Saturday, April 05, 2003

Salvation & Discipleship

I found this at Coop's. Finding stuff like this is exactly why I read his blog.

My favorite quote in this article is:

Disciples simply are people who are constantly revising their affairs to carry through on their decision to follow Jesus.

Here are selections that Coop suggested from the article:

Much of evangelism today is rooted in a misunderstanding of salvation. People have been told they are Christians because they have confessed they believe that Jesus died for their sins, but the total package is
presented in such a way that it leaves the general life untouched. Biblically, salvation means deliverance; the question is, "Deliverance from what?" The common message is "deliverance from guilt." But the full concept of salvation in the New Testament is deliverance from our present sins. Deliverance from sins comes from the new life of God’s Kingdom when we place our confidence in Jesus the person.

The problem is that we have been obsessed with this idea that the real issue is "making the cut" to get to heaven. We have taken the discipleship out of conversion.

. . . . . The leading assumption in the American church is that you can be a Christian but not a disciple. That has placed a tremendous burden on a mass of Christians who are not disciples. We tell them to come to church, participate in our programs and give money. But we see a church that knows nothing of commitment. We have settled for the marginal, and so we carry this awful burden of trying to motivate people to do what they don’t want to do. We can’t think about church the way we have been.

We need to clear in our heads about what discipleship is. My definition: A disciple is a person who has decided that the most important thing in their life is to learn how to do what Jesus said to do. A disciple is not a person who has things under control, or knows a lot of things. Disciples simply are people who are constantly revising their affairs to carry through on their decision to follow Jesus.

. . . . .The primary function of the church is not evangelism, but to be a place for the dwelling of God on the earth. This requires that people grow and receive God and occupy their place with God. That would have a natural effect of evangelism. What we want is not just evangelism that makes converts. We want disciples...and if you are intent on making disciples and keep on that track, evangelism will take care of itself.

I share this because I, like you, want to see vital churches and vital Christians and many more of them, and yet I am sometimes concerned that our failure in many ways to “be the church” is so widespread and so long standing, in many instances, and we so desperately need renewal, that we may be tempted to take shortcuts and resort to “techniques” and to developing and espousing non-biblical views of “salvation,” “church” and “evangelism.”

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