The Task Of The Great Commission: The Method Of Discipleship -- By: David M. Doran
DBSJ 6 (Fall 01) p. 3
The Task Of The Great Commission:
The Method Of Discipleshipa
And when I came to you, brethren, I did not come with superiority of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you the testimony of God. For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.
(1 Cor 2:1-2)1
Although Matthew 28:19–20 does not present to us a definitive process for making disciples, fulfilling its basic command demands answering the question, how are disciples made? Historically, that question has been answered in simple terms like evangelism or gospel proclamation. The church viewed the Great Commission as a mandate to take the gospel to the ends of the earth so that it could be proclaimed to the lost. The other commission texts make this explicit: “preach the gospel” (Mark 16:15), “that repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations” (Luke 24:47), “you shall be My witnesses” (Acts 1:8, cf. Luke 24:48), and “you will testify also” (John 15:27).
Proclaiming the good news of Jesus Christ was viewed as the key to making disciples and, therefore, as the key to fulfilling the Great Commission. So, it should not surprise us to find the book of Acts records the disciple-making mission of the church in terms of the ministry of the Word. Perhaps the clearest text which joins these ideas is Acts 6:7, “The word of God kept on spreading; and the number of
DBSJ 6 (Fall 01) p. 4
disciples continued to increase greatly in Jerusalem, and a great number of the priests were becoming obedient to the faith.” This text makes clear the connection between the ministry of the Word (cf. 6:1–6) and the task of disciple making. This is confirmed by the repeated stress in Acts on the spread of the Word (e.g., 12:24, 13:49, 19:20) and on the priority of preaching (e.g., 6:4, 14:15, 15:35, 18:5, 28:31). V...
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