The Church Betrays The Great Commission

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.(Matthew 28:18-20 NIV) 

It seems a simple enough directive. Jesus, prior to ascending into heaven, gave this simple yet straightforward command to the apostles.

Yet, it seems the evangelical church leadership (disclosure: of which I am a member of said group) focus on this has been lost.

At no point, did Jesus command us to build expensive churches, political parties, dominate governments, or legislate morality. At no point did he seem to want us to energize the faithful with political issues related to the economy or get them all enrolled on a particular candidates or party’s mailing list so they could be asked for donations. Does God really want us to care about who is in the white house? Do you not think he is big enough that his will be accomplished regardless of who is running the government?

In my opinion, God never wanted his Word to be used as a tool to justify any social position either. Take capital punishment.  Many in the church have been taught that this is something God commands. Not so! The apostle Paul encouraged us to submit to the authorities because it was common sense to do so since they "do not bear the sword for nothing." He didn’t say we should embrace the death penalty. Granted it was used in the Old Testament but first if we are to live by that law then we must place ourselves under the whole of that law. Second, God was directly involved in their justice system when that law was written. So unless you think that God somehow speaks to the juries and judges involved, you had best rethink your position on this if you are in fact one of those who think this way.

What he did command, was to reach the world with his Gospel – the freedom from sin that makes a person’s heart captive to it. They are to preach Christ and him crucified – no other message is relevant to this mission. By allowing other missions to be our focus, we lose our credibility with the world that we are in fact a true force of change that can revolutionize how a person lives now and in the hereafter. We do it on an individual basis, one heart at a time. We don’t do it via letter campaigns, voter registration drives or political party platforms.

When Jesus returns and asks for an accounting of our lives as Christians, will God look at our activities to further our political party’s goals, moral causes, and such as evidence of the furtherance of his kingdom? I don’t believe he will. Instead he would have wanted our time, treasure and talents to go toward what counts – the saving and deliverance of souls from sin and a certain spiritual death.

 

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  1. #1 by Seika on August 16, 2008 - 8:51 am

    Pay to the emperor what you should pay to the emperor, and pay to God what you should pay to God.
     
    I don\’t remember the exact words or location in the bible, but I guess it\’s those words isn\’t it ? Don\’t mix government and human law with your faith.

  2. #2 by Gregory on August 17, 2008 - 11:18 pm

    I agree with the gist of your post, but have to play devil\’s advocate.
     
    The earliest papyri we have of Matthew end at 26:52, which is Jesus stating: "Put your sword back in its place," Jesus said to him, "for all who draw the sword will die by the sword.
     
    There are, however, other stories of the resurrection from early times, which hints at a more complete Matthew than is shown int he early papyri. In fact, we do not see the Great Commission appear until the fourth century.
     
    Please note that this does not mean there was not a push towards missionary activity and baptism prior to these dates, as both Paul and Peter prove (as well as the rest of the apostles, if one does not regard legendary death narratives as evidence their entire missionary endeavors were made up as well).
     
    Of the New Testament texts, we see primarily that people are meant to relate to God (pray, worship) and serve others. Service can be in the form of missions, but much of it is simply to fulfill the needs of people. In the process, the Holy Spirit opens their eyes and they accept, at least partially due to the service, but we do not serve to save. That is a job set aside for God.
     
    Should the church get involved in politics? I am torn on this. I see no "thou shalt not" statement here and it is obvious that church members should be involved in choosing governments. Does our church take it too far? Most certainly.
     
    Well, that is enough stirring the pot. Have a great week my friend.
     
    Peace and Grace,Greg

  3. #3 by Kelly on August 18, 2008 - 9:42 am

    well the issue of manuscripts is a bit beyond the scope of this posting. However, I do agree with you on the missions of the church. Love hearing from you man!

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