Discipleship

I have been reading through the book “Starting a house Church” and I think I was mostly on board with the author – until page 92. At this point, the author discusses his understanding of discipleship, which he defines as “really just a spiritual journey of sharing Jesus, of loving people, of planting a seed of faith and of inviting people into a love relationship with Jesus.”

Interesting.

My concern with what he is doing in the book, is that his way of making people feel comfortable is to invite them into his home, and encourage them to take a turn leading the Bible study, because discipleship begins before people are believers, and allowing people who do not understand what they are reading to teach it is a great way to make Christians.

I think of a couple of things. Primarily: “Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness.” James 3:1. I really do not see the author’s method of teaching in the Bible. Quite the contrary in fact.

Secondarily: I know we are to make disciples. But is that “bringing people into a love relationship with Christ”? Is that allowing them to teach what they openly admit they do not understand? What IS being a disciple?

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8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. raquelamisto
    Jul 06, 2008 @ 15:32:24

    Seriously, I cannot tell you how many times that I’ve wondered what exactly disciples are. One step beyond believers? Are the two interchangeable?

    So I looked up the word (Isaiah 8:16) and it’s an expert and learner (which doesn’t sound grammatically correct) under Jehovah.

    I can dig what you’re saying but it begs the question, who is the judge of what they (or we) do and don’t know? Especially in a house church setting. In a church, we can just point fingers at the leadership. But at home? The home owner gets to pick? Or the person who brings refreshments?

    Reply

  2. raquelamisto
    Jul 06, 2008 @ 17:47:00

    ..of course if they’re confessing Muslims then I’ll be the judge of that..

    Reply

  3. Nicole
    Jul 07, 2008 @ 06:43:55

    Which I guess I left out, right? It was specifically a Muslim that the author had teaching the Bible. And the guy said after he did not understand what he was talking about…

    I do not know what the criteria is for being a teacher, according to modern thinkers. What say you?

    Reply

  4. Rey
    Jul 13, 2008 @ 20:53:12

    I think the Church has gotten into a very bad happen of lowering and raising the criteria for teachers.

    For example, on one end you have folk that only want seminarians as teachers.

    On the other end you have folk that says “we can all teach as long as we sit in a circle.”

    my goodness.

    Reply

  5. Nicole
    Jul 14, 2008 @ 07:11:50

    I’m a neither/nor…

    My Dad knows more than any “lay” person I have ever met – so I hold no particular attachments to being a seminarian.

    What I do not know how to address right now, is the place of women in circle time. 🙂

    Reply

  6. Steve Grove
    Jul 14, 2008 @ 13:00:03

    This is the heart of my understanding of what being a disciple of Jesus is all about:

    The goal of the Christian is to become more like Jesus in attitude, words, and action. This is accomplished through the Holy Spirit working in our lives (Grace) and our response in faith. That is how we were saved, and that is how we are to live after we are saved.

    Discipleship is one part maturity (completeness or wholeness), one part base of knowledge, and one part application of knowledge. Maturity has the same basic definition as love – being able to look beyond yourself to the needs of others. One needs to know truth, what it is and how to apply it to one’s life. Discipleship is growth in these abilities, which is the opposite of much of what our fallen nature wants. The application includes holiness (which is simply a reflection of God’s character), and disciplines like prayer and Bible reading/study/meditation and fellowship which all help us understand and grow in our knowledge of God and who we are before Him.

    The primary source of this whole process is the Bible. It reveals God. In the Old Testamnet the emphasis is on the Law, which again is a reflection of God’s holiness. The Law could never save, only point out the fact that we can’t reach God because we are sinners. Jesus came to show us the Way, that faith in Him and surrendering our will to the Father’s was the way to receive God’s freely offered grace, because He (Jesus) fulfilled the Law.

    We short-circuit this process when we try to do it on our own strength (pride – selfishness).

    So when we sit around a circle to learn, we can and should be having a good dialogue about where we are at with Jesus and who He is to us, but it needs to have the foundation of the truths of what the Bible says. Having someone “teach” something they don’t believe is very superficial and really benefits no-one. It has to connect with where they are at with Jesus at that time. Who is interested in following a teacher, or pastor, or leader or anyone who says one thing but lives and acts out something different? It would be better presented as 1) Here is what the teaching is (what the Bible says), 2) This is what I believe, and 3) how do we reconcile the difference between the two.

    The advantage of the seminarian is he/she has spent several years in Biblical study, hermeneutics, archeology, anthropology, sociology, etc. The background they bring to any study is great, as long as they understand they are on a journey like everyone else. There should never be a place where they say, “I have arrived! I know it all!”

    Reply

  7. Steve Grove
    Jul 14, 2008 @ 13:10:58

    As to women in the circle… Why are we so eager to send women as missionaries where they are the leaders and pastors overseas, but limit their role here in North America. I belong to a denomination that turns 100 years old this October, and from the beginning has accepted women pastors and leaders. It is the calling and gifting of God and the character of Jesus that puts a man or women into ministry.

    My bigger concern (and it is because I am a guy – I know!!!) is where are the men of God? Where are the men who devote major time to reaching and discipling boys and young men for Jesus? We are glad to let our women do the children’s ministries and Sunday Schools while we run off to a PK meeting. A women cannot adequately teach a boy all of what it means to be a Christian man. Much of discipleship is modelling. Men are so busy doing other things, while generation after generation of our young people drop further and further away from Christ-likeness. We need gender specific programs for discipleship. Ones that allow boys to be boys (rough and tumble and all) with men in the middle of it.

    There’s a place for house churches; but where do the thousands and thousands of kids in single parent homes or from families with parents who have no interest in church going to hear about the Good News of Jesus Christ?

    Reply

  8. Nicole
    Jul 14, 2008 @ 13:24:36

    great to hear from you again Steve! I agree entirely with both your posts… (for what that is worth 🙂

    Reply

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