Underlined.

I read a lot.
But only since starting to meet weekly, and read through the Bible with a friend of mine, have I begun to underline in books.
Mostly, I just do this for passages in Scripture that really stick out, or that I have overlooked before.

Though, occasionally I run across something in a book that strikes me for one reason or another.
Maybe an idea I’d never really considered before…
Maybe some quick synopsis that ends up being tweet-worthy
Or maybe, something like this…

This week, I saw one sentence in David Platt’s Radical that made me absolutely
Want.
To.

SCREAM!

For a number of reasons.
What kind of statement could get me so fired up this week, you ask?

This kind:
Disciple making is not a call for others to come to us to hear the gospel but a command for us to go to others to share the gospel.

Seems like a pretty legitimate statement, right?
I mean, it does make sense…and it is Biblical…right?

Absolutely!
There are few statements about ministry that I could probably agree with more.
So, why did this one get me all fired up?

Because this seems to be the prevalent evangelism strategy among many churches today.
“Invite-a-friend” evangelism.
Sounds good, right? 
Being all pro-active and whatnot.
But the question I’ve got to ask is, is that Biblical?

As evangelistic believers, we can quote word-for-word the Great Commission.
So we must be taking this thing seriously…at least in some aspects…right?

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.   (Mt. 28:19, NIV)

The problem I see so often, is that, not only are we not going, we’re not really doing much in the discipleship arena.
We (in the best of cases) tend to be content to “invite a friend,” have them listen to a sermon, hopefully go down front to pray a prayer (whatever that means), and then we feel all warm and fuzzy.
But none of that has anything to do with the Great Commision.

Is the church today so content to make converts rather than disciples?
Converts that will become twice the sons of hell that we are?
Someone comes down and prays at the altar, and we leave them there?
Dr. Ergun Caner says this kind of conversion is like spiritual child abuse.

Do we even know how to make disciples?
At first shot I’d say that if we aren’t living like disciples, we can’t possibly teach others to.

Which brings me to the big point here.
That word go is translated incorrectly.
I don’t care if you pick up the KJV, ESV, NIV, NASB…whatever.
Your Bible, in this case, isn’t giving you a clear enough picture of what Jesus is saying.

The more accurate translation from the original Greek is:
As you are going, make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.   (Mt. 28:19)

Disciple-making was never intended to be something we go to do.
It was meant to be something to do as we are going.
Because it isn’t something done in a matter of a few days, or a few weeks, or a few years, even…

In the context of Jewish culture, when a student was chosen to follow a rabbi, he never left his teacher’s side.
He wanted to do everything the rabbi did…know everything the rabbi knew.
This was no small time commitment.

And to think of how draining that must have been on the rabbi.
To be a teacher of the Scriptures and to have some ambitious young student mimic your every move…

Our culture doesn’t allow for that.
Our society is too fast-paced, driven by quick results.
Our time is too precious to pour into those around us.

So we leave young believers to figure things out on their own, then chastise them for not “doing it right.”
When, instead, we should be doing life together, just as the twelve did with Jesus.
Growing, learning from one another.
Making disciples, becoming better disciples.

In all of this, though, we should always remember that making disciples is not the end we are trying to achieve, but rather part of the journey we are already on.

May we always be making disciples…
As we are going.

Peace and love.

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3 thoughts on “Underlined.

  1. I always feel a little odd about the bring a friend to church Sundays. I KNOW Melissa invited me to CP and I am very glad she did. I am also really open to talking about my church and telling people about how wonderful I find it. I want to share with the world, but I also have been on the receiving end of unwanted “spiritual advances” so I try to be aware of other people’s situation. That being said, when I am asked about my faith and someone comes with me I do NOT just leave them hanging. I tend to feel if they are that lost and looking the last thing they need is to feel abandoned as well.

  2. Well said Kyle!
    I was JUST having this conversation with a friend a few nights ago… How we tend to compartmentalize evangelism and discipleship and treat them as altogether separate concepts, when in fact one should just naturally flow into the other. Discipleship should be an extension of evangelism.

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