Today at my parish we had a missionary priest from India. I am happy to say that after years of disappointment, it was refreshing to finally here a missionary actually talking about bring people to Jesus. To talk about salvation. It was wonderful. And he wasn’t a traditional order priest or anything; he was just a Novus Ordo diocesan priest. But he preached about the Great Commission. About the necessity of bringing Christ to people. About baptism. About India’s great Christian traditions, both those begun by St. Thomas as well that brought by St. Francis Xavier and the 16th century Jesuits. He offered actual spiritual insights that were relevant.
I remember recently on one of my travels I heard a priest saying how he was preaching on Purgatory at this parish. And afterward a woman came up to him and said, “I never really thought about it, but I think that was the first sermon I heard on Purgatory in thirty years!” I think the same is true with the necessity of bringing the Gospel to pagans. Maybe intellectually Catholics know the Great Commission is out there, but it is so seldom preached about these days.
This is no surprise. Muslims worship the same God. Jews are no longer in need of conversion. Protestants are brethren. Orthodox are not to be expected to return to unity with Rome. Aberrosexuals are not to be made uncomfortable in any way. Pagans are able to find God in their own rituals and mythologies. Given all this, one wonders who is left that actually needs to hear the Gospel. Mafioso and arms dealers, according to Pope Francis; but they are a lost cause because the pope has already said they are going to Hell.
The point is, you can’t mentally affirm one thing but act in a manner contrary to it for forty years. You can’t affirm the Great Commission is still a mandate while acting as if there is no particular class of people who actually need Christ and His Church.
What hath salvation to do with conversion?
3 thoughts on “Preaching the Great Commission”
I don’t understand why Reformed people stop halfway at some “halfway covenant”. Since the visible church is by nature mixed (because we are not infallible and profession of conversion is only creditable, why not assume that everybody is anonymously “saved” already and invite them all to the means of grace?
Protestant Purgatory begins with listening to preachers twice on Sunday. All sinners are welcome, even those who don’t think they are sinners.
N T Wright—“In I Corinthians 3, Paul does not say that the people who have built with gold, silver and precious stones will go straight to heaven, or paradise, still less to the resurrection, while those who have used wood, hay and stubble will be delayed en route by a purgatory in which they will be punished or purged. No: both will be saved. . It does not teach a difference of status, or of celestial geography, or of temporal progression, between one category of Christians and another.”
N T Wright—“In fact, there are so many things said in the New Testament about the greatest becoming least and the least becoming greatest that we shouldn’t be surprised at this lack of distinction between the post-mortem state of different Christians. There is no reason whatever to say, for instance, that Peter or Paul, James or John, is more advanced, closer to God, or has achieved more spiritual ‘growth’.
Wright—Dante’s middle volume is the one people most easily relate to. The myth of purgatory is an allegory, a projection, from the PRESENT on to the future. The glorious news is that our remaining propensity to sin is finished, cut off, done with all at once, in physical death.”
mcmark–if you don’t do enough works in this age to prove that you believe, you will not be justified in the age to come when you get to the “not yet aspect of justification”.
OPC preacher Gaffin teaches an “unbreakable bond between justification and sanctification” in the matter of assurance and hope for future justification. (p 100, By Faith, Not By Sight),
Gaffin, lectures on Romans, on 2:13—That judgement decides…the ultimate outcome for all believers and for all humanity, believers as well as unbelievers. It’s a life and death situation that’s in view here. Further, this ultimate judgement has as its criterion or standard, brought into view here, the criterion for that judgement is works, good works. The doing of the law, as that is the criterion for all human beings, again, believers as well as unbelievers. In fact, in the case of the believer a positive outcome is in view and that positive outcome is explicitly said to be justification. So, again the point on the one side of the passage is that eternal life… depends on and follows from a future justification according to works. Eternal life follows upon a future justification by doing the law.
Gaffin, By Faith, Not by Sight, p 106—”In book 3 of his Institutes (The Beginning of Justification and its Continual Progress), Calvin explains ‘We must have this justification not just once but must hold it it throughout life.’ Justification is bound up with Christ’s present ongoing intercessory presence, in the sense that our remaining in the state of justification, depends on this unfailing intercession. His presence in that place of final judgment is the effective answer….Christ is the living embodiment of that righteousness…and as such he continues to work for the justification of God’s already justified elect….Because of this intercession they cannot and will not ever fall from the state of justification.”
TGC mines OL for content: https://blogs.thegospelcoalition.org/evangelical-history/2016/08/03/what-was-it-like-to-hear-billy-sunday-preach/
Updating is looking more and more dated: