Sunday, September 25, 2005

A thought on "discipling"

(Related: 1, 2, 3)

A thought on "discipling" from The Discipling Dilemma, Chapter 9 ("shepherding" in UBF can be considered just an extreme form of "discipling"):

By the next year, 1977, Michael Harper, leader of a prestigious British charismatic organization, was sounding his concern in the book Let My People Grow. In this book he made several arguments that are especially relevant for the present study.

In more recent times some charismatics have been giving even more emphasis to what they call "discipling." But what is important to notice is that the New Testament carefully avoids using this kind of language to describe relationships between believers. Instead it uses the language of service .... If the language of "discipling" is used in place of "serving," it will simply be a way of replacing anarchy with tyranny .... One method which has been widely advocated is that adopted by Juan Carlos Ortiz in Argentina .... Ortiz gets his mandate for using the term "discipling" from Matthew 28:19-20 .... It seems a strange way to interpret this command to say that Jesus tells us to make disciples for ourselves [while claiming that our disciples (our "sheep") are really disciples of Jesus]. The master-disciple relationship is, of course, used frequently to describe the relationship that Jesus had with others on earth, and, therefore, can equally describe our relationship to the Lord today .... But it is never in the New Testament used to describe the relationship which Christians have with one another [Ding, ding, ding!!!] .... It is best not to use the "discipling" terminology at all. Not only is it biblically unsound, but it also injects into this area an authority factor which is inappropriate.

As mentioned at, Acts is the last book of the Bible in which the word "disciple" is used, and in Acts, "disciple" seems to simply mean "believer," not "discipled believer."

To those Christian churches who subscribe to various "discipling" programs, we would say "Be careful."

To UBF, we would say, "Stop trying to look like a Christian church."