Thursday, August 03, 2006

Grandiose FBCH Memories and Re-Writing History (Part 2)

I apologize for leaving some of you hanging on this one--no doubt some of you were on the edge of your computer chairs just waiting with bated breath for the conclusion to our post from a couple of weeks ago--OK, maybe that was just Josh. Since that post, we have received some lively email and comments from people who obviously are taking things here at B & C very personally. I want to preface this post by saying again that we wish no ill will to anyone at FBCH--we truly believe that it is possible to disagree and not be disagreeable. We have been called "traitor", "deceived", "disloyal", and last but not least, "bitter". Nobody who knows us well would agree with any of those descriptors.

That being said, we are going to try and analyze Pastor Schaap's books sparingly--it becomes very tedious and time consuming to delve into these books--we could literally spend months looking at them, and those at FBCH would simply charge that we should write our own books if we do not like the ones they are producing--I partly agree and will not make this type of post the norm. Since we did begin looking at this portion of one of Pastor Schaap's books, I do want to finish it before jumping into some other topic. I believe I left off with the fact that FBCH believes that she is one of the last truly great churches in existence today--Pastor Schaap doesn't want her to go the way that Moody's, Finney's, and Spurgeon's churches have gone! FBCH believes she is "headquarters" or the "mother church" for "true" fundamentalism. The entire premise for this conclusion by those in IFBxdom distills down to one thing--numbers.

Here is another portion from Pastor Schaap's book, "Principles of Church Growth", on page 147 he compares FBCH to the church of Sardis in the book of Revelation--of whom Jesus said, "Thou hast a name that thou livest." He goes on to recount all of the great works that the LORD has done at FBCH over the years:
"First Baptist Church of Hammond has enjoyed a tremendous name through the years. What a name with 41 Pastors' Schools! What a name hosting our 31st Youth Conference! What a name in 1972 being called the "World's Largest Sunday School" and holding that title for many decades! What a reputation when Brother Hyles was pastor for 41 years and 5 months!"
On page 148 he continues with:
"The influence First Baptist Church has, the missionaries and preacher boys we have, the college and the Christian schools we have, the preaching the First Baptist Church congregation heard under Brother Hyles' ministry--all these show that we were spoiled rotten and spoon-fed by a master pulpiteer."
On page 149 he continues with:
"Wow! Hasn't First Baptist Church enjoyed a good life? How many times has the altar been jam packed! For over 44 years, there has not been a Sunday in First Baptist Church when someone has not been baptized in our baptistery. In 2002, twenty thousand folks walked an aisle at First Baptist Church trusting Christ as Saviour. That number doesn't include the 8,000 to 10,000 saved on special days like our Teenage Soul-Winning marathon. It doesn't include the 29,000 people our teenagers won to Christ on the streets in 2002 or all of the souls won by college kids while visiting on their bus routes on Saturdays. That number doesn't include the folks won to Christ by the Phoster Club or the Fishermen's Club or the Gospel League Home ministry and the homeless ministry and the nursing home ministry and the truck stop ministry and the sailor ministry. That number does not include the 48,000 who professed faith in Christ on one day in multiple services.

First Baptist Church has a great past. We have a past that Charles Spurgeon's Tabernacle once had. We have a past that the First Church of Oberlin, Ohio, had under Charles G. Finney. We have a past that Moody Memorial Church had when D.L. Moody graced her pulpit. Yet, if I know history, I believe First Baptist Church of Hammond has had a greater past than all three of these churches together. Charles Spurgeon baptized 700 in a great year. First Baptist has had days when we baptized 5,300 in one day. What a phenomenal past!"
Pastor Schaap goes on to tell a story about a group that he took to Oberlin College in Ohio and also the First Church of Oberlin where Charles G. Finney once pastored. Pastor Schaap and his group stumbled upon a man who told them that the church used to be packed full with 1,600 in attendance! Pastor Schaap proceeded to ask the IFBx million dollar question--how many you running now--the man answered that on a good day they would have 70! He went on to say that the group of men with him was saddened to hear this and they knelt around a pulpit and put their hands on Charles Finney's Bible and asked God to use them in a mighty way. They asked God to "do it again" and raise up some powerful preachers from among their group.

Later on during that visit, Bob Marshall, a staff member at HAC, slipped away from the group and came running up to them later and told them about his having won a sophomore college student at Oberlin to the LORD. When Bob Marshall had asked the young lad if he knew he was going to heaven, the sophomore student grabbed him and told him that he had asked every student and every professor at Oberlin for the past two years how he could go to heaven and not a single one could help him. He was terrified of going to hell and had been waiting for someone who could tell him how to be saved. I digress.

Later on in the chapter on page 154, Pastor Schaap talks about a trip he and his father took to the Moody Church for a tour:
"There was a rock concert going on with a bunch of teenagers dancing around like animals in frenzy. We left the concert and walked down the halls to an old storage room. We could see through the window a picture of D.L. Moody. A janitor came walking by. I asked him, 'Is that a picture of D.L. Moody in there?' The janitor answered, 'Yes.' I asked him, 'Are you going to do anything with that picture?' He said, 'No. Nobody wants anything to do with that guy.'"
These stories can speak different things to different readers--interesting at least to someone who can clear away the cobwebs of hysteric fundamentalism, but to the loyal fan they are stories and words that will stir up a certain amount of pride and arrogance as numerical statistics and teary-eyed illustrations are hurled about. What Pastor Schaap doesn't tell you is that you can actually find a solid independent fundamental Baptist church where Spurgeon once pastored--contrary to popular belief within the bubble of the cultural fundies.

Pastors Hyles and Schaap consistently forget/forgot to mention that Metropolitan Tabernacle was bombed in 1941 during World War II--in the 1970's attendance did drop--today the church is thriving and making an impact in England! We need to always keep in mind that a good illustration that pulls at the heartstrings trumps the truth more often than not at FBCH. To tell the whole story would destroy the strawman that they have created and the veneer of FBCH as the only mega church that can thrive after a famous pastor leaves. Although I could probably find something to disagree with Moody Memorial Church and her affiliated ministries , is there any doubt that they are still training some very fine Christian servants--missionaries, pastors, and teachers? Are they not still having an impact across America and the world with their radio stations that happen to carry some very good Bible preaching and teaching? The idea that any church that has less noses today than she had at some time in her past history equals the withdrawal of God's blessing is pure folly. The pride and arrogance that emanates from books and sermons where these assumptions are made is disturbing. As far as Oberlin College is concerned I do not have much to say--needless to say the aforementioned illustrations are a bit much for me to swallow. I do not hold Charles G. Finney as a hero or an example of what a pastor or preacher ought to be--these folks may hold him in very high regard--I will pass on this one for now--that is another post for another day.

The focus of all things in Hammond shines through at this juncture just like it always does--numbers, numbers, numbers, and more numbers. Their definition of success in ministry since the 1960's has been that simple--how many YOU got? This mentality was big during the years Pastor Hyles was at the helm, but I believe that this mentality is pushed even more under the current leadership--Pastor Schaap has an admitted infatuation with this thing of "church growth". This philosophy permeates the entire ministry model put forth in Hammond.

Micah 6:8: ESV "He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?"

Some questions to ponder:

Is the LORD more pleased with large churches because they are large and less pleased with small churches accordingly?
2. Is it possible for a church to please the LORD and not have record attendance campaigns?
3. Where did this philosophy of ministry begin? When did programs and numbers become the standard by which certain churches measured themselves?
4. Is it possible for a church of 70 to please the LORD and be more God-glorifying than a church of say 1,600 or 18,000?



Mike Y said...


Great post! And it's nice to see you guys again. Sorry you're getting those emails, etc., but we sort of discussed that a while ago.

I find it ironic that Schaap would choose to use Sardis as a spring board for his describing the history there. To me, it's the equivalent of seeing churches named after Corinth.

Anyway, on to your questions:

1. Is the LORD more pleased with large churches because they are large and less pleased with small churches accordingly? Simple answer is no. Longer answer is size is irrelevant.

2. Is it possible for a church to please the LORD and not have record attendance campaigns? Absolutely!

3. Where did this philosophy of ministry begin? When did programs and numbers become the standard by which certain churches measured themselves? Well, it's probably been around for centuries in one form or other, but they did visit the master wizard himself. Finney truly prided himself on the use of psychological means vs. the Holy Spirit. But you get that from his systematic theology and not his revival book.

4. Is it possible for a church of 70 to please the LORD and be more God-glorifying than a church of say 1,600 or 18,000? Sure it is. Sardis' example was that the elders had forgotten or dropped doctrine. But despite them, there was a small group there who actually retained it. The size of the crowd has no bearing on whether they follow in truth.

Guys, I have missed you and it's truly good to see you follow-up on this. Hang in there friends!

Mike Hess said...


Good to have you back and again, good job on a very timely post.

I am so glad to see that someone at Oberlin College was coerced into praying the sinner's prayer. I hope that Schaap (along with his other impressive illustrations that focus on himself) has some other impressive illustrations regarding how this college student there was discipled and helped to grow in his walk with the Lord.

If my math is correct here, there were over 108,000 people that experienced regeneration in 2002 at FBCH. Wow!!! That is over ten times the amount that their new auditorium could hold. Imagine what kind of revival is breaking out all over the Chicagoland area right now as a result of these people being redeemed nearly four years ago. I would imagine between these 108,000 people and the other 25,000 people who were baptized last year, there must be a plethora of discipleship happening right now there.

I would love to hear even half of these people give a clear explanation of the Gospel. Do they have any clue where these converts are now??? But then again, its all about growth right?

Good post!


Steve Minton said...

Matt, I, for one, ALWAYS wait impatiently and hang on your every word on this blog! Hope things are going well with you. Missed you at the annual Richards Memorial Day Party. It's a hoot to see you guys kill over a badminton game.

The farther I distance myself from FBC, the more farcical it appears to me. That story about Bob Marshall, well, frankly, I don't buy it. I think it never happened. But it sure makes a great story to justify their "results", doesn't it? The reason I don't buy it, and truthfully, I wouldn't know Bob Marshall if he reached out and bit me, is because of FBC's track record on the truth. I've realized over the years all the twisting of the truth and out-and-out lies that have come out of that place, that I have to assume statements coming out today are no different than the ones from the 60's and 70's. Much of it, and I dare say, most of it: pure fabrication. While attending high school there, I was lied to so many times about so many things, I can't keep count.

For example: stray from our "way" and God will punish you. I've never been more blessed by God in the last few years than I ever was before. And He continues to do so now. Another example: Dave Hyles is a Spirit-filled Christian with unlimited potential. Well, we ALL know what really happened on that one. Another: Brother Hyles knew NOTHING about Dave's problems(that officially didn't exist anyway) before going to Miller Road. And the list goes on and on.

It's funny about all these soul winning "extravaganzas": Living within 10 miles of the church for the last 25 years, I've yet to be witnessed to by them. Don't you find that incredible? So either they don't care about the local people, or these soul winning marathons aren't producing the numbers they claim. I suspect a little of both. Frankly, in Northwest Indiana, when you see a FBC soulwinner walking down the street, they're usually confused with the Jehovah's Witnesses. They have basically become a laughingstock in this area. Ask anyone within 20 miles of Hammond, and you'll get the same answer. Besides, I think there's a reason they don't put much effort into "recruitment" locally; they know that their efforts are going to fall on fallow ground, so they won't waste their time where the results won't be astronomical.

My opinion on your questions, I pretty much agree with Mike, so I won't waste people's time repeating his answers. Besides, who are we to judge what is great and what is not? We will be able to judge success the day we can read peoples' minds and intentions. The same day when pigs fly.

Oh, by the way Matt, stop apologizing for yourself and the purpose of this blog. It's just not necessary. You have every right to state how you feel and what you believe, just as much right as the Edwards and their ilk have to their opinion. You have issues with FBC, just as much as I do, and hundreds upon hundreds of others. You need to work them out, and if this does that AND at the same time warn others or at least get people to think and question, then great. FBC has, at best, a checkered past that they have yet to answer for. They have been avoiding that for a long long time. And to think that they can build a new auditorium and with a little spit and polish, hope that that past will just disappear, they are sadly mistaken. They will not EVER be taken seriously until their past practices are explained in a way that is meaningful, truthful and honest. Honest with people like us and especially with themselves.


reglerjoe said...

My two cents: in all honesty, EVERYONE places some importance on success through numbers. I don't think MacArthur and Piper would be as popular as they are if they pastored churches running 30. For that matter, I don't think Spurgeon would've been dubbed the "Prince of Preachers" if his church averaged 50. But some take numbers to a nauseating extreme.

Regarding hard to believe illustrations, remember the one about Bro. Hyles praying over his father's grave? (supposedly when he was first filled with the Spirit) Bro. Hyles would always say, "I'm not sure how long I was there...a close friend told me I was there praying for a couple of days...but I'm not sure." The illustration always left the impression that Bro. Hyles was in some kind of trance. I always wondered why he never asked Mrs. Hyles how long he was there. If anybody would know for sure, it would be his wife! Why not ask Mrs. Hyles and be done with the mystery?

Steve Minton said...

Joe, I have to agree that we equate numbers with success. But the point, to me, is that this is something that HUMANS use to equate with success. It may not necessarily be so with God. I'm not saying that God does or doesn't judge success by numbers. Reading the Bible, Jesus thought that BOTH large crowds AND the individual person was important to Him. He was concerned with feeding and teaching the multitudes, but at the same time, went out of his way to spend time with Zacchaeus. Both were important to Him. So how can we judge that numbers equal success? We are supposed to to striving to be more like Christ. We have to look at success in both small and large ways. My problem is the outright obsession with huge numbers, and especially when those numbers don't add up.

Mike Hess said...

Just to follow up on another accusation that Schaap made in regards to the custodian at Moody Church. I have been to Moody Church on a few occasions and I have met Erwin Lutzer (senior pastor of Moody Church) personally and had breakfast with one time as well and know for certain that he would in no way promote such a silly statement. If this statement was indeed made (which is highly dubious) I do not think that it was propigated from Lutzer or the leadership of that church.

In fact, I was given a tour of that church once from a faithful member who gave us some incredible historical information regarding Moody (BTW - all positive info that held Moody in high regard). This is just another example of Schaap embellishing things to get the hearty "amens" from the hysterics to build his own ego.


JA Bailey said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Edward said...

Here we go again. All I can say is if you don't like it then why not just forget about it? For as much as you guys are supposedly "over it" you cannot help but focus on all things going on at First Baptist Church! The Lord keeps blessing and the critics keep complaining. Would you be happier if First Baptist was running 70 instead of over 18,000? Maybe you guys can write something on how to build a church...I know both have you are very successful at that sort of thing. I will be waiting to see all of the finer points and will be sure to forward them on to Dr. Schaap. You guys just keep proving my do you spell bitter? EDward

Justin said...


Spurgeon shows that it is possible to be used by God to see many believes get baptized! 700 in a day is incredible. This should be encouraging for all of us that think biblical doctrine and expositional preaching are things worth fighting for.

BTW - Edward, why don't you say something substantive, instead of accusing the Richards brothers of bitterness. If you think they are wrong show us where Jesus teaches that the arrogant, boastful, and the mighty inherit the Kingdom of God.

Steve Minton said...

Mr. Edward:

I'll try to address your comment point by point.

First, you'd really like us to forget about it. How is that possible? First Baptist, for better or worse, is part and parcel of our past, it defines who we are. How can I forget my past and still be myself?

Next, as far as being over it: I know for myself, and I can probably to a point speak for others here, I NEVER stated I was "over it". So there goes your theory of not helping focus on what is going on at FBC

Next, you claim the Lord is blessing FBC. Wonderful! That's great, and I am happy for you and for them. But in your previous posts, you obsess with equating blessings with numbers. I think that is the gist of Matt's whole reason for this blog, and frankly, you have never addressed that issue. But you are not unique in that respect; your entire church does that and has done that for a long long time.

Would I be happy if FBC is running 70? NO ABSOLUTELY NOT. I would like First Baptist to acknowledge their past practices and the hurt and misery they have pressed on people, and try to go on with life.

As far as building a church, keep
one thing in mind: Schaap did NOT build First Baptist. So you need to keep that in perspective. Besides, I myself certainly don't claim to be a church builder. I don't think that is what God has planned for me. I'd just as soon leave that up to people more qualified than me. But I know that it takes more than one person to build a church; it takes hundreds of people like me, working together, to build a church. Give credit where credit is due.

You know, I really feel sorry for the position Schaap is in. If he doesn't look, act, yell, spit and exude Brother Hyles, he's screwed. People leave because they want Brother Hyles. So he acts just like him and stifles the church, and in the course of that, the church changes. Maybe better, maybe worse, but the church is different. People either leave or don't participate. Or he decides to carry on the flawed legacy of Hyles, and then Schaap is perceived as a puppet or a copycat. And I feel he loses credibility in people's eyes, because he can't be his own person and do things the way he wants to. No, Edward, I don't envy Schaap at all.

There are so MANY unanswered questions about Hyles and the church's past. Do you think that maybe that is why people like the Richards brothers are doing this blog? Did it occur to you that questions are being asked that either aren't answered outright, or the answers given make absolutely no sense?

I pray for the day you, and those like you, wake up.

Chris said...

In the post I made in Part One of the subject I forgot to mention one more thing that HAC members like Ed seem to comment upon. You're either a theologian or you're a soul winner. Currently a friend of mine and I are the most adamant about taken the gospel to everyone in our city and discipling them. We believe it is foolish to claim you're soulwinning when all you do is go talk to church members that are saved when the purpose is to share the gospel with those who are not. (Ez 3 & 33; Rom 16:25) I say this first to point out I do go soulwinning.

Secondly, the vast majority of the members of my church are completely ignorant of Bible doctrines found in such documents of the LBCF or the Heidelberg Catechism. Salvation to them is all about going to heaven. Discipleship is ignored.

Further, the lack of Bible knowledge at my church makes it impossible for them to engage in any apologetics and instead they just spew out random verses hoping someone will be saved and quote "the Lord's word will not return void." This causes the heathen to blaspheme the name of God in various ways.

Preparing for a reformed seminary I am learing Latin, Greek, Hebrew, Logic (Formal and Informal), and presuppositional apologetics. I have found the use of the last two to be of great benefit when explaining the gospel plan of salvation. It is by learning more and more from the Bible and godly writers that I am better at witnessing. Before it was difficult to provide a decent answer to Rom 3:23's apparent assertion that Jesus was also a sinner. By using Venn diagrams and the difference between our original sonship in Adam and the sonship of Jesus in God, this objection to Jesus being perfect is no longer a problem.

BTW it is late here and I'm tired so hopefully I made sense. If not I apologize.

Steve Minton said...

Chris, I made a comment previously on this site asking how you can explain the Gospel or salvation if you yourself don't fully understand it. Your post was quite correct. That seems to be a problem in all churches. And frankly, if you either don't understand salvation fully or can't explain it, you really should not be trying to explain it to others. You could do more damage than good. Not that I understand all facets of Christianity, but if there's a question that I can't answer, well then, I'm not going to try. I direct that person to someone more qualified than myself to answer. I know my limitations, and try to stay within those boundaries. But every day, through reading, questioning and logical thinking, I try to expand those boundaries.

I think witnessing is important, don't get me wrong. For myself, I have to feel comfortable enough with the person and comfortable with the material to be able to talk to them. And it never ends up being a five minutes say-this-prayer-and-you're-on-your-way-to heaven deal. It takes time, sometimes a lot of time. You have to feed people a little at a time. So big, outrageous numbers aren't the norm. But I feel that the time invested is worth it. Just don't be in a hurry, because it may take a while.

PT Barnum said...


I agree that we all are inclined to use numbers of some sort as a measuring stick in many areas of our lives. I think we would agree that the IFBx and Willow Creek Gang take this to an entirely different level.

Honestly it does not matter to me how many JohnnyMac or Piper or Sproul have in their churches--I couldn't even venture a guess as to how many they GOT from week to week. I still download their podcasts daily and enjoy their exegesis of Scripture thoroughly.

I agree that there are many who would not hold this view--we cannot control what people think about our ministries. The point of this post is to show again how FBCH has an unholy affinity for raw numbers--even more so now than when Hyles was behind the wheel.

Thanks for your thoughts!


LeeC said...

I have said it before, but every time I read something like this all I can think of is "Boy Jeremiah sure was a failure huh?"


I have never been a member of one of these churches, but I love people, and God far too much to be ambivalent about someone going through life thinking they are secure because they said some quick prayer and let themselves get dunked and then they die and are told that Christ never knew them.

Its a horrifying thought that should cause every man who loves God to thoroughly examine himself and the Word to make sure that they are not giving people a false sense of security in thier salvation.

Just to briefly touch on one aspect.

Edward said...

Answer me this: Why did God record the number saved at Pentecost? Why did God see fit to include the number of people fed at the feedings of the 5,000 and 4,000? Why is the Bible full of numbers and large numbers at that? You guys are the modern version of the old Pharisees in the NT that Christ was so upset with. Everyone who has a problem with numbers are the ones who don't have any numbers to speak of. Even if some of the numbers are not sincere, our ministry is far and away enjoying the blessings of God! A large church that has its focus on the main thing--soulwinning--is pleasing God. A small church that is doing the same thing will be growing and also pleasing God. You guys need to realize that our focus here at FBC is the Great Commission period. Ed

reglerjoe said...

Ed said:"Why did God record the number saved at Pentecost? Why did God see fit to include the number of people fed at the feedings of the 5,000 and 4,000?"

Obviously, you miss the point. Nobody here is against "numbers." We've all heard this empty rhetoric before. Do you really think these are questions we've never heard before? We've heard the same empty arguments from the same pulpit you do.

The Bible records stats, those in your sector of IFBxdom emphasize achieving numbers to an unbiblical extreme. Jesus never said, "Well, we fed 4,000 this week, next week let's go for 5,000!" The miracle of the feeding of the multitude was not in how MANY were fed, but how LITTLE was used to accomplish much. The disciples were not told to have 5,000 or 4,000 so Jesus could feed them and impress everybody in their fundy camp.

On Pentecost, Peter didn't say to the other disciples, "We've got to have 3,000 saved today! We've just got to have 3,000! I want you to live, eat and breathe 3,000! Make up a song about 3,000 and sing it all day long! Write 3,000 on a 3X5 card and put it in your pocket. Let 3,000 consume you! Do whatever it takes to get 3,000! If your bus isn't full, then don't even show up! If you're not going to help us have 3,000 then get out of our way, bless God!"

Oh, BTW, the above satire is almost a word-for-word quote from one of your heroes. The Bible never teaches us to go after a certain number, to break "records", or to set some man-made goal. The disciples did what they were commanded and trusted God to bless with results.

Ed also asked: "Why is the Bible full of numbers and large numbers at that?"

Well, Ed, the Bible is full of small numbers also. And, I'm really not sure why records of large numbers in the Bible means we must emphasize achieving some large arbitrary number.

Ed said: "You guys are the modern version of the old Pharisees in the NT that Christ was so upset with."

Really? We're the ones that are "teaching for doctrine the commandments of men"? We're the whited walls, all proper on the outside but corrupt within? Answer me this: when did the Pharisees ever criticize Jesus for emphasizing numbers the way you do?

Ed said: "Everyone who has a problem with numbers are the ones who don't have any numbers to speak of."

How completely juvenile and utterly false. you really need to get out of your Hammond bubble and see that there are multitudes of churches as big or bigger than FBCH that do not emphasize numbers the way you do. (Especially if you count the Wednesday night crowds).

Ed said:"Even if some of the numbers are not sincere, our ministry is far and away enjoying the blessings of God!"

You're getting there! "EVEN IF SOME OF THE NUMBERS ARE NOT SINCERE..." Ed, we've all seen how FBCH reaches their baptism goals. Do you honestly think those "baptism" Saturdays were ethical? C'mon! Those kids were USED for one reason: NUMBERS! they were just a name on a decision card. They were recorded and forgotten.

As far as enjoying the blessings of God, everybody claims that, from the Mormons to the Catholics.

Ed said: "A large church that has its focus on the main thing--soulwinning--is pleasing God."

Really? Because they are large? Do you honestly believe your shallow anthropocentric idea of soul winning is the main thing?

Ed said: "A small church that is doing the same thing will be growing and also pleasing God."

A patently false statement. I know PLENTY of small churches doing things the FBCH way and they're just getting smaller. Their pastors are discouraged and confused, and not to mentioned completely ignored by their alma mater because their ministries are considered to be an embarrassment. Actually, my church started to grow when I stopped doing some things the FBCH way (and no, I didn't change my music).

Ed said: "You guys need to realize that our focus here at FBC is the Great Commission period."

Thank you. We hadn't heard that one yet.

Actually, the emphasis on "decisions" and baptism numbers shows how you truly do not understand what the Great Commission is all about. So, in truth, you are not focusing on the Great Commission at all.