A Pastoral Look At Apologetics, With A Plea

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Understanding that the Great Commission of Matthew 28:18-20 is to be our guide in the church, I often felt as I was growing up that there was a lot of emphasis placed on winning souls to Christ, but that they were then forgotten in the rush to win more souls. “Jesus came to them and spoke to them saying, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. Therefore, Go and disciple all the peoples, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to carefully observe [t h r e w - obey, etc.] all that I commanded you; and behold! I am with you always, even until the completion of eternity!’” I used an exclamation point here for two reasons. 1) This is a command and that is usually how we show a command in English, and 2) I think that this is exciting! Obeying Jesus pleases Him, and pleasing him should excite us to service!
I have since learned that even though any of us can be used of God to win a soul to Christ, that my gifts lie more in the area of equipping. That is to say that my role is much more that of “teaching them all things that I have taught you,” than that of baptizing them--if one sees the teaching of all things as discipleship and the baptizing as that result of effective evangelism wherein individuals give their life to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. It seems to me still that often efforts and ink are expended much more in this latter effort to win souls than in teaching those already won to the Lord how it is that they should live and grow in Him--and in doing so to repeat both the baptizing and the teaching portions. Thus carefully observing all of Christ’s Great Commission to us.

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Dr. Dean Bruce

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Pastor, Church of God, Mendon, Ohio