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Gospel Commission, The: Recovering God's Strategy for Making Disciples Hardcover – April 1, 2011

4.5 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

Whose kingdom are we building? God's? Or our own?

"A rigorous yet accessible exegesis of both the Great Commission and contemporary Western culture. Today's evangelicals all too often retreat from mission in light of social pressures or rush forward with a faulty missionary enterprise that is untethered from theology, unconcerned with discipleship, and obsessed with quantifiable results. Against this backdrop, Horton calls us to recover a biblical understanding of mission and restore its centrality in the life of the church. The Gospel Commission is filled with both penetrating analysis and pastoral guidance, and I recommend it enthusiastically."--Doug Birdsall, chair, Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization

"Writing from the perspective of one who for more than fifty years has been involved in helping people in Africa know God through Bible study and acts of mercy, this book on missions by Michael Horton is the most comprehensive, helpful, and encouraging I have ever read. All mission sending agencies and their long and short-term missionaries should read it. It will be required reading for Rafiki's missionaries and should be read by anyone who wants to participate in Christ's great commission."--Rosemary Jensen, founder and president, Rafiki Foundation, Inc.

From the Back Cover

Are we really fulfilling Jesus's final command?

Many churches in America today want to be powerful, relevant, and influential in personal and social transformation. A plethora of programs for outreach, discipleship, and spiritual disciplines are available at any bookstore and on countless websites. Yet what we need most is a renewed understanding of and commitment to the Great Commission. We assume that we already know the nature of this commission and the appropriate methods of carrying it out.

But Michael Horton contends that it too often becomes our mission instead of God's. At a time when churches are zealously engaged in creating mission statements and strategic plans, he argues that we must ask ourselves anew whether we are ambassadors, following the script we've been given, or building our own kingdoms with our own blueprint.

Pastors and church leaders will value this frank and hopeful next-step exploration of the Great Commission as a call to renewed understanding and good practice.

"Mike Horton has written the best book I've ever read on the Great Commission. Mike demonstrates in delectably deep and down-to-earth ways that no matter how hard we try or how 'radical' we get, any engine smaller than the gospel that we depend on for power to do what God has called us to do--most importantly, the Great Commission--will conk out."--Tullian Tchividjian, senior pastor, Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church; author, Surprised by Grace: God's Relentless Pursuit of Rebels

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Baker Books (April 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0801013895
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801013898
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 5.9 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,189,695 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Shane Lems VINE VOICE on March 21, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Michael Horton's "The Gospel Commission" is the follow up to his earlier books "Christless Christianity: The Alternative Gospel of the American Church" and "The Gospel-Driven Life: Being Good News People in a Bad News World." In those first two books, Horton pointed out the many weaknesses in the American church and also offered a way forward: getting back to the main truths of Christianity, centered around the person and work of Jesus. In this third book, Horton specifically discusses the Great Commission (GC) and what it has to do with Christ's church.

The subtitle of the book reveals a summary of its contents: "Recovering God's Strategy for Making Disciples." The book might be considered as a detailed commentary on the GC (Matt. 28:19ff) as it applies to Christian churches and Christians in those churches. I appreciated it because Horton used other parts of Scripture to explain the meaning of the GC for us today. In fact, the whole first section includes the OT background of the GC; it is essentially a biblical-theological discussion of the GC.

In the second part of the book, Horton deals with the GC itself in more depth. He gives the historical context of the GC and notes that the church has no business tweaking the GC or updating it for her purposes. Here Horton also talks about contextualization by gently critiquing the "incarnational" model of mission. This part of the book also illustrates how churches from all over the world can greatly help each other move forward theologically.
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Format: Hardcover
I've been thinking a lot about the purpose of the church. In particular, I've been thinking about what Michael Horton calls mission creep: the expansion of a mission beyond its original goals. Does the church have a specific mission? If so, what is it, and how free are we to add good things to what a church is doing?

Horton's book Gospel Commission, The: Recovering God's Strategy for Making Disciplesarrived the day before a meeting of our elders to consider the purpose of the big-c Church. It couldn't have come at a better time. This is not an abstract issue. It's the very issue that we're facing.

Horton argues that we need to return to our central mission, the Great Commission. "I believe that in our passion for relevance," he writes, "we are subordinating the strategies that Christ has promised to bless to our own action plans." Horton believes that the Great Commission provides the church with its message (the announcement of Christ's authority), its mission (to proclaim the gospel and make disciples), and its methods (baptism and Word ministry). We're not free to pick our mission and then choose our own methods, Horton argues. Christ has prescribed how we're to go about carrying out his mission.

Here's where it gets controversial. "Christians are called to do many things that the church is not called to do." In other words, the church is called to focus on its mission of making disciples, but it is not called to do everything that individual Christians are called to do. For instance: "What I am suggesting is that there are myriad causes that are good, bad, and indifferent for which the church has no special competence or commission.
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Format: Hardcover
What is the mission of the Church? Depending on who you ask, you're likely to hear answers that address various aspects of social and personal transformation. Some will say that we as Christians are to care for the poor, to love our neighbors as ourselves, and to be salt and light in the world.

And all of these are true. But what is the mission of the Church specifically?

Before He ascended into heaven, Jesus provided the answer to this question when he said to His followers, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 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" (Matt. 28:18-20).

The mission of the Church is to make disciples. But is it possible that we've gotten a bit off-track? Are we actually making disciples--or are we doing something else? In his new book, The Gospel Commission: Recovering God's Strategy for Making Disciples, Michael Horton offers a careful biblical and pastoral examination of the Great Commission, offering many helpful insights into how the Church can move forward in its role.

This book marks the culmination of a work that Horton began with Christless Christianity and The Gospel-Driven Life. Where those books necessarily spent a great deal of time dealing with the very serious errors that have crept into the Church, the vast majority of The Gospel Commission is decidedly more positive. Following the structure of Matt. 28:18-20, Horton bookends this work with the two great promises of this verse:

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