The Church and The Great Commission

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by OldRegular, Aug 1, 2005.

  1. OldRegular

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    Before His ascension Jesus Christ tells His Apostles:

    Matthew 28:19, 20
    19. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
    20. Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

    Baptists generally interpret this passage from a missionary viewpoint in which people are presented with the teachings of Jesus Christ, new Churches are established, and people enter these local Churches through the institution of Baptism.

    1. Do Baptists misunderstand the instructions of Jesus Christ?
    2. Was He really talking about establishing Churches?
    3. If so, were these Churches different than the Churches that Paul established.
     
  2. slow to learn

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    i am new to the board but i will answer what i believe. the imperative in the great commission is to teach and baptize. the go has the sense of "as you go". we will be going ie. to work, to the store, to the neighbors etc. as we go we are to teach all nations. what we teach is the truth that Jesus Christ has died for our sins and only thru Him can we have the right relationship with God. the missionary viewpoint is very valid in that as we go into the world we are to share this knowledge. anyone who repents of his/her sins and accepts Christ as savior is immediately part of the church, the body of Christ. baptism is in obedience to Christ and it is this that one becomes a member of a local church. i do believe baptists have this part correctly and have understood the instructions of Christ. however, in many churches of today the only tangible, measurable aspect is the number of members, the number of baptisms, the number of decisions. i am not sure that we are truly, as a whole fullfilling the part concerning the teaching. we can teach but there is no measurable way to determine if anyone is listening or not. a person can sit in a ss class or on a pew for thrity years and not learn anything that changes his/her life. it is important that spiritual and theological maturity, even though not measurable, are a major part of any local church.
    2. as to establishing churches i believe that this is a natural outgrowth of making disciples and baptizing. unfortunately, i am afraid that too often, and not just in baptist circles, the creation of new churches comes from splits in other churches. this is not what Jesus meant.
    3> i believe that paul was following in accordance with the great commission and that the churches he helped start were new Christians being the body of Christ. any church started in this way and for this reason is no different from those Paul helped to start.
     
  3. RightFromWrong

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    slow to learn

    AMEN [​IMG]
     
  4. Artimaeus

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    Did anyone else notice that the word or concept of church isn't in those verses. It is people that are being talked about. Disciple people, baptize people, teach people. Whether it is 1 person, 10 people, 100 people, 1000 people the commission is the same. After you build people you may need a place for them to meet or a group dynamic called a church but this is a secondary issue. Our goal should always be people and not an organization.

    This: [​IMG]

    Not this: [​IMG]
     
  5. Helen

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    I think that the Great Commission has been misunderstood somewhat. We are not told to make believers. That is what the Holy Spirit does. We are told to make disciples. That is taking a new believer and teaching him or her and walking alongside and praying with and just being there. It's not great rallies or tent meetings or even mission trips. I am not putting any of those down, please, but they are not what the Great Commission is all about. It is about taking the new believer and helping him or her mature in Christ through friendship, Bible study, prayer, and letting them 'ride in' on your faith coattails a bit until they have had enough time with God to know from their own personal history they can count always on His faithfulness and love.

    Then they can turn and help other new believers, making disciples, or followers, of them.

    So many seem so eager to go out and make new believers that they seem to forget about building up the body. And there are some parts of the body that are weak and stumbling because of that, I think.
     
  6. Johnv

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    They do? Yes, the missionary viewpoint adheres to the Great Commission, but to the exclusion of any other form of doing what the GC calls for? I don't think that's the general Baptist thought.

    Click here to view Johnv's wedding photos
     
  7. JGrubbs

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    Salvation is an important first step, but it is only the beginning of the journey. It is not the final destination. Discipleship takes us beyond the Narrow Gate and brings us towards our destination, towards the purpose for which we were created. It only takes a moment to pass through. the Narrow Gate, but it takes a lifetime to walk the Narrow Path. Jesus did not say, "Go into the all the world and make decisions." He said, "Go into the all the world and make disciples."

    Source: http://www.watchman.net/
     
  8. JGrubbs

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  9. OldRegular

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    Helen

    I agree with your interpretation. However, to accomplish what Jesus Christ instructed required the formation of churches. What I am attempting to get some people to see is that the Gospel that Jesus Christ and the 11 apostles preached is the same Gospel that Paul preached . The churches established through that preaching of the eleven are the same as the churches established through the preaching of Paul.
     
  10. slow to learn

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    i would really suspect that the majority of folks here already see that. if you are looking to convince someone you are preaching to the choir over here
     
  11. IveyLeaguer

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    Of course the Gospel preached by Paul is the same as preached by the apostles and Jesus Himself. If it isn't, then we should throw our Bibles in the garbage can and spend the rest of our lives seeking pleasure and fulfillment. I know you agree with this, OldRegular.

    But I think Helen makes a tremendous point, in fact hits the nail on the head. The primary problem in the evangelical church today is a lack of maturity, no doubt brought on by a lack of leadership, whose decline began in the 19th century as more and more 'scholars' fell away from the Word itself as it compromised with the world and its 'new ideas'. Neither have the world's philosophies nor the heresies of the 19th century vanished away, but have simply reappeared in a much larger, albeit more complex web of deceipt. The Popery concerns of Charles Spurgeon are still valid, it's just that that particular heresy, or threat, has very much taken the smaller jump seat in the back of the minivan (actually, it's just passively dormant for the time being, believing that it will rise to power and dominate above the present baseless, spiritual passion). Admittedly, deception is more difficult to discern today because of the complexities made possible by technology and worldly progress that results in ideas being transmitted at seemingly incredible speeds. But the problem is not so much that as it is the lack of being GROUNDED in the Word of God which enables us to discern the times, as difficult and complex as they may be.

    I'm convinced that Helen is right, and that the thing needed most in the church of Jesus Christ right now is for leadership to forsake the world and go back to the Word itself and simply teach it to God's people.

    Deceptions such as the Prosperity Gospel of the 70's and 80's, the New Apostolic Reformation of Peter Wagner (Fuller Seminary), ad nauseum, and the dialectic synthesis of Peter Drucker, Rick Warren, and others would not be possible today if the command of Jesus had been heeded. A.W.Tozer said that the children of Almighty God were starving at the Father's table. And that was more than 60 years ago. What in Heaven's name would he say now? In those 60 years the world has gained a considerable amount of territory as the leadership of the church has given ground, and has even reached the point where the world's philosophies and values are now being passed off as the gospel itself. Case in point - the Purpose Driven Life. I confess I haven't been a Baptist all my life or even all that long. But who could have dreamed, even 10 -15 years ago, that Baptist Christians would be yielding the vast amounts of territory that they are today, and falling all over themselves to do it?

    I know God is sovereign and everything is happening in accordance with His purpose. But Jesus said, "Take heed". The apostles all warned us. Paul was obsessed with it. In His last appearance to St. John, in his glorified state, Jesus warned us again - TAKE HEED. From the bottom of my heart I bleed for the young Christians of today who, through no fault of their own, know only the system and values of society under which they have been trained, and have not yet had the opportunity to step away from time itself, and see God's truth as it transcends times and cultures. As Helen has hinted, and as Os Guiness concurs in his latest book, when the church historically has made a move forward, it has first taken a step back. Not 'Back to the Future' as today's guru's plead, but Back to the Cross, the foundational Rock upon which God's true church rests.
     
  12. Bluefalcon

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    I think this is a bit trifling. Mark 16:15 relates that Jesus commanded his disciples to preach the gospel in all the world to every creature. Certainly the GC is to disciple, but inherent in this command is the preaching of the gospel and winning of the lost.

    Cheers, Bluefalcon
     
  13. Bluefalcon

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    The church had not yet been established when Jesus gave his "GC" statement(s). Pentecost came afterward. Obviously from Acts and the rest of the NT, starting churches is the plan or apparatus of God to win the lost and disciple the world.

    Cheers, Bluefalcon
     
  14. Helen

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    We can preach the Word. We can live the Word. We can answer questions. We can lead the horse to the proverbial water. But we cannot make him drink. We cannot cause a person to be born again. We can explain it, show it as a wonderful thing, invite the lost to share in Christ, but we cannot make the decision. That is between the person and God Himself.

    So of course we are to go out to the lost. But I think the Great Commission is giving us direction past that: to walk with the new believer and make a disciple of him or her.

    We have been given so many pictures in the Bible to encourage us to know what to do. We are the 'family of God'. We are 'adopted children'. We have a husband in Christ. We are to call God Father. We hear about babes in Christ or in the faith.

    We should know better than to abandon babes...

    And yes, the Eleven and Paul all preached the same gospel, leading people to the same spiritual family/church. Those physical churches established were for the raising up of the babes into mature Christians.

    We tend to use churches today and evangelical outreach centers. I don't think that is their biblical purpose. Writers in the NT grieved that some needed milk all over again because they had not progressed. That is what a lot of today's churches are overdoing -- milk fests and entertaining music each Sunday.

    Where is the meat?

    Where is the nourishment to build the spiritual muscles for the tough times?

    Who is building up the body? Who is actually making disciples of young believers?

    Read the Great Commission again: "....TEACHING them to obey everything I have commanded...."

    But we teach that obedience isn't even necessary anymore. God loves everyone. Just as you are. The Great Fix is in the the Great Commission so often forgotten and ignored.

    The 'slogan' at the top of BB here is actually playing into the wrong side. "The truth will/shall set you free." That is the SECOND half of a statement that begins with the injunction to obey. And THEN you shall know the truth and THEN the truth shall make you free.

    But "the truth shall make you free" is a popular sound bite now, and one that I feel, by itself, is deceiving. For some, the truth is terribly enslaving, for they reject Christ.
     
  15. IveyLeaguer

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    That's a good point and it's well taken though I doubt anyone is saying we shouldn't preach the gospel or form churches. Certainly not me. As important as it is for believers to mature normally, it is just as important to preach the gospel to every creature, as we are commanded. Still, salvation is from above and it's the Holy Spirit that saves, not man nor his devices. Which is all the more reason the undiluted, unaltered Word should be unashamedly preached to the lost.
     
  16. OldRegular

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    IveyLeaguer

    I can't speak for other churches but the Southern Baptist Churches left its roots, embraced dispensationalism and the Sovereignty of Man in his Salvation. Unfortunately, they are a perfect example of some of the faults in the churches today, add them to the church rolls then forget about discipling them. Helen has done a great job in enumerating these faults.

    When the original charter of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary was adopted in 1858, it contained the following statement which continues as a part of the “fundamental laws.” Every professor of the institution shall be a member of a regular Baptist church; and all persons accepting professorships in this seminary shall be considered, by such acceptance, as engaging to teach in accordance with, and not contrary to, the Abstract of Principles hereinafter laid down, a departure from which principles on his part shall be considered grounds for his resignation or removal by the Trustees, to wit:

    I. The Scriptures
    The Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments were given by inspiration of God, and are the only sufficient, certain and authoritative rule of all saving knowledge, faith and obedience.

    II. God
    There is but one God, the Maker, Preserver and Ruler of all things, having in and of Himself, all perfections, and being infinite in them all; and to Him all creatures owe the highest love, reverence and obedience.

    III. The Trinity
    God is revealed to us as Father, Son and Holy Spirit each with distinct personal attributes, but without division of nature, essence or being.

    IV. Providence
    God from eternity, decrees or permits all things that come to pass, and perpetually upholds, directs and governs all creatures and all events; yet so as not in any wise to be the author or approver of sin nor to destroy the free will and responsibility of intelligent creatures.

    V. Election
    Election is God’s eternal choice of some persons unto everlasting life—not because of foreseen merit in them, but of His mere mercy in Christ—in consequence of which choice they are called, justified and glorified.


    VI. The Fall of Man
    God originally created Man in His own image, and free from sin; but, through the temptation of Satan, he transgressed the command of God, and fell from his original holiness and righteousness; whereby his posterity inherit a nature corrupt and wholly opposed to God and His law, are under condemnation, and as soon as they are capable of moral action, become actual transgressors.

    VII. The Mediator
    Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, is the divinely appointed mediator between God and man. Having taken upon Himself human nature, yet without sin, He perfectly fulfilled the law; suffered and died upon the cross for the salvation of sinners. He was buried, and rose again the third day, and ascended to His Father, at whose right hand He ever liveth to make intercession for His people. He is the only Mediator, the Prophet, Priest and King of the Church, and Sovereign of the Universe.

    VIII. Regeneration
    Regeneration is a change of heart, wrought by the Holy Spirit, who quickeneth the dead in trespasses and sins enlightening their minds spiritually and savingly to understand the Word of God, and renewing their whole nature, so that they love and practice holiness. It is a work of God’s free and special grace alone.

    IX. Repentance
    Repentance is an evangelical grace, wherein a person being by the Holy Spirit, made sensible of the manifold evil of his sin, humbleth himself for it, with godly sorrow, detestation of it, and self-abhorrence, with a purpose and endeavor to walk before God so as to please Him in all things.

    X. Faith
    Saving faith is the belief, on God’s authority, of whatsoever is revealed in His Word concerning Christ; accepting and resting upon Him alone for justification and eternal life. It is wrought in the heart by the Holy Spirit, and is accompanied by all other saving graces, and leads to a life of holiness.

    XI. Justification
    Justification is God’s gracious and full acquittal of sinners, who believe in Christ, from all sin, through the satisfaction that Christ has made; not for anything wrought in them or done by them; but on account of the obedience and satisfaction of Christ, they receiving and resting on Him and His righteousness by faith.

    XII. Sanctification
    Those who have been regenerated are also sanctified by God’s word and Spirit dwelling in them. This sanctification is progressive through the supply of Divine strength, which all saints seek to obtain, pressing after a heavenly life in cordial obedience to all Christ’s commands.

    XIII. Perseverance of the Saints
    Those whom God hath accepted in the Beloved, and sanctified by His Spirit, will never totally nor finally fall away from the state of grace, but shall certainly persevere to the end; and though they may fall through neglect and temptation, into sin, whereby they grieve the Spirit, impair their graces and comforts, bring reproach on the Church, and temporal judgments on themselves, yet they shall be renewed again unto repentance, and be kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation.

    XIV. The Church
    The Lord Jesus is the head of the Church, which is composed of all His true disciples, and in Him is invested supremely all power for its government. According to His commandment, Christians are to associate themselves into particular societies or churches; and to each of these churches He hath given needful authority for administering that order, discipline and worship which He hath appointed. The regular officers of a Church are Bishops or Elders, and Deacons.


    XV. Baptism
    Baptism is an ordinance of the Lord Jesus, obligatory upon every believer, wherein he is immersed in water in the name of the Father, and the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, as a sign of his fellowship with the death and resurrection of Christ, of remission of sins, and of Abstract of Principles giving himself up to God, to live and walk in newness of life. It is prerequisite to church fellowship, and to participation in the Lord’s Supper.

    XVI. The Lord’s Supper
    The Lord’s Supper is an ordinance of Jesus Christ, to be administered with the elements of bread and wine, and to be observed by His churches till the end of the world. It is in no sense a sacrifice, but is designed to commemorate His death, to confirm the faith and other graces of Christians, and to be a bond, pledge and renewal of their communion with Him, and of their church fellowship.

    XVII. The Lord’s Day
    The Lord’s Day is a Christian institution for regular observance, and should be employed in exercises of worship and spiritual devotion, both public and private, resting from worldly employments and amusements, works of necessity and mercy only excepted.

    XVIII. Liberty of Conscience
    God alone is Lord of the conscience; and He hath left it free from the doctrines and commandments of men, which are in anything contrary to His word, or not contained in it. Civil magistrates being ordained of God, subjection in all lawful things commanded by them ought to be yielded by us in the Lord, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake.

    XIX. The Resurrection
    The bodies of men after death return to dust, but their spirits return immediately to God—the righteous to rest with Him; the wicked, to be reserved under darkness to the judgment. At the last day, the bodies of all the dead, both just and unjust, will be raised.


    XX. The Judgment
    God hath appointed a day, wherein He will judge the world by Jesus Christ, when every one shall receive according to his deeds; the wicked shall go into everlasting punishment; the righteous, into everlasting life.


    This Abstract of Principles is still in force at Southern Seminary.
     
  17. OldRegular

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    Was the Church established at Pentecost or empowered at Pentecost?
     
  18. yeshua4me2

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    I think Jesus set up his own church (the 12+) and then empowered it at pentecost.
     
  19. Bluefalcon

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    Maybe I should have said, ... the church had not yet been organized when Jesus gave is GC statements.

    And OldRegular, God's election of some to eternal life does not lessen his command to preach the gospel to every creature. One of the most standard concepts in the NT is that no one gets saved without the preaching/hearing of the gospel. Maybe that's why Jesus commanded us to preach the gospel to everyone?

    Cheers, Bluefalcon
     
  20. Johnv

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    Klingon, Ferengi, and Borg. Oh my!!
     

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