Matthew 28:19 - Go ye...

Discussion in 'The Gospels & Acts' started by blhowes, Jan 8, 2004.

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  1. blhowes

    blhowes Puritan Board Professor

    In the thread that Ralph started called "Can a father baptised his household (without a pastor) ?", Matthew gave a link to an article he wrote called [u:f6be712d93]Who May Administer the Sacraments[/u:f6be712d93]where he explained his position - a very interesting article. I had a question about something he said in the article, but thought it might be a little off topic, so here's yet another thread.

    One thing that's always puzzled me is how, in the "great commission", we can say that part of it (Go ye into all the world...) is a command for all Christians, but the command to baptize is just for pastors or elders of a church. That just didn't make sense. Matthew's article covered that objection, though not how I expected.

    [b:f6be712d93]In the article, Matthew wrote:[/b:f6be712d93]
    The Greek text here bears out the relationship of the command to teach and baptize to the eleven - not to all Christians.[18] Jesus is instructing the Apostles to teach and baptize. This has no reference to all Christians inclusively, but does have reference to the extension of those who hold the office of the church. It should be evident that in this text we should conclude that it is "...Christ's stipulation that the pastorate fulfill its Great Commission to preach and administer the sacraments."

    For I don't know how many years, I've been taught that when Jesus said "Go ye..." that this was a command to all Christians. I've never questioned it or studied it - it seemed pretty cut and dry.

    I'll have to give what Matthew said a little more thought, but I wonder if others agree (or disagree) that the command to "Go" in the great commission is directed to those ordained to the ministry, as opposed to all Christians.


    [Edited on 1-8-2004 by blhowes]
  2. Puritan Sailor

    Puritan Sailor Puritan Board Doctor

    Perhaps we should look at it more as the pastors leading and overseeing this commission of the church. Individuals certainly must go forth sharing the gospel, but they must be taught and trained to do so through the work of the pastor. Plus, it is primarily the pastor's job to do the public proclaiming of the Word. Christians are primarily called to witness by their holy conversation in this world. There are roles to play but they all accomplish the goal of the commission.
  3. Guest

    Guest Puritan Board Freshman

    Exactly puritansailor.
  4. SolaScriptura

    SolaScriptura Puritan Board Doctor

    ...But the Pope oversees it all, right Visigoth? ;)
  5. Guest

    Guest Puritan Board Freshman

    Pope Jesu Christus
  6. blhowes

    blhowes Puritan Board Professor

    So are you saying that you believe that the command in Matthew 28:19 is for all Christians, but that God gives the church pastors to train us to obey the command?
  7. JohnV

    JohnV Puritan Board Post-Graduate


    Is it possible that this commission is given to the Church, with respect to the offices and the people in their proper roles? It doesn't have to mean that everyone may baptize, and yet maintain its every integrity. It is clear from 1 Cor. 11's injuction about the Lord's Supper that there has to be an ecclesiastical oversight in the sacraments and ordinances.

    The point is, if we make too much out of the Great Commission, we can make too little of the sacrament, and if we make too much out of the sacrament, we lose the impact of the Great Commission. It's not so much balance as I see it, but rather each one in its rightful place to the fullest, without undue and unscriptural excess. There are Biblical bases for baptism, and there are biblical bases for evangelism. We can do both and keep the Great Commission fully without necessarily having them overriding each other.

    And I think that if everyone can go around baptizing on their own authority then we don't have an authoritative way to account for true membership in the Church. And this overrides the place of the elders' rulership. And if we leave evangelism to the elders, then we undermine their headship and leadership in an active church. They don't lead their flock out to pasture, they just leave them in the enclosure and feed them processed food.

    Well, at least that's my :wr50:
  8. Puritan Sailor

    Puritan Sailor Puritan Board Doctor

    [quote:fe18b4fe37][i:fe18b4fe37]Originally posted by blhowes[/i:fe18b4fe37]
    So are you saying that you believe that the command in Matthew 28:19 is for all Christians, but that God gives the church pastors to train us to obey the command?
    Bob [/quote:fe18b4fe37]

    I think so. John's response said it more clearly than mine. The apostles were given the commission but they are not the only recipients. Otherwise all preaching would have stopped with the death of the apostles. The commission was given to the apostle's as leaders of the church. But these men were also told to go and baptize, to teach, and to make disciples. But we must balance this with the rest of Scripture. There are specific public offices for preaching the Word. And christians as well must be ready to give an answer for their hope. But the primary means of witness for the average Christian is his holy life and testimony (what the Puritans called "conversation"). By living holy lives consistent with your profession you cause people to ask questions which gives you opportunities to share the gospel and invite them to church to hear the gospel even more. This is what pastors are suppose to be nurturing in their flock. Consider Paul's exhortations in Colossians 3 and 1 Thess. 4. So, we all have roles in fulfilling the commission but some have greater responsibilities of oversight in leading this effort.


    [Edited on 1-9-2004 by puritansailor]
  9. wsw201

    wsw201 Puritan Board Senior

    A couple of things everyone needs to remember when we read about the Great Commission and its command to go out and make disciples and teach them all things that Christ had commanded. God has gifted his Church, as has already been noted, with those who have been called to be pastors and teachers for the equipping of the saints (Eph 4:11, 12). If anyone wants to teach others about Christ they better take James' admonition in James 3:1 to heart " My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment." I believe this admonition goes well with Paul's admonition in Galatians 1:8-9, "But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed." So if you fancy yourself as a teacher and a spreader of the Gospel you need to be well equipped to make sure you get it right. As an Elder in Christ's Church, this scarces the dickens out of me as Hebrews 13:17 always comes to mind.

  10. blhowes

    blhowes Puritan Board Professor

    Wayne, puritansailor, and John,

    Thanks for your comments. Its good to be reminded that we're not alone in our efforts to share the Gospel with others. God graciously gave the church pastors, etc., who can train the rest of us how to be better witnesses for Christ.

    [b:b24c2746c6]Wayne wrote:[/b:b24c2746c6]
    So if you fancy yourself as a teacher and a spreader of the Gospel you need to be well equipped to make sure you get it right.

    I don't know that sharing the gospel is only for those with seminary degrees or for ordained church officials (which I know that's not what you're saying), but I agree wholeheartedly with you that when we share the gospel we need to take seriously the admonitions given in the scriptures you shared (and I appreciate those admonitions). I find myself being very careful (perhaps overly careful) about what I say when I have the opportunity to witness to someone. I try to make sure that what I say can be supported by the scriptures.

  11. VirginiaHuguenot

    VirginiaHuguenot Puritanboard Librarian

    I have often heard it said that the Great Commission lays a responsibility upon all believers (ordained and laity alike) to proclaim the gospel. I do not believe that is the case. I believe it is a command given to the ordained ministers of God's Word (first apostles, then teaching elders). Brian Schwertley has a good article on the subject:
  12. blhowes

    blhowes Puritan Board Professor

    Thanks for posting this interesting article. I've never heard the great commission passage interpretted that way before. According to the article, its the historic reformed position. Interesting.
  13. VirginiaHuguenot

    VirginiaHuguenot Puritanboard Librarian

    You're welcome, Bob. I believe that Pastor Schwertley is correct that this is the historic Reformed position. I think it is related to a higher view of what ordination signifies than many of us in our modern church experience are used to. I believe the responsibility for upholding the Great Commission rests primarily upon the shoulders of ordained ministers who proclaim God's Word; but I also believe the laity have a duty to be on their knees praying for the advancement of God's kingdom in the earth and should be ready to give an answer for the hope that lies within us.
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