Matthew 28 and the Great Commission

Most of modern Western Christianity, both liberal and “conservative,” misunderstand the Great Commission as a command to make Disciples of people from all Nations. This is decidedly not what Jesus commanded His Disciples to do. Rather Jesus commanded them to disciple the Nations as Nations, i.e. to make Christian Nations. The misunderstanding is a result of a mishandling of the Greek in Matthew 28. The way that we have translated that into English has allowed us to interpret the passages to mean that we are to disciple people from among the Nations. That is not the meaning that was retained in Older Versions such as the Geneva Bible. In the Greek the command is to Disciple Nations as Nations.

Now certainly that cannot be done without discicipling people in the Nations but the emphasis in Matthew 28 is Corporate. Nations as Nations are to be discipled.

Of course the upshot of all this is that all of life — all its Institutions, all its civil-social structures, all its cultural corporate infrastructure — is to be brought into allegiance to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Matthew 28 teaches there are to be such things as Christian families, Christian schools, Christian social orders, Christian law, and Christian Nations.

Of course an implication of this is the continued place of Nations in a world that has been discipled unto Christ. Christianity does not create a New World Order where internationalism becomes the socio-political means of the organization of mankind. The success of the Gospel means that the Nations as Nations continue to exist. In such a way the long standing Christian principle of unity in diversity is maintained. When the Great Commission is taken in its Biblical context, according to its original intent, the converted World finds a spiritual unity in Christ while the diversity of who God has ordained them to be as Nations continues on. In such a way the created One and many reflects the un-created One and Many.

Supporting this older reading are chaps like Matthew Henry who could say on Matthew 28,

[2.] “What is the principal intention of this (Great) commission; to disciple all nations. Matheµteusate-“Admit them disciples; do your utmost to make the nations Christian nations;’ not, “Go to the nations, and denounce the judgments of God against them, as Jonah against Nineveh, and as the other Old-Testament prophets’ (though they had reason enough to expect it for their wickedness), “but go, and disciple them.’ Christ the Mediator is setting up a kingdom in the world, bring the nations to be his subjects; setting up a school, bring the nations to be his scholars; raising an army for the carrying on of the war against the powers of darkness, enlist the nations of the earth under his banner. The work which the apostles had to do, was, to set up the Christian religion in all places, and it was honourable work; the achievements of the mighty heroes of the world were nothing to it. They conquered the nations for themselves, and made them miserable; the apostles conquered them for Christ, and made them happy.”

This interview is excellent on this matter,

Author: jetbrane

I am a Pastor of a small Church in Mid-Michigan who delights in my family, my congregation and my calling. I am postmillennial in my eschatology. Paedo-Calvinist Covenantal in my Christianity Reformed in my Soteriology Presuppositional in my apologetics Familialist in my family theology Agrarian in my regional community social order belief Christianity creates culture and so Christendom in my national social order belief Mythic-Poetic / Grammatical Historical in my Hermeneutic Pre-modern, Medieval, & Feudal before Enlightenment, modernity, & postmodern Reconstructionist / Theonomic in my Worldview One part paleo-conservative / one part micro Libertarian in my politics Systematic and Biblical theology need one another but Systematics has pride of place Some of my favorite authors, Augustine, Turretin, Calvin, Tolkien, Chesterton, Nock, Tozer, Dabney, Bavinck, Wodehouse, Rushdoony, Bahnsen, Schaeffer, C. Van Til, H. Van Til, G. H. Clark, C. Dawson, H. Berman, R. Nash, C. G. Singer, R. Kipling, G. North, J. Edwards, S. Foote, F. Hayek, O. Guiness, J. Witte, M. Rothbard, Clyde Wilson, Mencken, Lasch, Postman, Gatto, T. Boston, Thomas Brooks, Terry Brooks, C. Hodge, J. Calhoun, Llyod-Jones, T. Sowell, A. McClaren, M. Muggeridge, C. F. H. Henry, F. Swarz, M. Henry, G. Marten, P. Schaff, T. S. Elliott, K. Van Hoozer, K. Gentry, etc. My passion is to write in such a way that the Lord Christ might be pleased. It is my hope that people will be challenged to reconsider what are considered the givens of the current culture. Your biggest help to me dear reader will be to often remind me that God is Sovereign and that all that is, is because it pleases him.

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