Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
November 5, 1953
NUMBER 26, PAGE 8-9a

Garrett's Exegesis -- No. 3

W. Curtis Porter, Monette, Arkansas

In two former articles I have investigated "Garrett's Exegesis of Romans." The material to be investigated in this article does not pertain to the letter of Paul to Romans, was published in the same article of Leroy Garrett's in BIBLE TALK, May, 1953. I am therefore making this the third article in the series but shortening the title to "GARRETT'S EXEGESIS."

The reader will keep in mind the distinction made by Brother Garrett and others between "teaching" and "preaching." They claim that all "preaching" is for the lost, for alien sinners, but "teaching" is for the church. Hence, they contend that a preacher cannot be employed to work full time with a church, as he is supposed to "preach the gospel." And as that cannot be done to the church, he has no place to fill there. Furthermore, he has no right to "teach" the church for that is "the work of the elders." So the "located preacher" must "get going," according to them.

Brother Garrett's attention was called to the use of preach (Greek, Kerusso) in Acts 15:21: "For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach (kerussontas) him, being read in the synagogues every sabbath day." When men preach the gospel today, they cannot preach to the church, because to "preach" means to "announce good news." The church has already heard it and it has ceased to be "news." Such is the contention of Brother Garrett. But Moses was "preached" in the synagogues every sabbath day. Was this an announcement of "news" every sabbath? Had they not heard the "news" before? Did it not cease to be "news" and therefore make "preaching" impossible? It would, according to their theory. But Brother Garrett fixes it up after the following fashion:

"Yes, the Jews had heard of Moses, but the outsiders who attended the synagogues had not! The 'preaching' about Moses was for the Gentiles .... The outsiders learned the 'gospel' of the Jews by attending the synagogue. So James uses the right word in kerusso since it describes the message that the outsiders hear in being converted to Judaism."

He does not tell us whether "the gospel of the Jews which was preached to the Gentiles every sabbath to "convert them to Judaism" is the same gospel as the "moral gospel" that the Jews preached to the Gentiles in Romans 2, but anyway the Jews preached some sort of gospel to the Gentiles every sabbath. Thus it was proper to use the word "preach." However, Brother Garrett has done a lot assuming without any proof. In order to sustain his position he must give some Bible proof. His mere assertion is no final authority with a good many people. How does he know that "Gentiles" were present in the synagogues "every sabbath day" in "every city"? Could he prove they were present "every sabbath" in even one city? But he must prove more than this — he must prove they were present "every sabbath" in every city where Moses was read in the synagogues. This he cannot do. His whole argument is based upon assumption. James says that Moses was "preached" in the synagogues "every sabbath day" in "every city." And if Brother Garrett could prove Gentiles were present every sabbath in every city in the Jewish synagogues, he would still be a long way from his goal. He would also have to prove there were Gentiles present who had never been present before. If the same group of Gentiles came one sabbath who had been there the sabbath before, Moses could not be "preached" to them. When it ceases to be "news" it can no longer be "preached." So he has quite a task to accomplish. In further commenting on the passage Brother Garrett says:

"In the same way Christ should be 'preached' every Lord's day (every day for that matter) in our church houses. For whom? The lost, of course. The church should certainly attend all such preaching so as to encourage the work, but, of course, the first principles would no longer be 'news' to them."

In this statement he has given full endorsement to the "located preacher" idea. Why, he actually says that Christ should be "preached" not only "every Lord's day" but "every day" in "our church houses." Since it is the work of the "evangelist" to "preach Christ," then he not only could, but he should, according to Leroy, "preach" in some of "our church houses" every Lord's day, yes, even every day, as long as there is any of the "lost" there to preach to. Thus he gives up his contention against the "located preacher." In nearly all churches where preachers are located alien sinners attend services "every Lord's day." And as long as such is true the evangelist has a scriptural right to preach on such occasions. And even "the church should attend all such preaching so as to encourage the work." What more could be asked for the located preacher system? The fact that such preaching is no longer "news" to the members of the church does not prohibit their presence. Rather, they should be present to encourage the work. The located preacher is therefore fully endorsed by Brother Garrett as long as any alien sinners are present and first principles are preached. And this holds good for "every Lord's day."

Another passage was also introduced for his consideration-1 Corinthians 15:1-4. This shows the "gospel," embracing the "death, burial and resurrection of Christ," could be repeated to those who had already heard it. Paul said: "Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; by which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain." And then he called their attention to the fact that he had "delivered" to them the facts of Christ's death, burial and resurrection. When he "delivered" this to them he was "preaching the gospel" to them. Now, when he repeats by "declaring" it to them again, is he not still "preaching the gospel"? If not, why not? Thus you have Paul "preaching the gospel" to the church at Corinth. But notice what Brother Garrett says about it:

"Paul preached to the Corinthians during his stay with them. He never again preached to those people. He taught them, but never did he preach to them or any other church. In 1 Cor. 15:1 he says, 'Now I would remind you brethren, in what terms I preached to you the gospel.' The preaching is past tense and the reminding is present tense. You may remind someone of news that they have heard, but once they know that news, it can never, of course, be news again. Paul 'reminds' them of news they had already heard."

Since Brother Garrett says that Paul "taught them, but never did he preach to them or any other church," I am wondering what right he had to "teach" them. Paul "taught" the church? Yes, that is what Brother Garrett says. But I thought, according to him, a preacher had no right to "teach a church." I thought such was "the work of the elders" and if a preacher should "teach" a church, he is becoming the "pastor" of the church. Does he mean to tell us that Paul was assuming the position of "pastor" for the church in Corinth when "he taught them"? If not, then why would a preacher become the "pastor" of a church today if he "teaches them"?

The second declaration of the gospel to the church was not preaching, Brother Garrett tells us, but it was reminding. Thus we have the matter made very simple for us. When a church wishes to employ a preacher it should not employ him to preach but to remind. He has no right to engage in "preaching to the church," but he has a perfectly scriptural right to engage in "reminding them." Upon your letter heads, instead of printing "Gospel Preacher" just print "Gospel Reminder" and the work will be entirely scriptural. He then can spend his time, every Lord's day, or even every day, in "preaching to alien sinners" who may be present and in "reminding the brethren."

Before closing this article I wish to call attention to one more thing. In Galatians 1:2 we lean that Paul wrote "unto the churches of Galatia." To these churches of Galatia he said in verse 8: "Though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed." I don't suppose Leroy would deny that Paul is referring to "preaching to the churches" in this passage. Paul definitely says, "preach .... unto you." Will Brother Garrett try to make this apply to alien sinners? Of course, Paul had not learned the fine points of exegesis that Leroy has learned or he would never have made this statement. Instead he would have said: "Though we, or an angel from heaven, preach the same gospel unto you which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed." Paul did not place the condemnation of heaven upon the man who would preach the same gospel to the churches in Asia that had been preached to them, but upon the man who would "preach another gospel." But Brother Garrett would have the curse placed upon the man or angel who would preach the same gospel. Evidently Paul had not thought of that. It is too bad that some of our modern day preachers were not there to "remind" him.