In a new position paper, the Evangelical Church in the Rhineland says the passage in the Gospel of Matthew known as the Great Commission — “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” — does not mean Christians must try to convert others to their faith. “A strategic mission to Islam or meeting Muslims to convert them threatens social peace and contradicts the spirit and mandate of Jesus Christ and is therefore to be firmly rejected,” the paper entitled “Pilgrim Fellowship and Witness in Dialogue with Muslims” argues....
This new approach to the Great Commission has come under criticism even from within Rudolph’s church. Comments about it on her blog are mostly negative. “This new understanding of mission … excludes the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It mixes up law and Gospel by arguing that a certain ethical behavior amounts to missionary work,” wrote one pastor.
Another mission official for the Rhineland church said the document seemed to give up the very idea of spreading the Christian faith. “I base my life on the fundamental truth of the Gospel,” Pastor Christoph Noetzel told the independent Christian news service Idea. “I’d like to do it in the future as well, without it being relativized by my church.”You can read it all here. . . Whether the issue will be reversed or quietly forgotten (the preferred method of churches dealing with something stupid they have said), liberal Christianity has always had a real problem with evangelization, evangelism, and outreach (did I cover all the terms?). The essential liberal fundamental truth is that there is no fundamental truth -- everything is relative, personal, and subjective. Such a faith cannot proselytize because it does not confess anything of substance that is true across the board and for all people.
Never mind that the Muslims are open to hearing the Gospel, that they ARE converting in substantial numbers, and that there are those who love them enough to speak to them the truth that endures forever. Among them our own Lutheran partners, the SELK, have taken up a forward position on bringing the Gospel to those who live in the prison of Muslim works righteousness and a law oriented religion that offers little to salve the guilt ridden soul, offer hope to people in trouble now, and rescue the prisoners from the chains of death.
Read about that story here. . . As you read, remember that liberal Christianity defends a diversity of truths, does not countenance evangelization, and does not believe that the Great Commission is not missional at all.
Time and time again we come face to face with a faith that calls itself Christian but eschews not only basic Christian doctrine but the call of Christ to go, proclaim, baptize, and teach. It replaces the Gospel with social advocacy and social justice and gets more excited about transgenders who feel marginalized than Muslims who are imprisoned in despair and desperately seeking the freedom that only Christ can give. There are no people so blind as those who will not see. Strangely in all of this, the confessional Lutherans are the missional ones. Perhaps it has been that way all along!