By Ken Blue
“Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them. 17 And when they saw him, they worshipped him: but some doubted. 18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. 19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” Matthew 28:16-20.
I find it interesting that the brethren see the above as a “Great Commission,” and ignore those in Mark 16:15-12; Luke 24:47-49; John 20:21-23; Acts 1:8. Perhaps they see a clue to their doctrinal persuasion in it. Granted, it is a great mission and soul winning passage. And all are justified to uses it as a practical motivation to world missions.
However, when it comes to the doctrinal, historical, and dispensational interpretation of the text, no one does, nor can obey it today. I am aware of the juggling act performed by the brethren in an attempt to make it fit. But I have been to the circus before, and have seen the clowns at work. I will prove beyond any doubt, to the sane, that the commission cannot, and is not obeyed by anyone.
It is spoken to the disciples. One of the cardinal rules of Bible interpretation is to discover who is being addressed. It is the eleven, and thy could obey all He taught them, after receiving “power from on high.” That power would enable them to do “greater miracles” than He had done! No Baptist has that power today. “And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; 18 They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover. 19 So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God. 20 And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen.” Mark 16:17-20.
The command was for them to go into all the world, beginning at Jerusalem. This was more than a mission strategy. It was imperative that Israel repent and accept the Kingdom Gospel they would preach. Israel must repent for the Kingdom Gospel to be taken “into all the world.” I am aware how the brethren apply their city as Jerusalem. But even that will not work.
The command to baptize is not a method or formula, but an assurance of authority from the Trinity. That is why the word “power” is used in the context. You will not find anyone in Scripture using it as a pattern.
Their ministry was to make disciples in every nation, starting with the Jews. As we said, Israel must first repent and accept Jesus as their Messiah. Converts then must be taught the rules, and principles of the Kingdom of Heaven. Thus, theirs was primarily a teaching ministry of the kingdom of heaven.
Now, the monkey wrench into the gears. They were to teach their disciples to “observe all things commanded you.” Do we need to go back over His ministry and discover what He taught them? For the honest skeptic, we will give a few examples.
Do you cast out devils? Do you heal the sick? “Then came the disciples to Jesus apart, and said, Why could not we cast him out? 20 And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you. 21 Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting. Matthew 17:19-21” How does Matt. 18:19 work for you? “Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.” Do you let divorced people, who are remarried join your church? Matt. 19:9. Will church members sit on twelve thrones? Matt. 19:28. It would be a waste of time to take the things Jesus taught His disciples, and them attempt to make them church doctrine. “15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. 16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. 17 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; 18 They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover. 19 So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God. 20 And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen.” Mark 16:15-20. “21 Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you. 22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost: 23 Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained.” John 20:21-23. No Baptist does it, nor can he.
I purposefully choose passages this side of Matt. 16. The reader should understand the impossibility, how ridiculous it for anyone to assume thy can obeying all that Jesus taught His disciples to do and teach. If you think differently, we welcome your corrections. I don’t mean to be arrogant, but I don’t expect any rebuttal to the challenge.
Pastor Ken Blue was born in Boswell, Ark. In 1955 he accepted Christ as his Savior. He and his wife Joyce were married in 1955. They have 5 children. He graduated from Midwestern Baptist Bible College in 1969 and started the Open Door Baptist Church in Lynnwood, Wa. where he pastored for 39 years. Because of health issues (ALS) he was forced to resign as pastor. It is his desire to continue to be used of God to help pastors and believers through this ministry.