A University Committed To The Great Commission -- By: Parker, Skubik, and Stokes
JBTM 1:2 (Fall 2003) p. 47
A University Committed To The Great Commission
Jonathan K. Parker, Provost
Daniel Skubik, Dean, College of Arts and Sciences
H. Bruce Stokes, Dean, School of Behavioral Sciences
California Baptist University
The primacy of the Great Commission as a part of Baptist identity and outlook has been apparent ever since the ascendancy of Missionary Baptists over Primitive Baptists during the early nineteenth century. Southern Baptists in particular have a long tradition of looking to the Great Commission as their rallying cry for outreach ministries, missions, and the establishment of educational institutions. Universities have been in existence since the eleventh century, and a variety of purposes have been assigned to them over the centuries. Today, there are various models that operationally define universities and their functions in society. What implications and problems arise when an institution defines itself both as a university and as an institution that is committed to the Great Commission? Are certain models of university purpose more appropriate than others? Are there characteristics or hallmarks that distinguish such a university?
The Great Commission
In order to address these questions, we will first look at the Great Commission. How Jesus’ command is interpreted has an enormous impact on how it is carried out in a university setting. The Great Commission, as understood by Christianity, is the statement made by Jesus of
JBTM 1:2 (Fall 2003) p. 48
Nazareth to His disciples prior to His ascension into heaven. It is recorded in the Synoptic Gospels and the Book of Acts but is not found in the Gospel of John. In each version of this last instruction of Jesus to His disciples, the emphasis is somewhat different.
Mark’s Gospel is the most problematic both in text and theology.1 The received text, dominantly represented by the King James translation but maintained in most modern translations, contains the most commonly known version of the several text variations of this Gospel. The command is to Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to all creation (Mark 16:15 NASB). This version of the Commission also appears to include the necessity of baptism, and a listing of signs that will follow the believers confirming the Word preached. Luke’s Gospel and companion Acts of the Apostles which claims the same author, more passively states . . . that repentance for forgiveness would be proclaimed in His name to all nation...
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