Here is a book that will refresh and challenge you. If you thought you knew all about the Great Commission of Jesus then think again.
Rose has given us a fascinating overview of the Biblical, historical and strategic perspectives of this vital command of our Saviour. Her turn of phrase is arresting at times and memorable as well. I loved - “The church is to be the highway.. of God’s blessings”. Take a look at “three dimensional teaching” – teaching not only by word, but lived out in active personal and communal demonstration.
The study from Matthew’s account of the Great Commission is the basis of the first section. This helps us to realise how Jesus is demonstrated to be King of the whole earth. It concludes by looking at the implications for individual Christians as well as for Christian communities.
The historical section provides intriguing examples of how churches down through the centuries variously interpreted the Commission and how successful they were in obeying it. We are shown how the churches engaged with the Roman world, often at great cost to individual Christians, and how later after the time of Constantine the churches allied themselves to the power of the state with predictable results.
The chapter entitled “Rebels – or heirs of the apostles” is a fascinating study of how the monasteries and different orders were the chief means by which the Scriptures could be preserved and copied. They produced preachers and teachers, and in some cases explained the Christian faith in the local languages. The best of the monasteries retained the missionary vision.
Later chapters document the way the Protestant missionary movement developed often in tension with the colonial powers of their time.
The final section is perhaps the most challenging in which Rose demonstrates what it means practically to be a disciple of Jesus in the world today. She also encourages western Christians to be far more open to learn from the churches around the world who think and do things differently.
Each chapter is opened by a number of well-chosen quotes from different sources, which prepare you for what is to follow. Similarly, each chapter concludes with several questions for reflection and discussion making the book ideal for personal or group study.
I commend this book enthusiastically to all disciples of Jesus who want to follow Him more closely.