A Commentary on Article 10 of “A Statement of the Traditional Southern Baptist Understanding of God’s Plan of Salvation”



By Robin Foster, Pastor of Immanuel Baptist Church in Perkins, Oklahoma


Article Ten: The Great Commission

We affirm that the Lord Jesus Christ commissioned His church to preach the good news of salvation to all people to the ends of the earth. We affirm that the proclamation of the Gospel is God’s means of bringing any person to salvation.

We deny that salvation is possible outside of a faith response to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Psalm 51:13; Proverbs 11:30; Isaiah 52:7; Matthew 28:19-20; John 14:6; Acts 1:8; 4:12; 10:42-43; Romans 1:16, 10:13-15; 1 Corinthians 1:17-21; Ephesians 3:7-9; 6:19-20; Philippians 1:12-14; 1 Thessalonians 1:8; 1 Timothy 2:5; 2 Timothy 4:1-5


While many things can be written about the Great Commission (GC), Article Ten of “A Statement of the Traditional Southern Baptist Understanding of God’s Plan of Salvation” relates the GC specifically to salvation and the gospel.  What does the good news of salvation (gospel) have to do with the Great Commission?  This article intends to show three areas in which the GC should impact the “church to preach the good news of salvation to all people to the ends of the earth.”

First, the gospel is for every person and every person is responsible to respond to it (John 3:16, Acts 17:30, 1 John 2:2), but not all will.  Never the less, Jesus is the only name “given among men by which we must be saved.” The gospel is open to all who would call on the Name of Jesus for salvation (Rom 10:13). An example of this is Paul preaching on Mars Hill (Acts 17:22-34).  Paul preached to an open crowd for everyone to respond to the message.  He even declared that it was every man’s responsibility before God to repent of his sin (Acts 17:30).  This part of Paul’s ministry is a perfect illustration that the gospel is for every person and while many did not respond at the preaching of God’s Word, some men did join Paul and believed (Acts 17:32-34).

Second the GC is the mission of the church in order to bring glory to God.  From its inception at Pentecost (Acts 2:14ff) until today it has been and still is the responsibility of the local New Testament church to carry the good news to all people so they may fulfill the essence of the commission itself: “Becoming disciples in order to make disciples.”  Nowhere is it found in the New Testament that any other organization is commissioned to fulfill this mandate.  While individuals may be commissioned by the local church under the leadership of God’s Spirit to carry the gospel beyond the local church’s context (like Paul and Barnabas Acts 13), it is still the church that does the sending.  It is not the duty of a convention (state or national), local association, or seminary to fulfill this mandate.  The center of operations in God’s plan to make disciples is the local church.  While para-church entities are important and sometimes crucial in helping the local church to fulfill the commission, they are no more called to fulfill the Great Commission than a butter knife is called cut down trees.  Conventions or denominational structures are to serve the local church in her mission in planting churches through the proclamation of the gospel.  The church is to proclaim in her own Jerusalem (locally) and send others to proclaim the gospel in Judea, Samaria, and the remotest parts of the earth (moving beyond the local culture to the ends of the earth, Acts 1:8).

Finally, salvation is only possible by a faith response to the Gospel of Jesus Christ (Romans 10:13-17) as one is touched and drawn by the Holy Spirit through the gospel.  Salvation is offered to all, who may hear the gospel, by no other means other than the person and sacrificial death of Jesus (Acts 4:12, John 14:6, 1 Tim 2:1-6).  It is denied that good works or religion practiced outside of faith in Jesus alone may save anyone.

 


Today’s Discussion Topic:
Article 10: The Great Commission
in “A Statement of the Traditional Southern Baptist
Understanding of God’s Plan of Salvation

A Statement of the Traditional Southern Baptist Understanding of God’s Plan of Salvation,” authored by Eric Hankins and others, has drawn strong interest in many social media and news outlets. The statement and the discussion of it have been accessed over 60,000 times and over 150,000 pageviews in SBC Today the last few weeks, and have evoked thousands of comments. At this point, over 800 persons have signed the document, including some key leaders from every level of Southern Baptist life. You cansign it also by following these directions.

To structure the discussion, we are focusing the comments on the affirmation and denial statement of one article of the statement at a time. Today’s discussion will address the Southern Baptist doctrines of grace in Article 10: The Great Commission. Keep in mind that each of the affirmations and denials in the articles complement each other, just as they do in the Together for the Gospel statement signed and/or affirmed by some Southern Baptist leaders who embrace Reformed views.

Please confine your comments to the article being discussed each day, not general comments about the statement. If you want to comment on other things, follow the links to other discussion threads:

Thank you for your comments on these important theological issues!

– The Editors of SBC Today


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A Statement of Traditional Southern Baptist Soteriology SBC Today.pdf
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We welcome the signatures of all Southern Baptists who would affirm this statement. If you would like to add your name in affirmation of the statement, please emailsbctoday@gmail.com, with the following: 

Your Name, Ministry Position, Organization/Church, City, State

For example:
John Doe, Pastor (or Associate Pastor, Youth Minister, Deacon, member, etc.), 
First Baptist Church, Anytown, TX
or
Joe Doe, Professor (or DOM, Evangelist, etc.), Seminary/College/Association, 
Anytown, NC

We will be glad to add your name to this list of those affirming the statement!


Discussion of Article Ten: The Great Commission in “A Statement of the Traditional Southern Baptist Understanding of God’s Plan of Salvation”

Note: As we discuss each article of the statement, today’s comments should focus on the affirmation and denial in Article 10. Please limit your comments here to Article 10.

 

Article Ten: The Great Commission

We affirm that the Lord Jesus Christ commissioned His church to preach the good news of salvation to all people to the ends of the earth. We affirm that the proclamation of the Gospel is God’s means of bringing any person to salvation.

We deny that salvation is possible outside of a faith response to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Psalm 51:13; Proverbs 11:30; Isaiah 52:7; Matthew 28:19-20; John 14:6; Acts 1:8; 4:12; 10:42-43; Romans 1:16, 10:13-15; 1 Corinthians 1:17-21; Ephesians 3:7-9; 6:19-20; Philippians 1:12-14; 1 Thessalonians 1:8; 1 Timothy 2:5; 2 Timothy 4:1-5