Whatever Happened to Discipleship?
By Eric Chabot
A Point of Concern
Several years ago, I remember reading The Cost of Discipleship by the German Theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer. In this book, Bonhoeffer laid out what he believed it was to follow Christ. This book was published during the rise of the Nazi regime in Germany. It was during this period that Bonhoeffer’s view of costly discipleship was put together. And it was his view of costly discipleship that ultimately led to his death.
Over the years I have talked to plenty of people about the Gospel. While I run across plenty of people who have never heard the message before, I also I come across plenty of people who profess to be Christians but are not going forward in their faith. If I meet an individual who says they are a professed believer, I always ask them where they are in the discipleship process. Many times when I ask, “Are you becoming a disciple?” I usually get the response, “What’s a disciple?”
Many are oblivious to the importance of discipleship. Therefore, I find myself exhorting hundreds of people to get rooted in congregational/community life—get back to the basics (e.g., read the Bible, prayer). I always give these individuals contact information of local churches that they can attend. It saddens me to see what is happening in the transition from the point when someone makes a professed/salvation decision for Jesus and the overall discipleship/commitment aspect to our faith.
What is a Disciple?
The Hebrew word for disciple is “talmid.” A talmid is a student of one of the sages of Israel. A disciple is a learner, or pupil. When we decide to repent and turn to our Lord for the forgiveness of sins, we have to realize we are now on a new journey. The Gospel is a message for the here and now- not just the future. We have to learn how to live out our faith in the world around us. A disciple (in the New Testament sense) is someone who is striving (by God’s grace) to be consistent follower of Jesus. The goal of the Christian is to imitate our Master…
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