The Great Commission: To Make Disciples…

Donald McGavran in My Pilgrimage in Mission, said:

As my convictions about mission and church growth were being molded in the 1930s and 40s they ran headlong into the thrust that mission is doing many good things in addition to evangelism. I could not accept this way of thinking about missions. These good deeds must, of course, be done, and Christians will do them. I myself was doing many of them. But they must never replace the essential task of mission, discipling the peoples of earth.

I agree. ~Steve

2 thoughts on “The Great Commission: To Make Disciples…

  1. “It is because we are committed to Evangelism that we must speak in antithesis at times. If we do not make clear by word and practice our position for truth and against false doctrine, we are building a wall between the next generation and the gospel. The unity of evangelicals should be on the basis of truth, not evangelism itself. If this is not so, “success” in evangelism can result in weakening Christianity. Any consideration of methods is secondary to this central principle.”

    Francis Schaeffer

  2. Francis rocks. I’d like to re-watch his series, How Should we then Live. Let’s all get knickers and sit around and watch it together!!! 🙂

    McGavran’s statement got me thinking along these lines: When we take as a given that evangelism is the spreading of the good news, then we know that it must not simply contain, but it must be a clear presentation of the truth of redemption. I think that McGavran was objecting to the failure of some “mission work” to make central Christ’s Great Commission — the making of disciples. I might liken it to something a good friend of mine taught me about preaching: A sermon on five foundations of a good marriage is fine. You could preach it in any church in the world. You could preach it in a synagogue. You could preach it in a mosque. If it hasn’t the redemptive message of Christ within it, then what? That doesn’t mean we should not preach on The Foundations of a Good Marriage. It means that without the redemptive power of Christ, the sermon would be missing something. The old-timers would say, “Preach the cross, brother.”

    In ministry at the university, I often ran into groups of Christians where presenting the good news has become an afterthought or worse yet, something they hoped those they served will pick up on intuitively (without the need for proclamation of Christ). They would paint a house and never mentioned Jesus, then come back to the meeting saying that they’d shared the gospel. In reality, truth was left aside and what they had is good work without the good news. They were the Peace Corps on a local level. They failed to “do the work of an evangelist.”

    By the way, whatever happened to Franky? I had such high hopes for him. (sigh)

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