and "the end". Interestingly, in Mark 13:10 it says, "the gospel MUST be preached to all the nations".

"How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?" (Rom 10:14). It takes a ministry to get the gospel out, "even so the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should live from the gospel" (I Cor 9:14); "...those who labor in the word and doctrine...is worthy of his wages" (I Tim 5:17-18). The concept of a paid ministry to get the gospel out is not a 20th Century invention. It is clearly biblical.

Lest anyone question my financial motives, I am not now, nor have I ever been a paid minister; the only time I ever received any payments from the Church of God (former WCG, GCG, LCG, or any other branch) was when the old WCG was required for a short while to pay minimum wage to WATS line volunteers when my wife and I worked on Sundays {my gross for the entire time was probably less than $200}. We still, of course, were unpaid for the Sabbath, which was when we performed most of our WATS service. (I still do not accept a salary from the Continuing Church of God, though that could change in the future.)

Why does Romans 10:15a say, "And how shall they preach unless they are sent?", unless some group (or organization) is sending them? The second half of verse 15 says, "How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, Who bring glad tidings of good things". Now as far as I know, I have only washed the feet of one minister. His feet did not impress me as being more physically beautiful than any non-minister. Thus it would seem that the beauty of "the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace" is because those feet are carrying those who "are sent" to "preach the gospel of peace". Therefore it can be seen that preaching the gospel involves travel. It also involves having some not accept it; "But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, 'Lord who has believed our report?' "(Rom 10:16). Even so, the word of God has to be taught by a preacher so they can believe (Rom 10:15,17). This is consistent with what we in the Continuing Church of God have generally referred to as the Ezekiel warning (Ezk 3:17-21).

Some have implied that preaching the gospel to the world precludes doing a local work. That is not so.

Fulfilling the Bible's commands to preach the gospel to all nations is not an easy task. It takes teamwork and cooperation. It certainly includes local efforts, but clearly it "must" (Mark 13:10) go beyond that. Preaching the gospel cannot be limited to local efforts. "The harvest truly is plentiful and the laborers are few. Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out more laborers into His harvest" (Mat 9:37b-38). Let us all pray and support the Church's efforts to get the gospel out to all nations.

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