I read a lot. Lately I’ve read many books on evangelism. I’ve come to the conclusion that there are very few books on evangelism worth reading. But I have also made the deduction that the only thing one must do in order to write a book on evangelism to get it published is to use The Great Commission. And who could argue? It’s a wonderful passage and charge from Jesus to the disciples. I mean, read these words and think of not only the excitement that it must have created among the disciples but also the feeling of being a part of something far beyond what they could have ever imagined on their fishing boats, or even walking around the countryside with this Jesus guy.
Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 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, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
But as I have dragged myself through these books, I have come to wonder if too much emphasis is being placed on The Great Commission. If it is so important, why doesn’t Mark conclude his gospel with it? Or John? Or Luke? (I must concede though, that Luke does leave us with remnants of it in the first part of Acts. People seldom seem to read the two books one after the other. In Acts 1:8, Jesus tells the disciples, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”)
Some questions to ponder: Is The Great Commission the best way to view evangelism or is it only one way? Are there other forms of evangelism in the Bible that we must consider (i.e. Paul arguing in the synagogues)? Would Matthew writing it to a Jewish audience have more of an impact than if Mark would have written it to a Gentile audience?
Disclaimer: I do not write this post in order to have The Great Commission banished from the Bible. I do write it though for us to reflect on forms of evangelism in the Bible that get neglected when people opt to only look at The Great Commission.