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« Is a White Christ Finally Fading? | Main | The "Peter-Like" Church »

September 01, 2004

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I first read The Cost of Discipleship around 1983 and it cemented in me the idea that following Jesus has a real cost--and in areas of our spiritual life we take for granted.

Everything you have written here is dead-on. Hyper-dispensationalism has elevated grace to idol status. Bonhoeffer was prescient in his assessment of the Western Church, probably foreseeing our current age better than most.

I am convinced that if churches in America started preaching on the cost of discipleship, we'd lose at least half the people in the seats. I know about going after the one sheep, but if that means that we sacrifice our preaching and our teaching so as not to offend that one sheep, then we have missed the rest of the Scriptures, and done a disservice to the other ninety-nine.

We have got to start asking something of people. We never speak of holiness, never talk about laying down our lives (I mean REALLY laying down our lives, not just vowing to watch less TV or actually tithing), and for leaders, not thinking about deepening the lives of the people we already have in our congregations. If that drives people away, then we must NOT feel we have failed. Jesus did not make conclusions about the efficacy of the sower's sowing, though only one in four made it. We either trust God to bring people to Himself or we rely on our own strength, but we simply cannot let down the minority who do come to Jesus by encouraging them to half-baked discipleship.

There are many foes of "Lordship Salvation" in the Western Church today. I was a true mugwump on that issue. But not in the last half dozen years. Jesus asks everything we are and we are not to try to recover what we surrender to Him. Real disciples understand that grace not only cost Jesus His life, but ours as well.

Superb insights, Dan!

"Real disciples understand that grace not only cost Jesus His life, but ours as well.
"

This grates against our human nature. We want to be affirmed for just who we are, not told that we must die to ourselves.

"I am convinced that if churches in America started preaching on the cost of discipleship, we'd lose at least half the people in the seats."

I so want this to not be true!

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