We are approaching ten years since t
he Tokyo 2010 Global Mission Consultation took place in May of 2010. That consultation was not intended to be an end in itself, but the beginning of a movement to see all peoples discipled in our generation. The Global Great Commission Network was birthed out of that consultation with the mandate to carry that global task forward.
The bedrock of this important network is the Tokyo Declaration. That declaration was the fruit of the consultation and subsequently affirmed by the attendees. It has been intended that this Declaration not be a stagnant document, but remain dynamic as the basis upon which partnerships and Great Commission activities can take place. Thus, it is appropriate that this foundational document be revisited and highlighted as we approach the consultation's 10th anniversary.
One of the initial statements found in the Declaration is that the Great Commission has been the on-going responsibility of the Church for 2000 years. That responsibility is so large and complex that no one church, agency, national missions movement or regional mission block can take it on alone or independently. We call on Christ-followers everywhere to whole-heartedly embrace and engage in "making disciples of every people in our generation."
One may question why that task is so important so as to extend a clarion call of "making disciples" to Christ followers everywhere in the world. The answer to that question is boiled down to two realities.
The first is the reality of mankind's universal need. All people, everywhere, are lost apart from faith in Jesus Christ. Sadly, every individual is a sinner by nature, choice, and practice. The tragic result of man's sin is his alienation from God. That alienation leads to everlasting death (Rom. 6:23). But not only that as tragic as it is, creation itself is in bondage to corruption and subject to futility (Rom. 8:18-21). Consequently, both mankind and the world he inhabits is in a desperate spiritual plight.
But God, in His grace, has provided a remedy, and this is the second reality. Out of love, God sent His only Son, Jesus Christ, to reconcile the world to Himself (John 3:16). Through Jesus' vicarious death on a cross and victorious resurrection from a grave, mankind is brought into a restored relationship with God. God's justice for the penalty of sin was satisfied by Jesus's work on mankind's behalf. And here is the really amazing part: God offers forgiveness of sin and salvation to anyone who repents and believes on this redemptive work of Christ. (Rom. 1:5,16,17; 3:21-26).
Therefore the message of the Great Commission is clear. It states that: 1) salvation is found in none other (Acts 4:12) nor in any other way (John 14:6), than through Jesus Christ, and 2) this message is to be proclaimed to all peoples everywhere (Luke 24:47).
Thus the opening paragraphs of the Tokyo Declaration focus on mankind's spiritual need along with our Divinely-given message. But Jesus did not leave us this message to share without also giving a methodology to follow as we proclaim it. That will be the topic of the next installment of revisiting the Tokyo Declaration.