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)
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
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