The Great Commission Imperative: Proclaiming God’s Truth in Word and Deed -- By: Richard D. Land

Journal: Southern Baptist Journal of Theology
Volume: SBJT 01:4 (Winter 1997)
Article: The Great Commission Imperative: Proclaiming God’s Truth in Word and Deed
Author: Richard D. Land


The Great Commission Imperative:
Proclaiming God’s Truth in Word and Deed

Richard D. Land

Richard D. Land is President of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention. A graduate of Oxford University, Land speaks widely on ethical issues, and is the author of several articles. All Scripture quotations are from the King James version unless otherwise noted.

The Lord’s Great Commission to the church and to all His disciples down through the ages is an all-embracing mandate. Jesus commands all Christians to go into the world and to proclaim the Gospel with the goal of conversion of the listeners to saving faith in Jesus Christ. It was, and is, a truly all-encompassing commission (“all nations”) with an all-encompassing message (“Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you” [Mt 28:19–20, emphasis supplied]).

Both the Old and New Testaments exhort believers to proclaim the whole of God’s revelatory word and to warn of the dire consequences failure to do so produces. Proverbs 29:18 says, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” The word “vision” (hazon) encompasses the entirety of God’s truth revelation and embraces the totality of His revelation. Through His prophet Isaiah, God warned the people of His changeless, eternal truth standards and of how they would be used to measure the people’s morality when He said, “I will take the measuring line of justice and the plumb line of righteousness to check the foundation wall you have built”(Isa 28:17, NIV). In the final days of Judah’s apostasy and idolatrous rebellion, God sent Jeremiah to sound the warning and to issue the plea, “Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls” (Jer 6:16). In taking his leave of the leaders of the church at Ephesus, the Apostle Paul drew attention to the all-encompassing nature of his evangelistic ministry when he said, “Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men. For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God” (Ac 20:26–27). Clearly, the Apostle Paul was convinced that he would have been gravely irresponsible and guilty had he neglected to proclaim “all the counsel of God.”

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