Undiscipled disciples.

The disciple is one who, intent upon becomeing Christlike and so dwelling in his “faith and practice,” systematically and progressively rearranges his affairs to that end.»? (Dallas Willard, The Spirit of the Disciplines, p. 261)

…For at least several decades the churches of the Western world have not made discipleship a condition of being a Christian.»? One is not required to be, or to intend to be, a disciple in order to become a Christian, and one may remain a Christian without any signs of progress toward or in discipleship.»? Contemporary American churches in particular do not require following Christ in his example, spirit, and teachings as a condition of membership…

…Little good results from insisting that Christ is also supposed to be Lord: to present his lordship as an option leaves it squarely in the category of white-wall tires and stereo equipment for the new car.»? You can do without it.»? And it is—alas!—for from clear what you would do with it.»? Obedience and training in obedience form not intelligible doctrinal or practical unity with the salvation presented in recent versions of the gospel.

…Not having made our converts disciples, it is impossible for us to teach them how to live as Christ lived and taught.»? That was not part of the package, not what they converted to.

…Thus the very type of life that could change the course of human society—and upon occasion has done so—is excluded from the essential message of the church.

Concerned to enter that life we ask: “Am I a disciple, or only a Christian by current standards?”»? Examination of our ultimate desires and intentions, reflected in the specific responses and choices that make up our lives, can show whether there are things we hold more important than being like him.»? If there are, then we are not yet his disciples.»? Being unwilling to follow him, our claim of trusting him must ring hollow.»? We could never claim to trust a doctor, teacher or auto mechanic whose direction we do not follow.»? (pp. 258-60, 265)

4 thoughts on “Undiscipled disciples.

  1. Toni

    “Contemporary American churches in particular do not require following Christ in his example, spirit, and teachings as a condition of membership…”

    This will always be a problem where church is a ‘club’ and not a lifestyle.

  2. Marc

    Travis: I said this on your blog already, but just to clarify, all the words in this post belong to Dallas Willard.

    Toni: Indeed. I couldn’t agree with you more.

  3. travis johnson

    Marc, thanks for helping me get that right. I was crediting you with words of wisdom. Now, I’ll have to just credit you with recognizing some good words. Thanks for stopping by and thanks for this entry.

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