A STUDY OF MARK 16:14-18: ITS IMPLICATIONS FOR MISSIONARY WORK IN ASANTE AKIM CENTRAL DISTRICT OF GHANA BAPTIST CONVENTION

ABSTRACT
The exegesis of Mark 16:14-18 revealed that the main command is to “preach the Gospel” whilst “going” is a participle supporting the main command. Preaching the Gospel to all creatures encompasses evangelization and discipling the members converted which would result in both qualitative and quantitative growth. The study was conducted at the Asante Akim Central Baptist Churches (AACBC‟S) through the administration of questionnaire, interviews and the report of Asante Akim Central Zonal Ministers and Church Workers Conference (AACZMCWC) held at Truth Baptist (Konongo-Odumasi. A number of relevant written materials such as biblical commentaries and handbooks were consulted. The research has revealed that the numerical growth of Baptist Churches in the district is not up to the projections that some ministers and church leaders have proposed for their various churches. The study recommends intensification of outreach programmes that would ensure qualitative and quantitative growth of all Baptist Churches in Asante Akim Central District.


CHAPTER ONE
GENERAL INTRODUCTION 
1.1 Introduction
One of the popular passages that renowned evangelical preachers have made reference to is Mark 16:14-16. The reference is done especially during Evangelism and Mission Conferences. Mark 16:14-18 and Matthew 28:18-20 are popularly referred to as the “Great Commission”. The text enjoins Christians to preach the Gospel and initiate members into the Christian Community. Ghana Baptist Convention Churches are distinctively known to treasure God‟s word in all their endeavours. The word of God is the standard in everything they do. This thesis seeks to conduct an exegetical study of Mark 16:14-18 and its implications on Missionary Work of the Ghana Baptist Convention Churches in the Asante Akim Central District and come out with suggestions that would enhance their growth.

1.2 Background to the study

There are many reasons why the church should engage in world evangelism, but the paramount reason is the command of Christ. It is generally assumed that the Greek word “poreuqe,ntej” in Mark 16:15 is an imperative and constitutes the last command from Christ. The Greek word “poreuqe,ntej ” is not an imperative but it is an aorist participle and should be translated “having gone” or “as you are going”. This in no way diminishes the full force of the statement. Jesus knew that in the course of events or as a result of persecution they would soon find themselves scattered to all parts of the empire.1 Jesus brought together His own mission from the Father with the mission that He sent the disciples.2 The “pa,sh| th/| kti,sei” in Mark 16:14-18 stresses the universality of their proclamation. A mission is not only work for God, but work with God. The work is to be done in a way that resembles the sacrificial obedience of Jesus Christ.3 Those who believe are mandated to share it with those who do not believe.4

In 1849 the foreign mission board of the Southern Baptist Mission in United State of America sent Rev. Jefferson Bowen to start Baptist in Nigeria. He was converted in 1840 and appointed missionary by the Foreign Mission Board and he was sent to Africa the same year. The foreign Mission Board handed over the leadership of the Church to indigeneous Nigerians but played supervisory role and offered assistance to the Nigeria Baptist Conventon until 1961. In 1947, the Nigeria Baptist Convention sent request to Nigeria Baptist Mission to send missionaries to Ghana and they responded to the request by sending Rev J.A. Idowu and Rev. H.R. Littleton to Ghana in 1948. In 1952, Rev. Littleton established the first indigenous Baptist Church at Boamang in the Ashanti Region. In 1963 at the Nigeria Baptist Convention Annual Session, the Ghana Baptist Conference was granted independence and in January 1964, the name Baptist Conference was changed to Ghana Baptist Convention.

1.3 Statement of the Problem
Graham Scroggie in studying Acts 1:8 came out with four concepts of witnessing. He believes that the central theme of the Christian witness is Christ, the exclusive medium of the Christian witness is the church, the ultimate scope of the Christian witness is the world, and the unfailing secret of the Christian witness is the Holy Spirit.6

The mandate of preaching the gospel to all creatures took place after Christ had resurrected. Jesus now sent His disciples out to spread the gospel over all the world.

Christians are sent by God to do those things that Jesus expressed in His own ministry. Jesus preached the Good News, healed sick, taught His followers and expressed compassion and forgiveness in practical terms. One major strand in the commission is preaching the gospel and persuading people to believe in faith.8

Asante Akim Central District has fifty three (53) towns and villages9 and out of the number Baptist Churches can be found in five (5) towns and villages: Konongo, Peterensa, Odumasi, Praaso and Konongo Lowcost. The researcher sought to find out why out of fifty three towns and villages in the district only five of them have Baptist Churches. The researcher would also find out if there have been attempts to establish satellite churches in some towns and villages in the district but failed.

1.4 Research Questions
The research questions for the study are as follows:

How did the Ghana Baptist Convention Churches get to the Asante Akim Central District?

What measures have the Ghana Baptist Convention Churches put in place to enhance their growth based on Mark 16:14-18?

What impacts are the Ghana Baptist Convention Churches making in Asante Akim Central District?

What have been the challenges of the Ghana Baptist Churches in doing missions based on Mark 16:14-18 in Asante Akim Central District?

1.5 Methodology

The researcher adopted exegetical methodology in chapter two but employed qualitative and quantitative approaches in chapter four of the study. Chapter two is basically focused on the exegetical work of the text while chapter four is based on data collection through interviews and analyzing questionnaire. Ten members from Asante Akim Baptist Churches made up of ordained Ministers, Deacons and Church Council Members were interviewed with the same interview guide. Questionnaire was administered to hundred and eighty other respondents such as full members of departmental executives, young adults, and some founding members of some of the Baptist Churches in the district. The Zonal Meeting of Asante Akim Baptist Churches for the year 2015 held at Truth Baptist Church were examined to gather relevant information on church growth in the district.

1.6 Scope of study
This study is confined within the disciplines of New Testament Studies and implication of missionary work of Ghana Baptist Convention Churches within Asante Akim Central District. The study is focused on Mark 16:14-18; and its implications for missionary work in Asante Akim Central District of Ghana Baptist Convention. The study also looks critically at the history and growth of Baptist Churches in the Asante Akim Central District and Ghana Baptist Convention in general.

1.7 Objective of the study
Objective was to make an exegetical examination of the text, Mark 16:14-18, and deduce its implications on missionary work of the Ghana Baptist Convention Churches in Asante Akim Central District. The researcher in pursuing this objective aimed at providing a thorough study of Mark 16:14-18. The researcher also carried out an exegetical study of the passage to illustrate the meaning of the command more clearly and also identified the relevance of the passage and also to ascertain the problem associated with the growth of its missionary activities within the district.

1.8 Significance of the study
This study would provide information that will aid the understanding of Mark 16:14-18, with its central message of missions. The study would offer a recommendation to the Ghana Baptist Convention Churches in Asante Akim Central District about the effective ways of organizing missions in order to attain the needed growth. The study would enhance our understanding of missions and its impacts on church growth. The study would also serve as a guide for future researchers on issues of church growth.

1.9 Limitations of the study
No good study could be conducted without going through many challenges and for that reason the researcher positioned himself well to work around the clock to make this study a successful one. This study is focused on Mark 16:14-18 and its implication on missionary work of Ghana Baptist Convention Churches in Asante Akim Central District. The following limitations were encountered:

Accessing vital information relating to the mission work in the district was difficult since keeping information in print in rural areas were not common. Tight schedules of some key members whom the researcher wanted to interview were not possible because the nature of their work did not permit them. Besides the above points raised, to travel from Konongo to some villages like Praaso, Peterensa, Domeabra, Odumasi to seek for some information that would aid the study was cumbersome and time consuming.

1.10 Literature Review

Scroggie argues that the Great Commission in Mark 16:14-18 is the Churches‟ marching orders. A Church which is not missionary is not Christian. Every Christian has the right to hear the Good News and everyone who has heard it is under an obligation to proclaim it.

The researcher agrees with Scroggie that everyone who hears the good news is under obligation to proclaim to others. However, Scroggie fails to talk about the training they have to receive before they can share the gospel with other people. The researcher believes that converts can communicate meaningfully and effectively after they have gained the needed knowledge and skills. This study will also help the researcher to ascertain how Baptist Church leadership in Asante Akim Central District prepare their members to share the gospel to others who are not in the Christian faith.

According to Adeyemo the Great Commission is a command to go with the Good News to all creation.11 He opines that the Commission was backed by authority and all Christians have a mandate of sharing it with the world. The author further stresses that to obey God‟s command to preach the gospel is the most exciting, most urgent and most necessary task in the world.12 The researcher commends the author for his contribution that the Great Commission is a command and no other task comes with such authority but the author did not use the Greek text to establish his claim. The researcher will use the Greek text to establish if the Great Commission is a comm. and and binding on all disciples of Christ or not.

Foli emphasizes that churches prefer to remain where they are than making an attempt to move forward.13 He further explains that since Church growth cannot occur instantly, but realize over a period of time, church leaders who are interested in seeing growth must be future oriented.14 For the author to say that churches prefer to remain where they are rather than growing and church leaders who are interested in seeing growth must be future oriented is not the true picture in most of the churches. The researcher disagrees with the author because his argument lacks any documental evidence. Besides, he generalizes his argument which indicates that all churches are declining which the researcher thinks is not the real situation on the ground. The author‟s assertion however, will help the researcher to find out from Baptist Churches in Asante Akim Central District if they are growing numerically or declining as claimed by the author.

Uzodinma identifies two interdependent action steps to do the Great Commission: “go”, and “baptizing”, He gives implications to the steps: “go” implies evangelism and missions; “baptizing” also implies churching converts. He believes that the process engages both the Christian leader and the believer, and the task includes commitment, obedience, discipline and perseverance. The author identifies the word preach in Greek as “khru,xate” which calls for the proclamation of the gospel. He states further that in proclaiming the gospel one has to disciple those who believe the message. He defines a disciple of Christ as a believer who has a steadfast disposition to acquire knowledge of Him and His teachings as well as His lifestyle and skills.15 The researcher commends the author for his significant contribution made that “go” implies evangelism and mission whereas “baptizing” implies growing convert but identifies his failure to employ the Greek to establish his position. In view of that, the researcher will do an exegetical study of the text to establish an imperative or command from the pericope.


Alan shares that the scope of Jesus‟ earthly ministry, and the teaching work of the disciples had been deliberately restricted to the “house of Israel” and preaching to the Gentiles was excluded (Matt 10:5-6). The earthly ministry of Christ was to the Jews first (Rom 15:8); the ministry of the risen Christ is to all without distinction.16 The researcher agrees with the author that Jesus‟ earthly ministry was restricted to the house of Israel but ministry of the risen Christ was to all without distinction. This means all people no matter their ethnicity, colour, and race have the right to hear the gospel and to make informed decision about it. The author however, fails to employ the Greek text to substantiate his points. The researcher would make use of an exegetical methodology of the text under study to establish that fact or otherwise. The researcher will also find out from Baptist Churches in Asante Akim Central District if some communities and individuals have been ignored from hearing the gospel or the gospel is being preached to all men without any distinction.

Hendrikson notes that the Great Commission signifies what the Lord has ordered. He has promised to impart all the needed strength to all men who obey the command of preaching the gospel to all men. He identifies khru,xate (preach) as having an imperative force. He goes further to state that “preaching” focuses on winning the mind, the heart and the will for God and the truth learned must be put to practice, appropriated by the heart, mind and will. He states preaching and baptising go hand in hand. He notes that teaching should continue throughout the lives of those who believe and have been baptised.17 The author is commended for identifying “khru,xate” (preach) as the main verb and imperative of the Great Commission and that would help the course of this study. The researcher would resort to the Greek text to analyse the text syntactically to establish the imperative and participle from the text.

Brown analyzing Jesus‟ mandate to the disciples stresses that to all creatures in Mark 16:15 is a universal call applies to all people including their cultures. The author further shares that when one believes the gospel everything about the person changes and this transformed person becomes the representative of Christ in that particular environment. The transformed believer has a mandate to share his/her Christian faith to other people in that community for them to be converted.18 The researcher agrees with the author that the gospel should not be limited to certain kinds of people no matter their social disposition in life. The problem is that the author fails to employ the Greek text to establish his claim.

The researcher will find out from members of the Baptist Churches in the district some challenges they go through in sharing the gospel to people in their communities who are not Christians.

Malphurs sees the Great Commission as the mandate for the church and the imperative is to “preach”.19 He further identifies other portions of the Gospels that constitute the Great Commission. They include: Matthew 28:18-20, Luke 24:46-49, John 20:21 and Acts 1:8. He shares that evangelism and discipleship process are the two main dimensions of constituting new believers in Christ. He urges that Christian leaders should make time to nurture converts who come into the Christian faith. He blames Christian leaders for not having program to nurture converts and that constitute their difficulty of sharing their faith.20 The researcher commends the author for his good work. He was emphatic that to preach the gospel is an imperative however; he fails to use the source language to establish his points. It is for this reason that the researcher would employ an exegetical methodology

to identify the main command of Mark 16:14-18. The researcher will find out from leaders of the Baptist Churches in Asante Akim Central District measures they have put in place to disciple converts into maturity.

Akins suggests that Churches should have proper measures in place to evangelize the world. The purpose of doing an outreach program is to share the gospel and win others for Christ. He urges Christians not to force anyone to believe the gospel. The mandate for eveyone who believes is to share the gospel but the conviction will come from the Lord. 21 The author‟s comments are commendable and will help the researcher to find out from the Baptist leadership in the district measures they have put in place to evangelize the district and some challenges confronting them in doing evangelism and mission work in the district. Recommendations will be made to the churches but that will be based on researcher‟s findings.

Autrey is of the view that from the pulpit to pew a church must work passionately to see people continually coming to Christ. Pastors, church officers and Sunday school teachers must have the desire to see people find Christ as Saviour. The work of evangelism is primarily the task of the church. Evangelism must always be vitally related to the church. He further states that evangelism is an imperative for the local church. The church which ceases to evangelize neglects one of its primary reasons for existing and begins the process of decline. He continues that the churches in the New Testament era were evangelistic. Evangelism is a mandate to the local church.22 The researcher commends the author for his good works on evangelism because evangelism serves as a wheel for the growth of the church. The researcher agrees that without evangelism there will be no growth in the church. The author states categorically that evangelism is an imperative for the local church and to cease to evangelize neglect one of the church primary reasons to exist and begin the process of decline. Though the author fails to state if the imperative applies to all churches at all times or not, the researcher will assess critically how Baptist Churches in Asante Akim Central District are committed to evangelizing the whole district for Christ and recommendations will be made but that will be based on the researcher‟s findings.

Ken says that the mandate for being witnesses for Christ is clear and unimpeachable. Jesus spoke of the value of the souls of men and the need to confront them with the gospel before His resurrection. Jesus also gave the evangelistic work order, not only to His disciples but to all believers. Ken further notes that Jesus‟ commission to His disciples is a straightforward statement describing the desire of Jesus for all Christians to evangelize the world. The imperative command is the word “proclaim”. The going is implicit and understood as the normal action.23 The author continues to share that the gospel must be proclaimed to the world with its natural hostility toward Christ, and its violence opposition toward righteousness, Christ sent His disciples.24 The author‟s work on the text under study is commendable. He clearly states that the imperative is the word “proclaim” but fails to use the Greek to establish that claim. The researcher will also find out from Baptist Churches in the district how they proclaim the gospel to all manner of people without any discrimination and recommendation will be made based on the findings from the researcher.

Reisinger believes that the Great Commission has three distinct parts, make disciples, baptize them and teach them. It is not the Christian‟s prerogative to leave out any one of them. He continues that the first part of the commission is to go and make disciple that is seeking to bring men into a right relationship with God. He shares that a disciple is a learner of the teachings, a follower of the teacher and one who conforms to the teacher and the teachings. The second part of the goal is to baptize them. The author argues that the third part of the commission “teaching them....” is a long life ministry. That is seeking to bring them into a right relationship to the word of God.25 The researcher agrees with the author and his points raised. This will help the researcher to find out if all the points raised by the author are applicable to the Baptist Churches in Asante Akim Central District.

Roland shares that the commission in Mark 16:15 is one dominant and controlling imperative, while the verb form is participle. The Greek word “poreuqe,ntej” translated “go” is a participle and could be translated “going” or “as you go”. Likewise, the word translated “baptizing” is participle. While this participle is immensely important, the imperative “preach” is of superlative importance. He emphasises that lack of compassion for souls is the greatest tragedy of Christians and of churches throughout the world. He further notes that the master used every method of evangelism that all men might be saved.

He preached with power, and He taught God‟s truth to all who would learn of Him. He rebuked hypocrisy, He wept over the sin-burdened, He exhorted the unrepentant, and He patiently called the wavering. The author was of the view that the early disciples took the Great Commission seriously when Jesus told them to make disciple of all nations. Their passion for souls was kept aflame by constant spiritual fellowship with Christ and also by continued efforts to win others. They acted under the authoritative command of Christ the Lord.26 The researcher commends the author for using the Greek “poreuqe,ntej” (Poreuthéntes) to establish as a participle and khru,xate (keerúxate) as imperative. The researcher would carry out an exegesis of Mark 16:14-18 in order to reveal why khru,xate is the main command in the pericope. The researcher would also conduct a study in Asante Akim Central Baptist Churches to establish whether the author‟s assertion that churches have no compassion for the lost souls is true or not and make recommendation that will be based on the findings.

Wimber stresses that Christians can fulfil the commission with the love of God. He further notes that before Jesus commissioned them to go, He resourced them with the power required to do it. He opines that every Christian has been called to the harvest field. Though there is always a need for more workers, there has never been a time in this century when so many workers and programme have been tilling the fields. He further stresses that when proper measures are not put in place, fulfilling the mandate will be impossible.27 The researcher agrees with the author that Jesus resourced the disciples with the power they required. Christian leaders should resource or equip their members before they send them to preach the gospel. The researcher would like to find out from the leadership of Asante Akim Central Baptist Churches measures they have put in place to equip their members in reaching out the district for Christ. Recommendation will be made based on the findings of the researcher.

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Item Type: Ghanaian Project Material  |  Attribute: 100 pages  |  Chapters: 1-5
Format: MS Word  |  Price: GH50  |  Delivery: Within 30Mins.
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