When I read the statement at first, I was shocked, not because I disagreed with the statement but because I knew it was true and had not said it to others. Here is the statement:
“Here is a fascinating fact: nowhere in the Bible is the Church commanded to plant churches” (J. D. Payne, Apostolic Church Planting, page 17). What are we told to do? “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19) which includes baptizing and teaching the disciples that are made. In this work of making disciples, there is a divine work going on at the same time by the Holy Spirit.
It is most important that we do not confuse the responsibilities we are given by Christ and what the Holy Spirit does. We are charged with proclaiming the gospel so that disciples are made. The Spirit works to form those disciples into the church anywhere they are made. I understand and give full credit to those who make disciples with the intent of forming a local church. What becomes clear through Scripture is the glory that belongs to the Spirit for His part in this process.
We want to give God glory anyway for this glorious unity called the “Bride of Christ.” Disciple-making is ultimately for Him.
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