Editor's Note

Edited by Drew Friesen

By Anderson Hultgren

Published November 1st, 2020

Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.
- Matthew 28:19-20 ESV

            Above, is one of the defining features of evangelicalism—The Great Commision.[1] Christ was crucified, risen, and we are to proclaim the good news, discipling those who respond with faith and commitment. When leading souls into and within the church, this command is pivotal for Christians everywhere. Discipleship is the culmination of this commision.[2] 
            However, there are deeper nuances to discipleship then mere teaching. Even in the commission, discipleship is described through both teaching and baptism,[3] pushing beyond cultural and spatial boundaries.[4] We are discipled by Jesus, who is with us always, and we disciple others with Christ’s content and method (Lk. 6:40).[5] 
            Worthwhile Theology Magazine is proud to partner with the Moody Center for this special issue on “Leading Souls: Being and Making Disciples.” The following articles will address several of the practical nuances of discipleship, stewarding souls for the good life, and the historic examples made by Evangelist D.L. Moody. In the PDF version, it will include a devotional after each article. We hope and pray that these articles deepen your relationship with God and neighbor, thoughtfully attending to the two greatest commandments:

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.

-Matthew 22:37b-39

Your brother in Christ, 


Anderson Hultgren
Founder of Worthwhile Theology Magazine 

________________________

Footnotes:

            [1]  Michael D. Hammond, “Christian Higher Education in the United States: The Crisis of Evangelical Identity,” Christian Higher Education, vol. 18, nos. 12, 3-15 (2019), p. 12; “Evangelicalism organized around the Great Commission and the Greatest Commandment … a simple way to explain the meaning of evangelical.”
            [2] R.T. France, The Gospel of Matthew (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2007, Digital), 962; “The commission is expressed not in terms of the means, to proclaim the good news, but of the end, to ‘make disciples.’”
            [3] Ibid.; “The sentence structure is of a main verb in the imperative, “make disciples,” followed by two uncoordinated participles, “baptizing” and “teaching,” which spell out the process of making disciples … If the order of Matthew’s participles is meant to be noticed, he is here presenting a different model whereby baptism is the point of enrollment into a process of learning which is never complete; the Christian community is a school of learners at various stages of development rather than divided into the baptized (who have “arrived”) and those who are 'not yet ready.'"
            [4]  Miroslav Volf, Flourishing : Why We Need Religion in a Globalized World (Yale University Press, 2015), 38; “Christ’s great commission to the apostles to make disciples of all nations. Missionaries of world religions cross political and ethnic boundaries to call people everywhere to embrace the faith and to form transpolitical and transethnic religious ties. World religions establish networks that connect people on the basis of shared visions of the good life across the globe.”
            [5] R.T. France, The Gospel of Matthew, 964; “their duty of teaching derives from the authority of the risen Lord (v. 18). So they are to teach not their own ideas, but what Jesus has “commanded,” entellomai, a term which hitherto has been especially associated with the “commandments” (the cognate noun entolē; cf. 5:19; 15:3; 19:17; 22:36-40) given by God through Moses… To be a disciple is to obey Jesus’ teaching. But the presence of Jesus himself among his people (cf. 18:20) ensures that it is not simply a relationship of formal obedience. In context this assurance is focused not on the personal comfort of the individual disciple but on the successful completion of the mission entrusted to the community as a whole.”

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