26 August 2008

Commands and promises

Lots of people argue that "Be fruitful and multiply" doesn't mean "keep that uterus occupied until it falls out on its own." Wow, thanks for being so understanding. Ok, ok, positive commands can be hard to quantify.

Or, wait--do we really think that? Do we ever argue about whether the Great Commission is command or promise? Is a pastor faithful if he says upon being installed at a parish, "My congregation and I will go into all the world once we've had some time together to get to know each other"? Can he say, "My ministry has been fruitful; I'm going to focus on the disciples I have and not baptize and teach any more"?

In this Ablaze!ing day and age, you'd get tarred and feathered for saying that pastors and the parishes to which they are wed should pace themselves when it comes to the Great Commission, not make more disciples than they can handle, have some fun together before they get down to the serious business of evangelism, go easy on an overextended and underhanded congregation. We all know the cost of discipleship is high, and that includes the start-up fees. But the costs don't excuse us from it.

So why does any Christian give another guff for making disciples the old-fashioned way? Does our theology and practice of Matthew 28:19-20 tell us anything about Genesis 1:28?

8 comments:

Liz said...

Unfortunately, we spend so much time arguing about the "well what if the health/life of the mother" that we forget *most* people don't have to deal with such circumstances.

Rebekah said...

Indeed. And anybody who wants can think herself into being a hard case.

Reb. Mary said...

Well-said and well-timed. I was about due for another realignment on the topic...all that guff can get my backbone out of whack, or at least can leave me feeling apologetic in the simpering sense rather than the giving-a-reason sense.

Rebekah said...

Simpering, tell me about it. :P I just don't know what to say when people make their stupid comments. We seriously need to come up with a game plan for this.

Joy said...

Hi all, LCMS pastor's wife here. "Be fruitful and multiply", while not a commandment, is a gracious invitation. If we believe that life comes from God, that children are the Lord's inheritance, and trust His perfect timing and provision, why wouldn't we accept the invite? (Of course, if you know that a pregnancy would jeopardize your health or the life of the fetus, that's a whole 'nother issue!)

Rebekah said...

Like worms, do ya, Joy? ;) You stick around with that open can and we'll talk.

Joy said...

See comment under Ecological Breastfeeding. ;-) I got in a debate with a Catholic once who heralded the praises of NFP... won't do that again. It's a sticky quagmire of a topic, and I find that the more I learn and gain perspectives and grow in faith, the more my position shifts. It's hard to see absolute truth when scripture is silent on so many aspects, but it's a comfort to know that God knows I want to learn the truth and do His bidding.

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