Skip to comments.The Strategic Plan (Protestant Caucus)
Posted on 02/21/2011 3:04:22 PM PST by Gamecock
Hello and welcome to another edition of the White Horse Inn. Every mission statement needs a good strategic plan. If your mission is to make cars, then you need to figure out how you are going to design, assemble, distribute, and sell them. The one to who was given all authority in heaven and on earth entrusted his apostles with the message and the mission. He gave us the method to go along with the Gospel.
There are a lot of details given to us in the New Testament concerning the proper organization and execution of the church's ministry. However, all Christians have held that the Great Commission is marvelously simple and unambiguously clear: The means of fulfilling it are preaching, baptizing, and teaching-that's what the Great Commission actually says. Throughout the Book of Acts, the growth of the church is indicated by the phrase, "and the word of God spread," together with the report of baptisms and adult converts together with their households being baptized. They gathered regularly for the public ministry of preaching, teaching, fellowship, the Supper, and the prayers. The Lord added daily those who were being saved to the church (Acts 2:47). "So the churches were strengthened in the faith, and they increased in numbers daily" (Acts 16:5). There is no distinction in the New Testament between being a disciple and belonging to the church-not just to the invisible church (i.e., of regenerate believers), but to the visible church. Membership in this visible body of Christ is identified by public profession of faith and baptism (in the case of adult converts, reversed in the case of covenant children).
On the basis of the Great Commission-and the many passages that unpack it-the churches of the Reformation affirm that the true church is visible "wherever the Word is rightly preached and the sacraments are rightly administered."
Today this consensus is no longer obvious. Many of us were raised with evangelistic invitations that distinguished sharply between what happens inside us and what happens outside us, between "getting saved" and "joining a church"; a "personal relationship with Jesus" versus "church membership." And all of this goes back still further, to pietism and revivalism and before that to radical Anabaptist movements and still further back to monastic spirituality. The idea is that real disciples are "made" not in the theater of ordinary Word-and-sacrament ministry and the care of elders and deacons, but in the parachurch enclaves for super-spiritual saints.
We've talked before on this program about the "message creep" in the church today. The gospel has become a cliché for all sorts of things: many of them good, but not the gospel. Left to ourselves, the emphasis will always shift back from the Triune God and his saving work in Christ to us and our experience, piety, and activity. The same thing happens with the Great Commission. "Message creep" leads to "mission creep."
One of those places where mission creep often begins is at the level of strategies. Christ not only gave us a mission statement: "Go therefore into all the world and make disciples." He also gave us a strategic plan when he added, "baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you." You see, salvation comes down from God to us, not from us to God. Therefore, the methods he has instituted are designed to deliver his gifts. We've turned God's gospel delivery system into another series of methods for our self-improvement and world-transformation. How do you make disciples of all nations? Jesus says it plainly, "Preach the gospel, baptize, and teach." But we know better. Or do we? That's the question for this discussion at the White Horse Inn.
While there are a couple of points that we will disagree on, I’d like to keep focused on the bigger picture painted in this article!
Have we, as the church universal, lost our way by not focusing on the full content of the great commission?
Are we really making disciples?
18 Then Jesus came to them and said, All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.
19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.
There is a long history of having threads labeled as Protestant Caucus.
We Proddys disagree on some things, but what binds us is essential belief Sola Fide and Sola Christus.
Of course, such wailing has little to nothing to do with proper caucus boundaries and operation.
Thankfully, God knows the hearts involved.
I do wonder, exactly, whit it is about the word CAUCUS that is not understood.
Don’t you freely invite the Orthodox to post on your Catholic Caucus Threads?
I propose a popery-free caucus. Then Christendom can be united.
And think of all the bad calories we’d avoid.