Monday, October 15, 2012

Gospel going, gospel baptizing, gospel teaching

This is a great excerpt from Gospel Centered discipleship, a superb book by Jonathan K. Dodson that I have posted about before here and here. This passage looks at the Great Commission and considers the implications it makes in regards to the gospel. Dodson suggests, helpfully and correctly in my opinion, that the Great Commission is really a gospel commission. And he emphasizes that this commission is not just to make disciples, but also to baptize them and teach them, And this making, baptizing, and teaching is all in reference to the gospel, and thus is centered on the Person of the gospel, Jesus..
"At the risk of oversimplification, we could say that the Great Commission commands us to learn the gospel by the gospel. We learn the breadth and depth of the good news by continually situating ourselves in it, through repentance and faith in Jesus Christ as Lord. Jesus is the gospel of our teaching and observing. It is this understanding of the gospel that makes disciples, which is why it would be better to refer to the [Great] commission as the "Gospel Commission." The Gospel Commission sends us to teach and observe the gospel.

With this all too brief explanation of the Great Commission directives, we must conclude that the gospel isn't just for evangelism, the initial making of disciples. It is also for discipleship, the continual making of disciples. Jesus' view of discipleship is radically gospel centered. The gospel is for not-yet disciples and already disciples. The gospel people believe to be baptized is the same gospel people believe to be sanctified (through the work of the Spirit). Followers of Jesus make and mature disciples by going with the gospel, baptizing disciples into gospel community, and teaching the gospel. We are to go in the power of the gospel, baptize into the grace of the gospel, and teach the Person of the gospel. Jesus is the ground of our going, the goal of our baptizing, and the gospel of our teaching. Making disciples is radically Jesus centered. This is how we make disciples-gospel going, gospel baptizing, gospel teaching." (35)

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