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Archive for the ‘Discipleship’ Category

I’ve been re-re-reading Dallas Willard’s The Divine Conspiracy lately.  It is easily a favorite of mine.  The point Willard makes very clearly is that the heart of the gospel is discipleship to Christ.  In Chapter 8, Willard focuses on the topic of practical discipleship.  I’ve pasted below some great quotations from the chapter, also with the intention of capturing the flow of his theme throughout:

Nondiscipleship is the elephant in the church.  It is not the much discussed moral failures, financial abuses, or the amazing general similarity between Christians and non-Christians.  These are only effects of the underlying problem.  The fundamental negative reality among Christian believers now is their failure to be constantly learning how to live their lives in The Kingdom Among Us.  And it is an accepted reality.  The division of professing Christians into those for whom it is a matter of whole-life devotion to God and those who maintain a consumer, or client, relationship to the church has now been an accepted reality for over fifteen hundred years. (p. 301)

Disciple defined:

A disciple, or apprentice, is simply someone who has decided to be with another person, under appropriate conditions, in order to become capable of doing what that person does or to become what that person is.

He lives in the kingdom of God, and he applies that kingdom for the good of others and even makes it possible for them to enter it for themselves.

The disciple or apprentice of Jesus, as recognized by the New Testament, is one who has firmly decided to learn from him how to lead his or her life, whatever that may be, as Jesus himself would do it.  And, as best they know how, they are making plans – taking the necessary steps, progressively arranging and rearranging their affairs – to do this.  All of his will, in one way or another, happen within the special and unfailing community he has established on earth.  And the apprentices then are, of course, perfectly positioned to learn how to do everything Jesus taught.  That is the process envisioned in the Great Commission of Matthew 28:18-20. (p. 291)

Then how do we make disciples?  Willard says we must first be a disciple (see above quotations).  Then we must actually intend to do so.  How do we then do it once we are ourselves a disciple and have made the conscious decision to do so?

Lead people to become disciples of Jesus by ravishing them with a vision of life in the kingdom of the heavens in the fellowship of Jesus.  And you do this by proclaiming, manifesting, and teaching the kingdom to them in a manner learned from Jesus himself.  You thereby change the belief system that governs their lives.  (p. 305)

To enable people to become disciples we must change whatever it is in their actual belief system that bars confidence in Jesus as Master of the Universe.  (p. 307)

We must study our friends and associates to see what they really do believe and help them to be honest about it.  We understand that our beliefs are the rails upon which our life runs, and so we have to address their actual beliefs and their doubts, not spend our time discussing many fine things that have little or no relevance to their geniune state of mind. (p.309)

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Weekly favorites in…

News: Apparently, not only was I raised in the best county in the U.S. for raising children (see previous post), but now I’m living in the “Happiest Place in America” according to ABC news.

History: 64 years ago today, Dietrich Bonhoeffer was executed due to his involvement in a plot to assassinate Hitler.  Fred Sanders at Scriptorium Daily writes a small piece on the the topic.  Here are a couple of my favorite quotes from Bonhoeffer in his classic work, The Cost of Discipleship:

Christianity without the living Christ is inevitably Christianity without discipleship, and Christianity without discipleship is always Christianity without Christ. (p. 59)

The only right and proper way is quite literally to go with Jesus.  The call to follow implies that there is only one way of believing on Jesus Christ, and that is by leaving all and going with the incarnate Son of God. (p. 62)

Also, for an excellent documentary on his life, watch Bonhoeffer.

Science News: Ever wondered why scratching relieves that itching feeling?  NYT reports.

Reading/Listening: Dr. Albert Mohler responds to President Obama’s statements to the Muslim world in Turkey.

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