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apprenticeship 2.0

Bloged in apprenticeship by rod Tuesday March 23, 2004

A quick scan of church websites and newsletters shows myriad classes and programs dubbed, “discipleship”, or “discipleship training” or some other disciple type terminology. Why then have we become so entirely consumeristic? How can the church today have more “discipleship” programs than ever in history, and yet be so consumeristic. Tonight’s Dallas Willard installment has helped me to understand a bit more clearly where we have gone wrong. I suspected as much, but Willard seems to confirm my suspicions. We have simply arrived at the wrong definition of Christian discipleship. I’ve noticed our faulty definitions of other terminology on these pages before – integrity, purity, etc. This one also seems to be huge, with astounding implications. The contented nomad and I recently had a conversation in which he shared with me quickly from his developing theology of faith and works which is as astounding and eye opening as anything I’ve read in recent history. How could the basic gospel of salvation become so misconstrued by the modern church that a simple biblically based explanation sounds like a new religion? It seems to me that discipleship begins to emphasis that little portion of theology that has been so completely overlooked. How can we be disciples of Christ and not behave in the way He’s asked us to behave, not do what He told us to do?
So scan those discipleship offerings a little deeper and find blurbs that relate their content - Christianity 101, New Members classes, Doctrine, Church History, recovery programs. All these are important programs. They should, however, never replace discipleship, or worse, be called discipleship. If some program replaces discipleship, eventually discipleship may be missed and added back as a church program. But when we simply do things that aren’t discipleship, but call it that, we will never notice that we’re not doing it.
Once we’ve graduated from Christianity 101 and the like, we find that the offerings tend to be more self-help, application to our existing life, etc. Programs that offering what we know we need and unfortunately feed our consumerism bent.
It is ironic that in my denomination, conscious effort has been made to make Sunday School the primary outreach arm of the church. This intention puts an evangelistic purpose on a program that is often called discipleship.
The closest we seem to come is in teaching how Jesus wants us to feel about Him, believe about Him, etc. But seldom what He wants us to do about Him, and this is the heart of discipleship. We say, “we must make Him Lord of our lives.” But discipleship is training to learn what that means and set about making it reality.
Disciples of Christ must eventually begin acting like Christ, ministering, teaching disciples. But most of what we call discipleship perpetuates our consumerism, is geared toward our perceived needs and interests. It seems we never consume enough to produce because our consumption contains nothing that makes us aware that that is what Jesus expects commands us to do.

3 Responses to “apprenticeship 2.0”

  1. james Says:

    It seems we are on the same train of thought right now. I am preparing to go to Kenya to teach theology and am getting a quite a workout where I have discovered issues that Western and Eastern Christianity are inconsistent. We are waaaaaayy off the mark (hey, that sounds like “sin”).

  2. dp Says:

    don’t let this topic slip away sir rodilic. you just keep “stirring the coals”. I want to hear more on this subject.

  3. ok Says:

    good site sdcjaf

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