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Great Commission is blueprint for church’s work, pastor says

WAKE FOREST, N.C. (BP)–When Jesus met with his disciples on an unnamed mountain some 40 days after his resurrection, he “had a word that has changed and shaped the course of history,” Dwight McKissic said.

That word, commonly called the Great Commission, presents a blueprint for how the church is to do its work, said McKissic, pastor of Cornerstone Baptist Church in Arlington, Texas, to students at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary at a chapel service Sept. 18, on the Wake Forest, N.C., campus.

Speaking without a microphone because of a power outage, McKissic laid out that blueprint and encouraged the students to put it into practice when they are charged with shepherding the people of God as pastors, missionaries or church leaders.

Southeastern President Paige Patterson invited McKissic to speak at the school’s chapel service after reading about his “courageous” stand on biblical inerrancy. In a much-publicized meeting of the Baptist General Convention of Texas in 2001, McKissic — then a member of the group’s executive board — asked for a resolution affirming the inerrancy of the original manuscripts of the Bible. His request was met with opposition from virtually the entire board, prompting McKissic to lead his 1,200-member church out of the BGCT and into sole affiliation with the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention, a new state convention.

McKissic said there are three parts of Matthew 28:16-20 which should serve as a pattern for ministry: the place of meeting, the people who came to the meeting and the purpose of the meeting.

McKissic noted how many historic and significant biblical events took place on mountains or hilltops: the giving of the Decalogue to Moses, the near-sacrifice of Isaac by Abraham, the fight between Elijah and Baal’s prophets and, most importantly, the death of Christ.

Similarly, Jesus gathered his disciples on a mountain in Galilee to issue them a charge before his ascension. It was the place, he said, where the disciples heard from God.

“We all need a place to meet with God,” McKissic said. “We all need our Galilee.”

The Great Commission, McKissic noted, was especially given to the 11 remaining disciples. The Bible describes them as “unlearned men” — but they had gathered at the feet of Jesus, he said.

“We’re really no good to people until we spend ample and significant time with God,” he preached. “I like the idea that God uses ordinary folks to do the work that he has called us to do.”

And the purpose of the meeting with Jesus recorded in Matthew 28, McKissic said, was to give the church its marching orders until he returned again.

The church, McKissic reminded the students, belongs to Jesus, not to pastors; Christ purchased it with his blood, and pastors have the responsibility to remain faithful to his commands.

“We cannot compromise our biblical beliefs and our commitment to a triune God,” McKissic said, in fulfilling the threefold command Christ gave: to make disciples, to mark disciples and to mature disciples through evangelism, believer’s baptism and discipleship.
(BP) photo posted in the BP Photo Library at http://www.bpnews.net. Photo title: DWIGHT McKISSIC.

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  • Jason Hall