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The Mission Statement

"Go Into All the World"

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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)


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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

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