The Exclusive Missional Nature of the Church
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This DEdMin thesis identifies those missional tasks that are exclusively the responsibility of the local church. The church is first and foremost a visible gathering with a visible ministry. As such, the church is God’s chosen instrument to respond to the Great Commission. Chapter 2 focuses on the significance of Matthew 16:13-19 and the promise made to Peter that Christ will build His church. This promise is essentially a visible, structured gathering of believers who, with all its imperfections, remains the inescapable instrument designed to proclaim and carry the gospel to the uttermost. Chapter 3 demonstrates that the church is uniquely qualified and equipped to guard, defend, and proclaim the truth. The church, as the pillar of truth, preserves the theological integrity of the mission. This chapter focuses on Paul’s first letter to Timothy where he instructs Timothy on how to establish elders that will be tasked, amongst other things, to teach the truth and guard the church from error. Chapter 4 focuses on the Matthew 28:19-20 Great Commission where the disciples are instructed to go and make disciples of every nation. The chapter looks at the one mandate—make disciples—with three supporting commands of going, baptizing, and teaching. The chapter demonstrates that only the visible gathering of believers is equipped to fulfill the Great Commission. Chapter 5 takes the lessons learned regarding the exclusivity of the church in missions and develops from there a healthy missional model to be implemented in the local church. Healthy is used to describe that which aligns itself with the exclusivity of the church explained in chapters 2-4. A church’s missional program, a missionary, or a paramissional organization is considered healthy to the extent that it aligns itself with the exclusive nature of the church in fulfilling the Great Commission.