Tuesday, August 10, 2010

And now we return you to your regularly scheduled program.

From The Divine Conspiracy:

Nondiscipleship is the elephant in the church. 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 1500 years. (If, in our church, to live as a disciple, intentionally and deliberately, whole-lifely, is to be a “great” Christian or a candidate for seminary, we have lost the whole point.) (301)

Suppose [instead of smoothing over hurt feelings and anger] we devoted our [church-life] time to inspiring and enabling Christians to be people who are not offendable and not angry and who are forgiving as a matter of course? But really to intend this is no trivial matter. It means a huge change of direction. Indeed the entire Christian culture stands against any such intention.

To explicitly intend to make apprentices to Jesus could be quite upsetting to congregational life. Won’t those who are mere members or converts find themselves in an embarrassing position? Second-class citizenship? ... the implicit understanding that nondisciple Christians have with their leaders and congregations will have to be brought to light and dealt with in some appropriate way. But we say immediately that the last thing the disciple or disciple maker will do is assume superiority over anyone...we are called to form a community of prayerful love. (It is about where the focus and the effort of the church is: in attraction or conversion or fellowship or music or whatever, or in making disciples.)

We are not talking about eliminating nondisciple, consumer Christiantiy. We are talking about making it secondary, as far as our intentions are concerned. We would intend to make disciples and let converts “happen,” rather than intending to make converts and letting disciples “happen.” (Fill in any other desired outcome in the place of “converts.”)

This is why, once again, it is absolutely necessary that those who exercise leadership must be close and faithful students of Jesus himself. He must be the one who shows the way.

In short, you 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.(302-5)

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