“Since the advent of Protestant missions, the dominant motivation for missions has been an appeal to the “missionary mandate.”  Thus, missions became a response of obedience to a particular set of commands, most notably those texts commonly referred to as embodying the Great Commission.  In contrast, Lesslie Newbigin has pointed out that in the New Testament we witness not the burden of obeying a command, but rather a vast “explosion of joy.”[1] Jürgen Moltmann described it as the joyous invitation to all peoples to come to a “feast without end.”[2]

Harry Boer in his Pentecost and Missions rightly points out that none of the key figures in the book of Acts ever makes a direct appeal to any of the Great Commission passages to justify their preaching, even when questions are raised about the emerging Gentile mission.  He further points out that the earliest believers who took the initiative to preach the gospel to Gentiles (Acts 11:20) were very likely not even present at any of those post-resurrection commissioning events.”

Read the rest of Tim Tennent’s fine post.