Takaaki Hara

There are two Greats in the Bible that Christians, particularly those of the evangelical persuasion, regularly refer to: the Great Commandment (Matt 22:34–40) and the Great Commission (Matt 28:18–20)[1]. As Douglas Small says, “The Great Commission is proclamation—what we tell them. But the Great Commandment is incarnation—what they see in our lives.”[2] He further observes:

The Great Commission operates on the continuum of truth, the Great Commandment on the continuum of love. If we have truth (the Great Commission) without love (the Great Commandment), we have no truth at all, only hollow sounds. If we have love without truth, we have only a sweet wrapping for a lie. Love without truth is deceptive, hypocritical, and unpredictable, and in the end not love at all. The message of Jesus is in the crosshairs of love and truth.


What is the relationship between the Great Commandment and the Great Commission? Are they of equal significance, or is one subservient to the other? The debate over this issue has persisted for some time. Christopher Little contends that evangelism is paramount for Christians while social action is not and even asserts that “word apart from deed is a perfectly legitimate expression of Christian mission.”[4] John Piper, on the other hand, claims that next to worship (which is an aspect of the Great Commandment), missions is the second greatest activity for Christ’s followers.[5] We will argue, however, that considering from a biblical perspective, the Great Commandment encompasses the Great Commission. In other words, however significant it may be, going and making disciples of all nations is an instance of loving God and our neighbor.

A proper understanding of the relationship between the Great Commandment and the Great Commission can be obtained when we realize that the latter is not simply a New Testament phenomenon but a mandate that runs through the entire Scriptures. Hence, we will first review the missionary mandate portrayed in the Old Testament. Missiological research of the past several decades has demonstrated that from the very beginning it was God’s desire that Israel should be a blessing and a light to the nations.[6] In other words, at the heart of the Bible we see that our God is a missionary God who has entrusted his people to take the gospel to all the families of the earth.[7] The missional heart of God is already manifested in Genesis 12:1–3 in that he chose Abraham and his descendants to bless all peoples on earth through them. What kind of blessing did he purpose to bestow on all the nations? In Galatians 3:8 the apostle Paul quotes Genesis 12:3 and expounds that the blessing intended here is the blessing of justification.[8] John Stott notes in this regard that “God’s attitude to his people is positive, constructive, enriching” and that “his principal and characteristic work is to bless people with salvation.”[9] Abraham and Israel were to be a blessing by actively communicating the blessing of salvation to the world.[10] However, it is through Jesus Christ, the Seed of Abraham, that God’s promised blessing would eventually overflow to all the nations of the earth. (Gen 22:18)
Israel’s missionary call becomes explicit in Exodus 19:4–6. Here, God declared to Moses that Israelites were to play a mediatorial role as royal priests in relation to the other nations. Unfortunately, Israel rejected this privilege and urged Moses to become their representative before the Lord. However, as we see in 1 Peter 2:9, the priesthood of all believers remained God’s plan and came to fruition in the New Testament period. Moreover, the apostle Peter elucidates in this passage the reason the Israelites and the Gentile believers are to be royal priests: it is to proclaim the excellencies of God.[11] This is nothing less than an active mission!
Next, let us take a look at Psalm 67. This psalm derives from the Aaronic benediction in Numbers 6:24–26. However, the psalmist replaced Yahweh (LORD), which is Israel’s covenantal name for God, with Elohim (God), which is the name used when God’s relationship to humanity is in mind.[12] This change is significant and reflects the global perspective of this psalm, for the psalmist’s intention is to associate God’s abundant blessing to Israel with all the ends of the earth. The psalmist’s heartfelt desire is that through God’s blessing of Israel, all the peoples of the earth may come to know him as well. Walter Kaiser notes in this regard that “the goodness of God to Israel was meant to be one of His ways of bringing all nations on earth to fear Him, i.e., to believe the coming Man of Promise, our Lord Jesus Christ.”[13]
Lastly, let us consider the well-known phrase “light to the nations” in Isaiah 49:6. It is notoriously difficult to identify who the Lord is addressing in this passage. Although this Servant is called “Israel” in Isaiah 49:3, the subsequent verse appears to be the words of an individual. Thus, “perhaps we do not have to decide between the ‘collective’ and the ‘individual’ interpretations. It may well be that Israel as a nation is called as the Servant of Yahweh, yet there may have been individuals at times who felt that they were to fulfill that call—for example, the prophet who wrote Isa. 49.”[14] Johannes Verkuyl interprets this Servant as referring to Israel and states that “chosen by God to become the special recipients of his mercy and justice, Israel now has the corresponding duty to live as the people of God among the other nations in order to show them his grace, mercy, justice, and liberating power.”[15] Note that the concept of presence in missions has deep roots in the Old Testament, and Israel’s mandate to be a light to the nations, is a prime example of it. That is, simply being a distinct people while living among others is one of the most suitable forms of witnessing.[16] Furthermore, Paul and Barnabas quoted Isaiah 49:6 when they declared to the Jewish people that they were turning from them to the Gentiles to preach the word of God (Acts 13:46–47). This indicates unequivocally that the apostles took this verse as a missionary mandate recorded in the Scripture.[17]

Now, let us turn to Matthew 22:34–40, the passage that contains the Great Commandment. The question that the expert of the law asked Jesus was, “Which is the greatest commandment in the Law (i.e., the Torah)?” Significantly, even though Jesus must have been familiar with the strong missional message in the Old Testament, he did not refer to Exodus 19:6 (you will be for me a kingdom of priests [royal priests]) but quoted Deuteronomy 6:5 and Leviticus 19:18 as the greatest commandments.[18] Moreover, “Jesus has expanded the definition of neighbor from ‘fellow Israelite’ (Lev. 19:18) to anyone in need (Luke 10:29–37) and even to one’s enemies (Matt. 5:44).”[19] One may wonder if Exodus 19:6 can qualify as a commandment. However, recall its intent explicated in 1 Peter 2:9: it is to proclaim the excellencies of God. Thus, there is an implicit command behind this verse and Jesus must have been fully aware what the role of royal priests actually entailed. After all, he is the Author of Torah.[20] Furthermore, Jesus declared that all the Law and the Prophets, which encompass not only commandments but also such passages as Exodus 19:6 and Isaiah 49:6, hang on these two commandments. Therefore, whether it is proper to call Exodus 19:6 a commandment or not, Jesus understood that Deuteronomy 6:5 and Leviticus 19:18 were the most important of all the Law and the Prophets. In other words, “these vertical (Godward) and horizontal (humanward) relationships sum up not just the Torah, or five books of Moses, but the whole of the Hebrew Scriptures (‘the law and the prophets’ [22:40]).”[21] Likewise, Paul declares in Romans 13:8–10 that if we love others, we have done all that the law demands, and James 2:8 affirms that Leviticus 19:18 is the royal or the most important law found in the Scriptures (cf. Gal 5:14).
We thus contend that the Great Commission delineated in the Old Testament, (being a blessing and a light to the nations and proclaiming the excellencies of God as royal priests), is subsumed by the Great Commandment. We further argue that since the same missionary mandate runs through the entire Scriptures, the Great Commission recorded in Matthew 28:18–20 can also be viewed as included in the Great Commandment.[22] That is, the commandments of God, which encompass the Great Commission, “find their coherence in the overriding principle of the double commandment to love.”[23] This is in fact not surprising, for the proper motivation for the Great Commission is a genuine love for God and others. Daniel Akin puts it this way:

The ultimate motivation for the Great Commission is love of God and a passion to be on mission with Him. After all, the Great Commission is His mission! But flowing out of love for God also will be a genuine love for people, something too many of us have lost somewhere along the way. The results have devastated our witness. If we do not love them, we have no right to expect them to listen. If we do not serve them, we have no reason to expect them to trust us. . . . If we love Jesus as we should, we will love sinners as we ought and pursue them as He did. We will not condemn them; that is the business of God. We will love them, serve them, and tell them of a Savior who cares for their soul. . . . The Great Commission and the Great Commandments—they always go hand in hand.[24]

As Akin rightly says, the Great Commission and the Great Commandment should always go hand in hand. This is the crux of holistic mission. According to Bryant Myers,

Holistic mission is a frame for mission that refuses the dichotomy between material and spiritual, between evangelism and social action, between loving God and loving neighbor.
Holistic mission is the life of Christians passionately pursuing their relationship with God by seeking to be more like Christ, and who, because of their life in Christ, are passionately sharing the good news that through Christ anyone can be restored to a loving relationship with God and can learn to love, not only their neighbor, but their enemy.[25]

However, we should take note that although we espouse holistic mission, we are not claiming that loving and caring for others is simply means to sharing the gospel with them.[26] Rather, we maintain that going out and making disciples is an indispensable aspect of loving God and our neighbor. They are not in competition. Mark Russell observes that, “evangelism is a means to the end of loving God as is social ministry. They are both a means to the end of loving others. Finally, they are both a means to the end of increasing the effectiveness of the other.”[27] The ministry of our Lord Jesus itself was an epitome of holistic mission, for he was tirelessly engaged in not only proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom but also meeting the physical needs of the people (Matt 4:23; 9:35).[28] Not only that, Jesus also taught his disciples to do the same (Luke 9:2; 10:9). Tony Campolo remarks in this regard that “we cannot live out the Great Commission until we first live out the Great Commandment. We all want to go out and preach the gospel to all nations, but we don’t want them to be our neighbors. They’ve got to be our neighbors before we can convince them about the Christ who died for them.”[29] In fact, genuinely loving and caring for others gives credibility to what we verbally share with them.[30] As Ralph Winter rightly observes, “The Bible as God’s Word would be little more than dreamy philosophy if it did not refer almost constantly to the deeds of God, the deeds of key human followers, and the deeds of His Son. In the same way, our missionary outreach must be filled with meaningful deeds or our words run thin and we do not reveal the character of God.”[31] Furthermore, regarding the Great Commission, Russell suggests that we should expand our understanding of evangelism beyond a verbal proclamation of the gospel, for “the goal of a verbal proclamation is to give knowledge of salvation. The goal of evangelism is transformation.”[32] That is, evangelism comprises not only a verbal proclamation of the gospel but also transformation of people’s lives, their cultures, and their societies[33]. As Winter poignantly observes, evangelicals seem to regard getting people saved as more important than all other ways of glorifying God.[34]
What does it mean to glorify God? According to Russell, “to glorify God means to love him and others as He does. This is why Jesus gave primacy to these commandments. The glory of God and the love of God are inseparable attributes.”[35] We thus redress the tendency of evangelicals to narrowly focus on getting more people saved by squarely considering what Jesus regarded as the greatest commandments. In this regard, it is also well to remember the words of Paul that if we do not have love, then we are nothing (1 Cor 13:1–3).
In fact, more and more evangelical Christians are recognizing the significance of holistic mission nowadays. According to Winter, the history of Protestant missions can be divided into three eras. The First Era (1800–1910) was initiated by William Carey and focused on both evangelism to the coastlands of the world and cultural transformation. John Wesley was a notable example of this era who was involved in Kingdom Mission (pressing for God’s will to be done on earth and thereby extending the Kingdom of God) as well as Church Mission (winning people into the Church and extending its membership). During the Second Era (1865–1980), however, a polarization emerged between those who were concerned about Church Mission alone and those who were eager for not only Church Mission but also Kingdom Mission. Hudson Taylor, who represented the Church Mission alone approach, began evangelizing the inland territories of China, while examples of Kingdom Mission included literacy work as well as doing away with cannibalism, foot binding, widow burning, and female infanticide. We are presently in the Third Era (1935 to present) during which we have not only discovered the need for Bible translation into tribal languages (owing to Cameron Townsend) and the significance of creating a “Christward movement” within a socially distinct people group (due to Donald McGavran) but also begun to see the heaven versus earth polarization gradually remedied.[36] This reality is reflected in the Lausanne Covenant of 1974:

We affirm that God is both the Creator and the Judge of all people. We therefore should share his concern for justice and reconciliation throughout human society and for the liberation of men and women from every kind of oppression. Because men and women are made in the image of God, every person, regardless of race, religion, colour, culture, class, sex or age, has an intrinsic dignity because of which he or she should be respected and served, not exploited. Here too we express penitence both for our neglect and for having sometimes regarded evangelism and social concern as mutually exclusive. Although reconciliation with other people is not reconciliation with God, nor is social action evangelism, nor is political liberation salvation, nevertheless we affirm that evangelism and socio-political involvement are both part of our Christian duty. For both are necessary expressions of our doctrines of God and man, our love for our neighbour and our obedience to Jesus Christ. The message of salvation implies also a message of judgment upon every form of alienation, oppression and discrimination, and we should not be afraid to denounce evil and injustice wherever they exist. When people receive Christ they are born again into his kingdom and must seek not only to exhibit but also to spread its righteousness in the midst of an unrighteous world. The salvation we claim should be transforming us in the totality of our personal and social responsibilities. Faith without works is dead.[37]

Currently, holistic mission prevails among poorer Christian communities in the Global South (Africa, Asia, and Latin America) where meeting the social needs of people is indispensable to Christian witness.[38]

We have seen so far that considering from the biblical perspective, the Great Commandment encompasses the Great Commission. In this section we will consider practical ministry applications that result from this perspective. First, note that as the apostle John says in 1 John 4:20–21, loving God and loving our neighbor are in essence one commandment.[39] Thus, we demonstrate our love for God by loving our neighbor. William Barclay observes in this regard:

Our love for God must issue in love for men. The only way in which a man can prove that he loves God is in fact by loving his fellow-men. But it is to be noted in which order the commandments come; it is love of God first, and love of man second. It is only when we love God that man becomes lovable. The Biblical teaching about man is not that man is a collection of chemical elements, not that man is part of the brute creation, but that man is made in the image of God (Genesis 1:26, 27). It is for that reason that man is lovable. . . . Take away the love of God and we can become angry at man the unteachable; we can become pessimistic about man the unimprovable; we can become callous to man the machine-minder. The basis of the love of man is firmly grounded in the love of God.[40]

As we love and serve those around us, we need to keep in mind the words of Barclay that it is only when we love God that people become lovable.
Second, research has shown that about 10 percent of Christians are naturally gifted in evangelism.[41] This is concurrent with the words of Paul that Christ made some to be evangelists (Eph 4:11). Even though some of us may not have a gift of evangelism, all followers of Christ are called to love. This is the characteristic that Jesus singled out for his disciples (John 13:34–35). Note also that as Russell points out, authentic evangelism can only take place in the context of genuinely caring for others:

Holistic mission is needed to “save” evangelism. To save it from being proselytism and save it from being ineffective. If we evangelize without loving the whole person then we are guilty of taking the most spectacular and beautiful story the world has ever known and announcing it with resounding gongs and clanging cymbals (1 Cor. 13:1).[42]

Furthermore, loving the whole person is not something we do in isolation. Rather, it ought to be done in the context of a community. Gilbert Bilezikian writes:

The first great commandment relates to the vertical dimension of the cross; it has to do with our relationship to God. The other great commandment pertains to the horizontal dimension of the cross; it concerns life in community. One piece of timber without the other does not make a cross. Conversely, neither of the two great commandments without the other fulfills the will of God. Genuine communion with God translates in active participation into the building of community. It is impossible to love God without loving our neighbor since, in the actual practice of love, our service to God can only find expression in our service to others.[43]

As the whole community of Christ followers cares for people in an authentic way, the message of the gospel of God’s grace will be apprehended most convincingly. This is in fact what I observe time and time again at a youth hostel ministry I am engaged in. All the managers and staff at our Christian hostels in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, are committed believers with a desire to share the gospel with others. On top of the managers and staff, we also have housekeepers who stay at the hostels in exchange for room and board. The majority of these housekeepers are not Christ followers yet, and a great many of them are broken inside and have come to Amsterdam in search for something.[44] We share the gospel with the housekeepers at devotions every morning. However, what touches their heart most is often the joy, love, and peace that they see among the staff when they interact with them personally. As the housekeepers live in an authentic Christian community, they feel accepted, loved, and valued. In that whole environment the message of God loving and pursuing them and desiring to heal their brokenness and forgive their sin through Christ begins to make sense. Thus, a man from Poland recalls:

In 2004 a friend brought me to the Shelter. There I began to feel alive again. The peaceful atmosphere of the Shelter and the staff encouraged me to start reading the Bible. There I found many answers to my most troubling questions. I also started working as a cleaner.
Being among such nice people and through joining the daily Bible discussions, I realized that this longing for God and my separation from Him were the cause of all my worries, anxieties and failures. I realized that I needed to create “space” for God.

Likewise, a refugee couple from Iran writes:

A refugee organization helped us and sent us to the Shelter. After a few days we felt something different. The Christian volunteers spoke with us about a relationship with God. We experienced real love, and Jesus came into our lives. In those days, we read the Bible and went to a multicultural church in Amsterdam. There we came to believe in Jesus as our Saviour and got baptized.

Jimmy Long observes in this regard that postmodern generations experience a two-stage conversion:

Many people with a postmodern mindset experience a two-stage conversion. First, the person becomes converted to the community, which may be a small group or a larger community. Over a period of time, the seeker begins to identify with the community and feels a sense of belonging. At this point the seeker may be a member of the community without having made a commitment to Christ. . . . That commitment may form over a period of time or may take place at a specific moment. Past evangelistic efforts centered primarily on a “point-in-time” conversion process. In the postmodern world more people commit to Christ over a period of time.[45]

Note that both the Polish man and the Iranian couple in the above examples first experienced the love of Christ through the staff of a Christian community and subsequently came to have faith in Christ. Rick Richardson aptly summarizes what we are discussing in these terms:

Pre-Christians today go through a process. They are befriended, accepted, loved. Their soul is then awakened to its existence, to its spiritual hunger and to the possibility of Jesus. They join an attractive community to experience love and to explore and experience God. The gospel addresses their hurt and their sin and their longing for identity and a sense of self, and they convert their faith. The Spirit then begins to transform them from the inside out.[46]

The strength of a Christian community centered on genuine love is that though some may not be verbally sharing the gospel with others on a frequent basis, they are nonetheless invaluable in creating a loving and caring atmosphere where the Spirit of God moves and touches people’s lives. As St. Francis of Assisi reportedly said, we are to “preach the gospel at all times, and if necessary, use words.” Needless to say, there ought to also be people in such a Christian community who will authentically share the hope they possess with others, for faith comes from hearing the Good News about Christ (Rom 10:17). After all, “the most loving thing we can do for people is to introduce them to Christ.”[47] Nevertheless, it is well to remember that when the Good Samaritan saw a traveler lying on the road wounded and half dead, he did not start telling his theological convictions to the man. Rather, deeply moved with compassion, he cared for him and brought him to an inn. He even paid all expenses for him. And our Lord said, “Go and do likewise” (Luke 10:25–37). Let us go and do likewise.


[1] The Great Commandment is also mentioned in Mark 12:28–34 while the Great Commission appears in Mark 16:15, Luke 24:46–47, John 20:19–22, and Acts 1:4–8 as well.
[2] P. Douglas Small, “The Great Commitment: Prayer and the Great Commission,” in The Great Commission Connection, ed. Raymond F. Culpepper (Cleveland, TN: Pathway Press, 2011), 181-82.
[3] Ibid., 182.
[4]Christopher Little, “What Makes Mission Christian?” International Journal of Frontier Missiology 25 (2008): 67.
[5]John Piper, “Let the Nations Be Glad!” in Perspectives on the World Christian Movement: A Reader, 4th ed., ed. Ralph D. Winter and Steven C. Hawthorne (Pasadena, CA: William Carey Library, 2009), 64-65.
[6]Christopher Wright has a divergent view on this issue. He argues that though there is a strong missional message in the Old Testament, we fail to find a clear command for Israelites to go to the nations and exercise the priestly function there. Nor do we find explicit condemnation in the prophets for their failure to take the message of salvation to the nations by literally going to them. Note, however, that as Wright admits as an exception, Jonah was explicitly told to go to the great city of Nineveh by the Lord (Jonah 1:2; 3:2). Johannes Verkuyl observes in this regard that the same Greek word poreuomai “go” is used both here in the Septuagint translation and in the Great Commission recorded in Matthew 28:18–20. See Christopher J. H. Wright, The Mission of God: Unlocking the Bible’s Grand Narrative (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2006), 501-05 and Johannes Verkuyl, “The Biblical Foundation for the Worldwide Mission Mandate,” in Perspectives on the World Christian Movement: A Reader, 4th ed., ed. Ralph D. Winter and Steven C. Hawthorne (Pasadena, CA: William Carey Library, 2009), 46.
[7]John R. W. Stott, “The Living God is a Missionary God,” in Perspectives on the World Christian Movement: A Reader, 4th ed., ed. Ralph D. Winter and Steven C. Hawthorne (Pasadena, CA: William Carey Library, 2009), 9.
[8]Ibid., 8.
[9]Ibid., 9.
[10]Walter C. Kaiser, “Israel’s Missionary Call,” in Perspectives on the World Christian Movement: A Reader, 4th ed., ed. Ralph D. Winter and Steven C. Hawthorne (Pasadena, CA: William Carey Library, 2009), 12.
[11]Ibid., 14.
[12]Ibid., 14-15.
[13]Ibid., 16.
[14]Peter Balla, “2 Corinthians,” in Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament, ed. G. K. Beale and D. A. Carson (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2007), 767.
[15]Verkuyl, “The Biblical Foundation for the Worldwide Mission Mandate,” 44.
[17]Robert Duncan Culver, A Greater Commission: The Broad Range of the Scriptural Mandate for World Evangelism (Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock Publishers, 2001), 125.
[18]Kaiser notes that “kings and priests,” “kingly priests,” or “royal priests” is a better translation than “kingdom of priests” as in many versions. See Kaiser, “Israel’s Missionary Call,” 13.
[19]Robert H. Mounce, Matthew, New International Biblical Commentary 1 (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 1991), 210.
[20]Bruce K. Waltke, An Old Testament Theology: An Exegetical, Canonical, and Thematic Approach (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2007), 560.
[21]Craig L. Blomberg, “Matthew,” in Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament, ed. G. K. Beale and D. A. Carson (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2007), 80.
[22]Donald McGavran maintains that “‘rightness’—a true and sound proportion in our labors—must be decided according to biblical principles in the light of God’s revealed will.” We concur with the question of priorities though we have come to a somewhat different conclusion from McGavran’s assertion that the priority of world evangelization takes precedence over everything else. According to biblical principles in the light of God’s revealed will, we claim that the Great Commandment encompasses the Great Commission. Dave Earley and Rod Dempsey also argue for the utmost significance of the Great Commission based on the fact that it was among the last words of Jesus spoken to his disciples before his ascension. That is, “as His last words, they eloquently express His greatest passion and top priority.” Note, however, that by placing too much emphasis on the last words of Jesus before his ascension, they are perhaps unwittingly in danger of downplaying the significance of the rest of the New Testament. As we have seen, both Paul and James affirm that the most important law in the Scriptures is to love others as much as we love ourselves. Moreover, the fact that Jesus’ last words concerned the Great Commission presumably has to do with the disciples’ subsequent reception of the Holy Spirit, without whom they lacked the power to proclaim and confirm the message of salvation (Luke 24:49; Acts 1:8). See Donald A. McGavran, Understanding Church Growth, 3rd ed., rev. and ed. C. Peter Wagner (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans, 1990), 21 and Dave Earley and Rod Dempsey, Disciple Making Is . . .: How to Live the Great Commission with Passion and Confidence (Nashville, TN: B & H Publishing Group, 2013), 2.
[23]R. T. France, The Gospel according to Matthew: An Introduction and Commentary, The Tyndale New Testament Commentaries (Leicester: Inter-Varsity Press, 1985), 320.
[24]Daniel L. Akin, “Axioms for a Great Commission Resurgence,” in The Great Commission Resurgence: Fulfilling God’s Mandate in Our Time, ed. Chuck Lawless and Adam W. Greenway (Nashville, TN: B & H Publishing Group, 2010), 349-50.
[25]Bryant Myers, “Another Look at ‘Holistic Mission’: A Response,” Evangelical Missions Quarterly 35 (1999): 285-87,
[26]It is nonetheless true that deeds of kindness do draw people’s attention and often prompt them to ask questions. See Steve Sjogren, Conspiracy of Kindness: A Unique Approach to Sharing the Love of Jesus, 2nd ed. (Ventura, CA: Regal, 2003), 11.
[27]Mark Russell, “Christian Mission is Holistic,” International Journal of Frontier Missiology 25 (2008): 95.
[28]Ronald Sider notes that “preaching and ministering to physical needs are both central in Jesus’ life and work. He preached and healed. He satisfied both sick hearts and sick bodies. A vast amount of space in the Gospels is devoted to accounts of Jesus taking care of people’s physical needs. God-in-the-flesh thought he could spare—or rather ought to spare—a great deal of his potential preaching time and devote it to meeting the physical needs of people. Should we not follow in his steps?” See Ronald J. Sider, Evangelism and Social Action: Uniting the Church to Heal a Lost and Broken World (London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1993), 145.
[29]Tony Campolo, “It’s Friday, but Sunday’s Comin’,” in The Greatest Sermons Ever Preached, comp. Tracey D. Lawrence (Nashville, TN: W Publishing Group, 2005), 12.
[30]Russell points out that “social ministry is not an obstacle to evangelism, rather an integral part of and a significant enhancement to it.” See Russell, “Christian Mission is Holistic,” 96.
[31]Ralph D. Winter, “Three Mission Eras: And the Loss and Recovery of Kingdom Mission, 1800–2000,” in Perspectives on the World Christian Movement: A Reader, 4th ed., ed. Ralph D. Winter and Steven C. Hawthorne (Pasadena, CA: William Carey Library, 2009), 277-78.
[32]Russell, “Christian Mission is Holistic,” 94.
[33]From a somewhat different standpoint, Stott argues that “‘mission’ is the loving service which God sends his people into the world to render. It includes both evangelism and social action, for each is in itself an authentic expression of love and neither needs the other to justify it.” Winter likewise contends that the Great Commission includes both Church Mission and Kingdom Mission. See John R. W. Stott, Christian Mission in the Modern World (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1975), 115 and Winter, “Three Mission Eras,” 264.
[34]Winter, “Three Mission Eras,” 263.
[35]Russell, “Christian Mission is Holistic,” 95.
[36]Winter, “Three Mission Eras,” 264-77.
[37]John Stott, The Lausanne Covenant: Complete Text with Study Guide (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 2009), 28.
[38]Todd Johnson and Sandra S. K. Lee, “From Western Christendom to Global Christianity,” in Perspectives on the World Christian Movement: A Reader, 4th ed., ed. Ralph D. Winter and Steven C. Hawthorne (Pasadena, CA: William Carey Library, 2009), 390.
[39]Russell, “Christian Mission is Holistic,” 95.
[40]William Barclay, The Gospel of Matthew: Volume Two—Chapters XI to XXVIII, 2nd ed., The Daily Study Bible (Edinburgh: The Saint Andrew Press, 1958), 307-08.
[41]Sjogren, Conspiracy of Kindness, xii.
[42]Russell, “Christian Mission is Holistic,” 96.
[43]Gilbert Bilezikian, Community 101: Reclaiming the Local Church as Community of Oneness (Grand Rapids, MI: ZondervanPublishingHouse, 1997), 34-35.
[44]Roger Greenway observes that those who are recently dislocated and undergoing major changes in their lives are likely to be more open to the gospel. If that is the case, ministering to recent migrants to cities provides us with great opportunities for sharing the gospel. Greenway also reminds us that in many cities, more than one third of the population is desperately poor and that urban mission work demands a comprehensive strategy that demonstrates the gospel of God’s love in practical ways. See Roger S. Greenway, “The Challenge of the Cities,” in Perspectives on the World Christian Movement: A Reader, 4th ed., ed. Ralph D. Winter and Steven C. Hawthorne (Pasadena, CA: William Carey Library, 2009), 560-61.
[45]Jimmy Long, Emerging Hope: A Strategy for Reaching Postmodern Generations, 2nd ed. (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2004), 220.
[46]Rick Richardson, Evangelism outside the Box: New Ways to Help People Experience the Good News (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2000), 60.
[47]J. Mack Stiles, Speaking of Jesus: How to Tell Your Friends the Best News They Will Ever Hear (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1995), 52


Dr. Takaaki Hara is engaged in cross-cultural mission at the Shelter Youth Hostel Ministry, Amsterdam, the Netherlands. He received his Ph.D. in Linguistics from Utrecht University, the Netherlands in 1998 and MPhil in Linguistics from University of Oxford, U.K. Most of his published work are in linguistics such as: ‘Bound Variable Interpretation and the Degree of Accessibility’, ‘Anaphoric Expressions in Japanese’ and ‘Bound Variables in Japanese’. He is residing in Utrecht, the Netherlands.

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