Main Menu

The Mission Statement

"Go Into All the World"

Printer Friendly Version Email Link to a Friend
Image for Article
In other words, the sending is first and foremost about forgiveness. That is God's mission, for only God has the power to forgive sins (cf. Luke 5:21), and he does so because he loves the world with the love a father has for his children (John 3:16). This is the why of the Great Commission.

Any conversation about the Matthew 28:18-20 "Great Commission" must begin with the essential acknowledgement that the missional activity of the church (that is, the sending, the going, the making of disciples by baptizing, the forming of Christians through teaching, the enduring presence, and so forth) is the work of God. No, not in the sense that the Lord merely sanctions such things or that this work is done "in the name of God" by others. It's more basic than that. The very doing of the things of the Great Commission, not just the commissioning itself, is the doing of God. Perhaps no one put it more bluntly than Lesslie Newbigin: "It seems to me of great importance to insist that mission is not first of all an action of ours. It is an action of God." (1)

If you have a current subscription or current on-line account please log-in here to read the rest of this article.

1 [ Back ] Lesslie Newbigin, The Gospel in a Pluralistic Age (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1989), 128-29.
2 [ Back ] Robert J. Scrudieri, The Apostolic Church: One, Holy, Catholic and Missionary (Chino, CA: Lutheran Society for Missiology, 1995), 9.
3 [ Back ] Scrudieri, 11.
4 [ Back ] David Bosch, Transforming Mission: Paradigm Shifts in the Theology of Mission (Mary Knoll, NY: Orbis, 1991), 390ff.
5 [ Back ] See my "William Perkins: Theatrum Salutis and Preparationism," 1997 MTh Dissertation, University of Edinburgh.
6 [ Back ] See Kevin Vanhoozer, The Drama of Doctrine: A Canonical Linguistic Approach to Christian Theology (Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2005), 445ff.
7 [ Back ] Peter Brunner, Worship in the Name of Jesus, trans. M. H. Bertram (St Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1968), 124.

Rev. John J. Bombaro (Ph.D., King's College, University of London) is the parish minister at Grace Lutheran Church in San Diego, California and a lecturer in theology and religious studies at the University of San Diego.

Issue: "The Great Announcement" Jan./Feb. 2011 Vol. 20 No. 1 Page number(s): 31-36

    You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that you do not alter the wording in any way, you do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction, and you do not make more than 500 physical copies. We do not allow reposting an article in its entirety on the Internet.  We request that you link to this article from your website.  Any exceptions to the above must be explicitly approved by Modern Reformation (

    Please include the following statement on any distributed copy: This article originally appeared in the [insert current issue date] edition of Modern Reformation and is reprinted with permission. For more information about Modern Reformation, visit or call (800) 890-7556. All rights reserved.