I know lots of Christians. Most of them believe in Christ. And most of those take seriously Jesus’ last will: “As you go about, therefore, make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and teaching them all I commanded, and take this in: I will be with you unto the end of the age.”
So, to my Christian friends in this age, I say, the church has her work cut out. There are many issues facing the contemporary church in fulfilling the great commission. Going to make disciples in North America and Europe is not as easy as it used to be. One meets with rank materialism, hyper-sexuality, and strident individualism both out and inside of the church walls. Folks have a more difficult time giving up their cozy lives for a life of sacrifice. In the Global South, one finds eager missionaries who are met with closed borders and often are ill equipped for the task.
Baptism in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit meets with suspicion in Post Christendom Europe and North America. A cynical populace feels justified by the Church’s crimes against humanity and the pressures of a growing pluralistic context. Also, in many areas of the Global South, baptism in the name of the Trinity meets against a host of religions, which either seek to swallow up Christ in what seems to Christians like the pantheon of yoga, the abyss of moksha, or the triumphalism of sharia. Syncretism remains a deep issue.
Teaching all to obey everything that Jesus taught remains a challenge in a relativistic North American and European Culture. And in the global south, there is a double issue where leaders who promote indigenous Christianities fail to listen to the Western torchbearers of Christian theology while traditional torchbearers remain hardened to new indigenous readings of orthodox Christianity.
If Christians are going to take Jesus’ last will seriously, which they should if they believe it, they are going to need a lot of good communication with one another and a practical faith, which reminds them at every turn that their Lord is with them even in this uncertain age.