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Tuesday, July 25, 2006

"Go-And-Make" vs. "Follow Me."

Kevin Twit sent me a link to a powerful Christianity Today interview with Rt. Rev. Dr. David Zac Niringiye, assistant bishop of Kampala in the Church of Uganda. In it, he addresses how American Christians, who are at the center of power, often get the church's call wrong. I agree.

What could equip us to be more countercultural, living in a nation that is very much at the center of power?

We need to begin to read the Bible differently. Americans have been preoccupied with the end of the Gospel of Matthew, the Great Commission: "Go and make." I call them go-and-make missionaries. These are the go-and-fix-it people. The go-and-make people are those who act like it's all in our power, and all we have to do is "finish the task." They love that passage! But when read from the center of power, that passage simply reinforces the illusion that it's about us, that we are in charge.

I would like to suggest a new favorite passage, the Great Invitation. It's what we find if we read from the beginning of the Gospels rather than the end. Jesus says, "Come, follow me. I will make you fishers of men." Not "Go and make," but "I will make you." It's all about Jesus. And do you know the last words of Jesus to Peter, in John 21? "Follow me." The last words of Simon Peter's encounter are the same as the first words.

I am a go-and-fix-it person, and part of my coming alive to the Gospel in college was realizing I need Jesus to make me, not me make something -- anything -- for myself.

If you have a heart for Africa (or need one), it's worth reading the rest of the interview.


Anonymous Katherine said...

Great, convicting post! It reminded me of my pastor's sermon this past Sunday where he emphasized the fact that we are merely changed people offering peace terms to the world. Thank you for sharing this article.

3:33 PM


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