I’ve been musing over this question for a while. I’m hoping that you (my readers) have some insight. I think it has implications about how we lead someone to faith and about what happens afterwards. The question is this:
If the Gospel (the message we share to bring people to faith in Jesus) doesn’t include discipleship, why would we add it later? If the Gospel does include discipleship, why don’t we preach it in our message?
If you’ve got some thoughts about this question, please leave a comment in the comment section. I’ll post some of my thoughts after I give some folks a chance to interact and discuss.
It is about paradigm. If you are a genuine Christian in an institutional church. A discipleship 101 class is the idea of discipleship. The prayer movement standard for discipleship is to practice the sermon of the mount. A revivalist’s idea of discipleship would be someone who gets the fire of the Gospel and declares healing. A missionaries idea of discipleship would be simply to become a missionary and go to your place of missions. The house church movement idea of discipleship is to be a disciple (father or mother of the faith) who makes disciples (spiritual children.) A common paradigm of discipleship must happen before we can have a common message.
I appreciate your comment. I think the question comes back to this: If the Gospel is the message of what people need to do to be saved, why do we come back later and say people have to do other stuff (discipleship)? Or if you want to spin it a different way, if discipleship is so important, why isn’t it part of the Gospel itself?
Don’t get me wrong. I believe that the Gospel is free and that it can’t be earned. I also believe discipleship Is crucial for those who are saved. Ijust think the way we present the Gospel leads people to think they don’t need to become a disciple and the way we present discipleship leads people to not trust in Christ’s amazingly free gift.
That said, discipleship is the process of learning from and becoming more like Jesus-pure and simple. That will look different in different camps and streams, and to some degree that should be expected and encouraged, as long as it doesn’t interfere with the end goal of becoming more like Christ. My sincere hope is that one day the body of Christ will be full of men and women living Sermon on the Mount lifestyles, advocating firey hearts and healing, that also make disciples that make disciples. That will be a good day.
Ever try to imagine Jesus saying “Nobody is looking around; just slip up that hand and put it right back down again?”
Let’s try this again – “If you want to be a part of our group then pick up a cross and let’s get going, – Oh, and by the way, the servant is not greater than the master – If they loved me they will love you – I beg your pardon, I never promised you a rose garden – I tested you with hard sayings, will you turn back also”
Oh he didn’t say the thing about the ‘rose garden?’ Okay, but the average promise made to new converts now days leaves us with a very flabby church and not a mighty army.
Thanks for stopping by the blog! I agree with you that this issue does contribute to some of the issues we have in the body. Part of what I’ve been struck by (and will probably write about more later) is the idea that the Gospel is not just What Jesus did for us, but also who He is. If Jesus doesn’t just do stuff for us but is also Lord, then that changes our response to the Gospel. More on that sometime soon…