Disclaimer: About This Blog

THIS BLOG IS: my personal journey of how I am rethinking some of my spiritual beliefs.
THIS BLOG IS NOT: intended to point fingers at people who I think are wrong.
I do not believe the final judgement will be based on how many correct answers we get on a theology exam. I believe many people throughout history have had genuine relationships with our Lord and Saviour Jesus, despite holding questionable beliefs and practices. I make no claim to having it all figured out or being your judge. If we end up disagreeing over these topics I pray we can find a way to demonstrate grace.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Who was instructed to baptise?

Who is the great commission for? Yes, Jesus was talking directly to the 11 disciples here. But I've often heard this passage quoted to encourage all Christians to:
  • go to all the world and make disciples
  • teach them everything about our faith
  • and then when enough time has passed, enough classes taken, and maturity developed, the 'church' leaders will baptize them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit so they can become members of the local 'church'.
So is part of the great commission given to all Christians, and the other part left to the authority of 'church' leaders?

Matt 28:16-20
"Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 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."

Unfortunately what often happens is that all of this is left to the professionals. Most Christians think bringing a friend to 'church' is a big enough part... The teaching, discipleship, and baptism is all left to the professionals.

But maybe it would be better if all Christ followers (myself included) took the whole great commission seriously?

What do you think?


Anonymous said...

Wow, I never thought of it that way before. Or I just never realized I was doing that.

I guess if you think about it, John the Baptist wasn't anything like a fully educated, holy man. He just worked in the Spirit and loved God. And that was before the Great Commission, too.

I suppose it's just never come up that someone wanted to be baptized, but not through the church (or church leaders). I guess we have really taken baptism and made it into part of our religious ritual when it's really just a proclamation of our love for Christ.

Great thoughts! Keep them coming! =)

Gary Delaney said...


I agree. But the ministry professionals really like it when the rest is left to them. Because most of them feel threatened when it is not. They feel like their position is not necessary.

But, you are correct in saying that we should all take it seriously. Christ said it to all of His followers. I don't think He ever intended that there be a minister/laity division. We are all called to be ministers.

This is good stuff.


Jerald said...

Good thoughts Jon. Can you imagine the apostles trying to baptize all the thousands who were getting saved in the beginning. Jesus didn't baptize any but His disciples did.
I believe that those who would put restrictions on those who can share the Gospel or administer the ordinances of baptism and communion are simply trying to enhance their own little kingdoms. All you have to do to understand this is to look at the way it started - house to house, breaking bread together. That's the Church!

Anonymous said...

I have never been taught anything else other than The Geat Commission is my and every other disciple's responsability, maybe responsability is not the right word, maybe purpose is a better word. I love studying the bible with folks and watching the Holy spirit cut their hearts and I have never ever been so fullfilled as when I am a part or baptise someone. All that being said now I have to confess that there have been times when I have caught myself baptising someone into a church as opposed to IN Christ. Another question one might ask is what scriptures should I use and what is the point of baptisim. This is a study worthy of everyone who professes to be a Christian to do. I will also say this in parting, it is all about relationships and getting to know the person as far as what you study and how, you are deffinitly going to study differently with a pagen as opposed to someone who is religous.

Steve Martin said...

Jesus commanded that we go into the world and baptize, and teach.

He didn't say anything about enough time passing and enough classes being taken.

Why add that which is not there in the text?

He said, "Go, baptize, and teach..."

Jonathan said...

Thanks Steve Martin for the comment. I agree with what you say here. I think the church has often added extra stuff and made it more complex than it needs to be.

Do you also think all believers have the authority to make disciples and baptize them? Or is part of this best done by the clergy?