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by Larry E.

Ball
A popular word today used to des- he pronounces the intended effect of this
cribe activist groups is the word agenda when he instructs his disciples
"agenda." An agenda is the goal or pur- "to teach them to observe all things
pose of an organization usually as it whatsoever I have commanded you."
to shape the political and social Christ is able to guarantee the
forces of its culture. Communism, for cess of his agenda because all authority
example, has an agenda of redistributing "has been given" unto Him. The tense
the wealth of nations through revolu- of the verb form here tells us that
tion. The Gay Rights movement has Christ had all authority as he spoke to
the agenda of changing attitudes towards His disciples. It is not something yet to
sodomy so that it will become accepted be given to Him. It "has been given."
as an alternate and normal lifestyle by ; Paul conflrms this in Ephesians 1:20-
the America people. 21 where he says, "when He raised Him
Sometimes groups which claim one from the dead, and seated Him at His
goal acwally have another one which is right hand in the heavenly places, far
called a "hidden agenda." The National above all rule, authority, power and do-
Education Association (NEA), which . minion, and every name that is named,
claims to be interested only in the educa- not only in. this age, but in the age to
' tion of our children, actually has a hid- come." Notice that his authority is
den agenda of promoting the religion of. simply more than a "heavenly" or
. Humanism and putting all education un- "spiritual" authority, but, as he says, it
der. the the control of the state. is a power over all that is "on the
, The word "agenda" is not a bad word earth."
. in itself as long as it merely describes Christ now sits at the right hand of .
. the goal of a group or organization. In God the Father, and all rule, authority,
light of this definition, one agen<J,a to . power, and dominion has been given
which all Christians should be commit- unto him. This includes both the pre-
. ted is that which we have traditionally . . seQt age in which we live, and the earth
called the "Great Commission." When on which we live. He truly is today the
Christ gav,e the Great Commission to, : King of kings and Lord of lords. For
his disciples, he set the agenda for all .this reason He taught us to pray in the
Christians. There is nothing hidden Lord's Prayer, "Thy will be done on
about this agenda. It is recorded in the . earth as it is in heaven." Communism,
Bible in the 28th chapter of the Gospel the Gay Rights movelhent, and the
of Matthew, and is open for all to read NEA, all have powerful forces backing
and study. It is indeed the "Unbidden them, but Christians, as they pursue
Agenda." the agenda of the Great Commission,
Notice how comprehensive the have the Son of God in all his array of
da of Christ is. He claims to possess .all sovereignty and power guaranteeing
authority so as to guarantee its success. their success.
He deflnes the scope of his agenda Christ alSo !)efines the scope as .all
which is to reach all the nations. Then, the nations. The use of the word
Larry Ball is
P.astor of the
Heights
Presb:f.!erian
Church (PCA) in
Kingsport,
Tennessee.
tion" in the Bible is similar to what it
is today. It includes more than just a
handful of the elect from every ethnic
gro\lp in the world as the typical Chris-
tian tends to view it. In the Scriptures
the word "nation" is used to describe
not only an ethnic people, but an ethnic
people as they live together in a
mon bond, which includes a common
language, common customs, geographi-
cal boundaries, political leaders, educa-
tional and military institutions, and
generally a common religion. Today,
for example, we speak of the nations of
Russia, Iran, and the United States.
They each have their own geographical
boundaries, unique languages, customs,
political systems, and dominant reli-
gions (variants of Humanism in both
Russia and the United States, and Mo-
hammedanism in Iran).
In the Scriptures nations were deflned
in terms of their kings (Jeremiah
50:41), the plans of their rulers (Psalm
2), geographical boundaries (Acts
17:26), c1ttes (Revelation 16:19),
common customs (Lev. 20:23), and a
common god whom they worshipped
(Jeremiah 2:11). The scope of the Great
Commission then is nothing less than
the cultural transformation of all the
nations of the world as they are defined
by their religions, political systems,
institutions, and customs.
Lastly, we see the intended effect is
the observance of "ml things,
ever I have commanded you." How is
this to be accomplished? Christ states
the method clearly, and we must not be
in error at this point. It is not to be
completed through military expansion
nor through simply capturing the
political parties of a nation. It cannot
come about through mere legislation,
because the force of law cannot change
the hearts of men. Although, as citizens .
and as Christians, we must be involved
in the political process, our hope does
not lie. merely in our involvement
Jesus uses two participles to describe
how we are to make disciples of the
nations. The first is "baptizing," and
the second is "teaching"--"baptizin2
them in the name of the Father and the
Son and the Holy Spirit, teachin2
them ... " (Matthew 29:19) The word
"baptizing" brings us back into the
realm of personal salvation. It sym-
bolizes the gospel as we respond to
Christ jn faith and repentance. Salva-
tion is first an individual and personal
experience. "Ye must be born again."
(John 3:7) It is through the work of
The Counsel of Chalcedon, January, 1989 13
the Trinitarian God, "the Father, the
Son, an(l the Holy . Spirit" that we be-
come Christians. Thus the agenda of
the Great Commission is founded upon
the gospel as it is preached unto the con
version of sinners.
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The second word that Jesus uses to
'describe the method to discip1e the
tions is "teaching." Once the lost be-
come believers, they must be taught. If
. we only get them saved and do not
teach them, then we have not carried
out the Grel;lt What are
we to teach them? To observe .all
things, whatsoever I have conun!lllded
you." OQce .we are justified by faith,
then we must be sanctified by the
Spirit. This includes, by the grace of
God; conforming our lives to the corn-
of Christ. The command-
ments of Christ are no less than the
cornman,dments of God. They are sum-
marized in the Ten Conunandrnents,
detailed in the Scriptw;es, and cornpre- .
hended in the Great Commandment "to
love God with all of our heart, mind
and soul, and our neighbors as our-
selves." As we do this, we will carry
our personal transfonnation into th.e
various of our lives and thus trans-'
fonn the culture in which we live.
This is the unhi(,f.den. agenc,la of
Christ, and must therefore be our agen-
da today. We must "occupy lUltil He
comes," "until the end when He delivers
up the kingdom to the God and Father,
when He abolished all rule and all
authority and power" through the gos- .
pel. "For He must reign until He bas
put all His enemies under his feet" (I
Corinthians
Cbrist wlll build His Church and the
gates of Hell will not. prevail against it.
Gates in the Bible are always symbolic
of a defensive postuJe. The Church will
be on the offensive and the defensive
gates of Hell will not prevail . against
the effects of the gospel of Jesus Christ
as Christians fulfill His unbidden agen-
da of capturing the nations for His ser-
vice.
The mOdern concept of pluralism
which is satisfied with the existence of
unbelievjng nations and co-existing reli-.
gions is a dishonor to the Christ who
sits upon His throne. It is a denial of
the Great commission, the "Unbidden
Agenda" of our Lord who conimands us
to go and capture the nations through
the gospel, encouraging us with "I will
be with you even to the end of the age."
' 0
The Counsel of Chalcedon, January; 1989