Great Commission

posted Jun 3, 2012, 7:12 PM by Hector Falcon
The Great Commission was the last instructions Jesus gave to Christians (the church). It is based on the scripture verse in Mathew 28: 18. 

"All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name 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. Amen."

How the Great Commission is evaluated is extremely important. This is because it will determine what the church will do on the earth. Many see the purpose of the church as solely sharing the Gospel and winning people over to Christianity. Other leaders see it as a more holistic approach. This includes not only sharing the Gospel but also discipling the converts and their cultures as a part of the redemption process. 

According to research by social researcher George Barna, discipleship is generally not occurring within American Christian churches. This likely accounts for the lack of behavioral change with people once they become Christians. Yet, Jesus specifically instructed church leaders that we are to "teach them to observe all things that I have commanded you." In other words, Jesus instructs us to not only teach people what to believe but "how to obey." 

The Commission is also aimed at a global perspective in the extension of the Kingdom of God. Jesus is talking about actually discipling whole nations or people groups. This would encompass both individuals and their cultures. Instead, the American style of Christianity focuses solely on sharing the message and moving on to the next person in a superficial form of evangelism. In reality, this is the half-way Gospel. It does not conform to the holistic approach laid out within the Great Commission. Jesus said to make disciples - not converts. Ken Gentry states the case quite well in the introduction to his book, The Greatness of the Great Commission. He states, 

"Save Souls, Not Cultures!"This has been the motto of twentieth-century evangelism. Having encountered heavy resistance to the prophet's message of comprehensive revival and restoration in history, modern evangelical Christianity has abandoned the prophets. Unlike Jonah, who grew weary of life in the belly of a whale, modern evangelicalism has not only grown accustomed to the Church's cultural irrelevance today, it has actually proclaimed this pathetic condition as God's plan for the "Church Age." But is it? Not according to Jesus' instructions to His Church: the discipline (putting under God's discipline) of all nations. "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 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" (Matthew 28:19-20).

Paul makes it clear that the progressive expansion of Jesus' kingdom in history will continue until all things are under His dominion, on earth, before He returns physically to judge the world. "For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death" (I Corinthians 15-25-26).
This was David's message, too: The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool. The Lord shall send the rod of thy strength out of Zion: rule thou in the midst of thine enemies (Psalm 110:1-2).
In The Greatness of the Great Commission, Rev. Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr. presents a comprehensive biblical case for God's comprehensive salvation and restoration in history. Sin is comprehensive; God's healing grace is no less comprehensive. Whenever sin reigns today, there God speaks to sinful man and offers a way of escape. "There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it" (I Corinthians 10:13). To argue that the Great Commission does not include every aspect of today's cultures - all of Satan's kingdom - is to argue that there is no way of escape in many areas of life.

The war between God's kingdom (civilization) on earth and Satan's kingdom (civilization) on earth is total, encompassing every aspect of life. The Great Commission calls the Church (in this "Church Age") to make a full-scale attack on modern humanist civilization, but always in terms of a positive message and practical program: a better way of life in every area of life. This is the greatness of the Great Commission. It must not be narrowed to exclude culture from God's special grace.

"Go therefore and disciple all nations." the Great Commission states that all nations are to be discipled. Sadly, today's evangelicals have reduced Jesus' last command to mean only that individuals and families are to be discipled. Dr. Gentry takes a careful look at the biblical context and background of the Great Commission. Gentry shows the biblical methods of world conquest, which do not involve political takeovers but rather service and evangelism.