I read this last year and meant to re-blog but for some reason it never happened. 😛 Anyway, perhaps it was intended for now instead. Jon Zens does a fantastic job here reminding us to let Jesus live in & through us then in so doing we will fulfill the great commission naturally. I encourage everyone, who follows Christ, to take a few minutes and read the entire article, along with the comments, then apply it to their lives.
SHOULD THE TAIL WAG THE DOG? Posted on December 12, 2011 by Jon Zens
“If you indeed continue in the faith having been founded and steadfast and not being moved away from the hope of the Gospel which you heard, which was proclaimed in all creation under heaven, of which I Paul became a servant” Colossians 1:23.
“In fact, Christ, Himself, spelled out the mission of the church in what we refer to as The Great Commission . . . . That commission from Christ is the sole reason why the church exists today.” – James Longstreet, http://www.christianpost.com
Is fulfilling the “Great Commission” the primary reason why the church is left on earth? You would think so from listening to many voices and reading a lot of articles in our day. It appears to me that this assumption needs to be closely scrutinized. For something that is said to be so central and vital, why is teaching and exhortation about it absent from the New Testament epistles and the letters to the seven churches in Revelation?
If one surveys the history of what called itself church, it would be discovered that there was virtually no thought or emphasis on “evangelism” or “missions” because church and state were joined together like Siamese twins from roughly AD 300 to AD 1700. When the age of exploration blossomed in the 1400’s, the religion of the nation was taken to the lands where her ships landed. For example, Christopher Columbus was sent forth by Spain as a representative of the state and church of that country. This was not evangelism, but rather empire-building.
What we call “missions” did not develop until 1792 when William Carey published his controversial book, An Enquiry into the Obligations of Christians to use Means for the Conversion of the Heathens, and then in 1793 he left with family members for India.
In America in the 19th Century, fueled by the likes of Charles Finney and D.L. Moody, the necessity of “fulfilling the Great Commission” began to emerge. Mission Societies multiplied in the States and England.
After WWII American evangelicalism was bombarded with exhortations to “fulfill the Great Commission” because, it was taught, Jesus could not return until the Gospel had been preached to every people group on earth.
So, it would appear that in the 2000’s evangelicalism is now consumed with a wide range of“discipleship” programs based on the assumption that we are responsible to “make disciples of all nations” in order to pave the way for Jesus’ return.
What I sense is that we have allowed evangelism-discipleship to become our obsession, and in the process Jesus Christ is pushed to the periphery. Jesus becomes a means for us to fulfill a pressing duty. Everything is about “making disciples,” “multiplication,” and programs designed to accomplish these ends.
Would we do well to perhaps re-focus on Christ? As we are consumed with following Jesus, how can we not share him with others and reach out to the needy? If you are pursuing Christ, getting to know Him in the depths, then He will ooze from your being. You won’t be able to help but talk about Him to the lost and broken people around you! If He is truly your sole passion, your life will change and your character will be sharpened naturally. People will see Him in you and begin asking questions like, “What makes you tick?” Paul said, “Do good to everyone, especially those in the Lord’s household.” But it is a grave error to run after “causes” and “movements” and “fulfilling the Great Commission” in a way that functionally makes Christ just a means to such ends – instead of exalting Christ as the center, the Alpha and Omega of everything.
Bob Emery drives home a point I think we all need to ponder……….read the complete article via SHOULD THE TAIL WAG THE DOG? |.