July 10, 2007

A response

During our mission training in New York City in early June, I pressed a lot of people about how they interpreted the Great Commission in light of their mission work. How do we "make disciples of every nation, baptizing in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit" and "teach them to obey all that I have commanded you"? My inspiration for evangelism and mission work does not come from the Great Commission but I want to be honest to the Bible and be able to interpret this passage in a way that is consistent with my faith.

When we met with the Presiding Bishop, I asked her the same question and got a good answer but one that was off-the-cuff. Now, I've got an essay-length response from her:

I met recently with a group of appointed missionaries of the Episcopal Church. They gathered for 10 days in New York for orientation before leaving to do mission. It was an enormous privilege to meet them and see their energy and enthusiasm (which means "filled with God") for this adventure.

We had an opportunity for conversation, and one young man shared his concern about how to understand the Great Commission, particularly the directive to baptize, especially in a multifaith environment. It was a wonderful question that engages us all at one level or another.

How do we engage in evangelism, and particularly in the specific directives of Matthew 28:19-20? Go therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age."

Check 'er out.


Jim said...

Being an atheist, let's just say I have reservations about this. (Not that that matters to you). But I trust in your common sense about how to read people and their culture. Judge for yourself if you are doing good work - and be critical towards it - don't assume or turn off brain in deference to higher ups in your organization.