Are The Great Commandment and The Great Commission Incompatible?
John ShoreBesides here on Crosswalk, John blogs on JohnShore.com.
- 2007 May 23
The question I explore in I’m OK--and the one I’d like to ask you now--is whether or not you think that The Great Commandment and The Great Commission are (at this point in our culture) incompatible. I’m OK asserts that they are (and then, lest I be accused of being just a troublemaker, goes on to reconcile the two). I don’t want to sum the book up here; it is, after all, a question that demands some real respect and time to deal with properly. But let me here throw out this basic Stack O' Propositions to you, and see if they don't bring you to the same conclusion I keep coming to:
1. Fulfilling Jesus’ “Great Commandment” means loving our neighbors as we love ourselves.
2. Fulfilling Jesus “Great Commission” (“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations …”) means sharing the gospel with nonbelievers, in the hopes that they’ll really hear the message of Jesus, believe in Him, and become Christians.
3. Putting The Great Commandment into words means saying to a nonbeliever something that, in essence, amounts to, “I love you with all of my heart.”
4. Putting The Great Commission into words means saying to a nonbeliever something that, in essence, amounts to, “You should exchange whatever you believe in now for belief in Jesus Christ.”
5. Boiled down even further, "You should exchange whatever you believe in now for belief in Jesus Christ,” amounts to, “You need to radically change who you are.”
6. “I love you with all my heart,” and “You need to radically change who you are” is a confusing, unhelpful message.
7. Maybe we should rethink how we do evangelism.
What do you think? Does all that make sense? Have I totally missed or boggled something in this line of reasoning?
I’m no logician; I’m no theologian; I’m no Bible scholar. I’m just a regular guy who, before I was a Christian, used to wonder how Christians could think that anyone would ever react positively to the message “I love you; now change.”
And now that I am a Christian, I still wonder about that.
It seems like a good thing to talk about, anyway, doesn't it?
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