Choosing Commissions

by Pastor Cornelius R. Stam

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How foolish and wrong it is for any of us to use “snatch-grab” methods, as Pastor J. C. O’Hair called them, in ascertaining our Lord’s will for us! What right have we to choose some particular segment or segments of our Lord’s instructions to the eleven in the forty days between His resurrection and ascension, and to apply only these to ourselves or to the Church today?

Nothing could be clearer than the fact that our Lord “showed Himself alive after His passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God” (Acts 1:3). In those forty days then, one Person, our Lord, spoke to eleven men, and gave instructions as to the program they were to carry out after His ascension. In every single case it is crystal clear that these commands were not directed to others, who were to live at some future date, but to the apostles, who were to commence to carry them out after His departure, when the Holy Spirit had endued them with power.

This is emphasized by the phraseology found in all five records of the so-called “Great Commission”: Matt. 28:19: “Go ye,” Mark 16:15: “Go ye,” Luke 24:48: “Ye are witnesses,” John 20:21: “So send I you,” and Acts 1:8: “Ye shall be witnesses.” How preposterous, then, to argue, as so many hard-pressed theologians have done, that one or more segments of the great commission are to be carried out by another generation at a later time!

By what rule of hermeneutics or logic have we the right to exclude from the interpretation of these commands the very persons to whom our Lord gave them, and if this commission is binding on the Church today, what authority have we to choose which part or parts we shall obey?

To the Reader:

Some of our Two Minutes articles were written many years ago by Pastor C. R. Stam for publication in newspapers. When many of these articles were later compiled in book form, Pastor Stam wrote this word of explanation in the Preface:

"It should be borne in mind that the newspaper column, Two Minutes With the Bible, has now been published for many years, so that local, national and international events are discussed as if they occurred only recently. Rather than rewrite or date such articles, we have left them just as they were when first published. This, we felt, would add to the interest, especially since our readers understand that they first appeared as newspaper articles."

To this we would add that the same is true for the articles written by others that we continue to add, on a regular basis, to the Two Minutes library. We hope that you'll agree that while some of the references in these articles are dated, the spiritual truths taught therein are timeless.


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