As Christians, both individually and collectively as the church, we are called to make and grow followers of Christ but when Jesus says this is he telling us to mainly target Non-religious people or people of other (non-Christian) religions. The focus is not whether we such make disciples, but whether we should focus more on the non-religious or on people of other faiths or if they should be treated the same.

I want the answer strictly from Baptist or Methodist denomination.

  • Individually and collectively.
    – Parker
    Commented Aug 18, 2017 at 2:28
  • 1
    Isn't it an assumption that Jesus only meant non-believers or people who do not claim to be "Christian?" There were no divergent "Christian" groups at the time so it wouldn't make sense for Him to include them. Does Acts:19:1-12 describing the rebaptism of people baptized after the authority of John perhaps suggest that the disciples believed Jesus meant all who did not follow His teachings or authority entirely, whether they claimed to follow Jesus or not?
    – JBH
    Commented Aug 18, 2017 at 3:24
  • Baptist/Methodist isn't a good scope, they don't share much history and they aren't grouped together now much that I'm aware.
    – curiousdannii
    Commented Aug 22, 2017 at 21:55

4 Answers 4


Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,(Matthew 28:19)

"All nations" would naturally extend to refer to all people, be they atheists, Buddhists, or of any other religious (or lack of religious) beliefs. Hence, Jesus says "all."

Given that Baptists and Methodists believe that the Bible is God's word, I am confident that this applies to both denominations. However, since you specifically asked for the teaching from the Baptist or Methodist Church, here is a quote from an article from the United Methodist Church: (I chose Methodist because it's easier for me to find stuff on them for some reason.)

"The concept of missionaries is something that many people struggle with, particularly when we are engaged in more pluralistic circles of friendship or other relationships. We don’t want to offend Muslim or Jewish friends by trying to convert them to Christianity. And we don’t want to be thought naïve or self-righteous by atheist or agnostic friends. At the same time, we are called as United Methodists to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. We are called as Christians to share the Good News of Christ. So how do we live out our faith authentically in ways that offer an invitation to grace that meets people where they are but doesn’t leave them there?"

We’re on a Co-Mission From God

  • I really meant if we should be targeting more atheist or more religious people. But that's good it helped me realize it's collective.
    – Parker
    Commented Aug 18, 2017 at 2:29
  • I would personally interpret the word "all" as indicating that no distinction ought to be made. (Note, however, that I am not a Methodist or a Baptist.) Commented Aug 18, 2017 at 3:01

There is no difference between an atheist, agnostic, or follower of an alternate religion regarding the need for evangelism from a Methodist or Baptist point of view (or that of any mainstream Christian denomination).

I was raised Methodist so I'll start there - the Methodists talk about the "four alls" of the Wesleyan understanding of the Christian faith.

  1. All people need to be saved
  2. All people can be saved
  3. All people can know they are saved
  4. All people can be saved to the uttermost

While Methodists put more of an emphasis on the role of the will in salvation than do more Calvinist denominations, the bottom line is that salvation is in Christ, so if you're not saved through Christ, then whatever other thing you are, you still need that. Here's a document from the Methodist Church in Ireland talking about the Four Alls, but you can find about a billion articles online about "The Four Alls of Methodism." Now, of course, there is no single central confession for all Methodist churches, so technically it may vary - but no it doesn't. All means all.

Baptists vary even more; besides, usually, an evangelistic emphasis and baptism of adults only there's a large number of Baptist groups (Southern Baptists, etc.) While there was an anti-missions element in the Baptist church, that was more about how missions were organized than about the need for evangelism in general. Baptists are heavily engaged in both domestic and foreign evangelism. Again, the difference between atheists and those of alternate religions is immaterial to the theory behind evangelism, but if you need some positive examples here's one from the Southern Baptists about a converting atheist.

Now, the specific techniques in talking to those of any specific situation will differ - there's plenty of articles out there on how to specifically work to convert atheists, agnostics, any given religion, lapsed Christians, etc. But in terms of "should you," every single mainstream Christian denomination says "yes, of course."


Jesus in the Great Commission:

Matthew 28:18 through 20 KJV And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

told us that we should teach the Gospel. We are not commanded to force our belief onto anyone. To the contrary Jesus in teaching his disciples how to spread the Gospel said just the opposite:

 Matthew 10:14 KJV And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet. 

Note that he said ** whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words**

Jesus obviously wanted to enlarge the Kingdom of God, but the Scriptures appear to me, to say that the Gospel is to be given to a receptive audience hungry for it.

As far as exactly who, he wants us to concentrate on, he said teach all nations, but he appears to want us not to waste our time trying to convert anyone who rejects his teaching. In the sermon on the Mount he said;

Matthew 5:6 KJV Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.

He would probably not like it if we missed converting someone wanting salvation; while concentrating our efforts on one who does not.

While I do not propose to know exactly what Jesus wants from us as Christians, that is the impression I have gained through studying the Word.

I am a Southern Baptist, and as such we believe that the Bible is the word of God. That may not be the impression of other Baptists, or even the majority of Southern Baptists.


The first answer is on the right track. We get the answer from Jesus and nowhere else. I argue that what is commonly called the "Great Commission" was pronounced upon the 11, not the broader group of Jesus's Disciples. He told the 11 to "make disciples" of the goy, the Gentiles, "teaching them to observe all that I have commanded". Jesus delivered in the course of His ministry ~35 Commandments, and from the actions of the Early Church, the 2 that took precedence were to "make disciples' of whoever they encountered, and to love one another within the fledgling "brotherhood" with material Love. Hands/feet providing for the poor among them. "The world will know" by such actions who and what the people of Christ are. All the foregoing is seen in some detail in Acts 2.

"Baptists" are very diverse including a number of different denominations, with about 40% of all residing in the USA - less than half. The majority are non-hierarchical and have no complicated test of 'orthodoxy' within. Inside of the various Baptist denominations you will find Calvinist-leaning and Armenian/Free-Will adherents and Pastors, this fact complicating the answer if it is to be per-denomination. Likewise the term "Methodist" includes a number of denominations. The OP might want to clarify that part of the question. Wiki is a good-enough source for the listings of all

  • This appears to be a personal opinion, but the OP asked for answers specifically from the Baptist and Methodist denominations. Can you substantiate your opinion with commentary from those denominations?
    – JBH
    Commented Aug 18, 2017 at 22:13

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