“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” (Matthew 28:18-20a NIV)
This is the last thing that Jesus said before leaving earth. This commandment is known as the Great Commission.
This commandment gives Christians a simple blueprint of what the universal Church is supposed to be doing until Jesus returns.
I don’t see anything in those instructions about division, do you?
I see “go and make disciples,” that is “followers.”
I see “all nations,” which means that following Christ is a greater priority than differences in cultural background.
I see “baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” Jesus is reminding us that it is the Holy Trinity that we are following, not a captivating church leader.
I also see “teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” “Everything” means EVERYTHING, not just the parts that make you comfortable, fit your political agenda or don’t require you to give something up. This commandment leaves no room for doctrinal division, as the Church has clearly been commanded to simply teach obedience to that which Jesus has already taught.
With this commandment, Jesus did away with all of the legalistic rules that the Pharisees had appended to God’s law to maintain power and control over the Jews.
Furthermore, with the divine authority that only He could have as the risen Son of God, he brought the world the only teachings that we would ever need to effectively follow Him back to God the Father, by the power and leading of the promised Holy Spirit.
In other words, the Great Commission formally put an end to religion.
Except that religion didn’t go away like it was supposed to.
(What happened? Come back for Part 2–Denominations)