Challenge Church Commission Essay God Great Local Mandate

There are no weekly gatherings of people with driver’s licenses.

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Their earliest collaboration followed the framing of Virginia’s state constitution in 1776, which exempted dissenters like the Baptists from paying taxes to support the Anglican clergy.

That did not go far enough to satisfy Jefferson, so in 1779 he presented a bill to the state legislature guaranteeing full religious liberty to all Virginians—not merely tax exemptions to non-Anglicans—only to meet with resistance from those who deemed his measure too radical.

Among them was Patrick Henry, who countered by proposing a “general assessment” on all citizens to support Christianity itself as the established religion of Virginia.

“What we have to do I think is devoutly to pray for his [Henry’s] death,” Jefferson joked in a letter to Madison.

And they should keep reading their Bibles and learning. There are a number of things we might say in response to the DMV version of the Great Commission.

First, it ignores what the apostles actually did after Jesus ascended.When the DMV gives you a driver’s license, you have the ability to drive wherever you want.They give you the responsibility, and then you are on your own.There are no driver’s-license pastors or shepherds whose work is to make sure you are growing in your understanding of motor vehicle safety.Strangely, this is how some Christians hear Jesus’s Great Commission.But this episode struck a nerve, prompting the young gentleman to condemn what he called the “diabolical, hell-conceived principle of persecution.” Perhaps that was because it occurred close to his family’s plantation, or perhaps, because the young man had recently graduated from Princeton, where he had been steeped in enlightened learning, including the ideas of John Locke.Whatever the reason, the imprisonment of local Baptists marked a turning point in the life of James Madison.Did the apostles primarily fulfill the Great Commission through individual evangelizing and discipling only?The command to make disciples certainly involves telling the message. Consider the story of the gospel’s spread in the book of Acts. Churches are at the center of God’s Great Commission plan. The point is, in the New Testament, the Christian life is the churched life.It turns out that the story of the gospel’s spread is the story of the spread of churches. Our discipleship to Christ occurs in and through churches.It all begins in Jerusalem, and then the story moves outward. That means the missionary mandate is not complete until new believers are settled in local congregations. O’Brien offers a wonderful summary of how Paul understood the Christian’s basic commission.


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