Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Neglected Half of the Great Commission

Rembrandt, “Baptism of the Ethiopian Eunuch”
[T]he obligation to preach the Gospel also includes the duty and the goal to baptize.  Although conversion comes about through the preaching of God’s Word, it is anchored and made visibly manifest in Baptism.  From Scripture, we also know that Baptism is the means whereby one is added to the communion of believers (Acts 2:38, 41; 8:12; 18:8).  In view of the fact that the great Commission speaks so clearly of preaching coupled with Baptism (Matt. 28:19; Mark 16:16), it seems odd that so little attention is given the Sacrament of Baptism in missiological literature.  One notices primarily a minimalist version that focuses on witness, isolated from Baptism.  Peter Brunner’s insights on Baptism seem instructive:
The Gospel seeks the faith of the hearers.  Once it comes to faith, then baptism follows by necessity.  Therefore the Great Commission embraces immediately also baptism.  It cannot come to a faith in the Gospel through the Holy Spirit, that does not desire and lead to baptism.  The place where baptism takes place is where church has come about. 
Klaus Detlev Schulz, Mission from the Cross, 191

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