Monday, October 27, 2008

95 Theses for the American Church, Part 1: Discipleship

I am fully aware of the arrogance inherent in offering my own 95 theses. But it's not like I haven't been nailing this stuff to the door of this blog for over a year.

19 a day for the next five days, each (more or less) on a different area of focus.

On the Discipleship of the Individual Christian

1. God saves us as individuals, but he does not save us to an individual faith.

2. The Christian's faith may be personal, but it should not be private.

3. Life is not about us.

4. The Church is not supposed to be about us.

5. The American Christian takes for granted the convenience of the availability of God's revelation in the Holy Scriptures.

6. When a Christian abandons the discipline of the study of Scripture, he spites and dishonors the men and women who toiled, sacrificed, and died to increase the availability of God's written word.

7. Moreover, when a Christian doesn't read Scripture, he spites and dishonors God who graciously reveals himself to us in and through it.

8. The Christian who does not devote himself to Scripture but yet expresses frustration over not hearing "God's will for my life" is either confused or stupid.

9. The Christian who devotes himself to Scripture in order to achieve a knowledge that puffs up is storing up a harsh rebuke from the Holy Spirit.

10. The aim of devotion to Scripture is our transformation, not merely our information.

11. The American Christian and the churches that train him are adherents to the syncretism of biblical values and the self-idolatry of consumer culture.

12. This syncretism is suffocating the discipleship culture of our churches, which are mostly predicated on therapeutic gospels and self-help which make do not glorify God and which make the disciple the center of Christian faith rather than Christ.

13. The American Christian is often offended by or secretive about the message of the gospel, which puts him dangerously in league with those who find the message foolish and are perishing.

14. The Christian in the American Christian ought to affirm and embrace the cost of discipleship, but the American in the American Christian hesitates to deny himself because Self is his highest value.

15. The modern disciple is currently being spiritually deformed by leaders in the Church who do not make that which is "of first importance" the most important thing.

16. The modern disciple compartmentalizes his life and does not realize that even a large compartment for "faith" or "church" or "God" is not healthy discipleship. The American Christian's schedule and routines reflect he believes his days belong to himself and not to God.

17. The American Christian finds Jesus' command to sacrifice and serve abhorrent.

18. The American Christian has forgotten how to pray.

19. Discipleship is best cultivated in the active participation in and contribution to the culture of a gospel-embracing Christian community.

(Tomorrow: 19 theses on community.)


Anonymous said...

These, so far, Jared, are awesome! God grant that I may take these to heart by way of the Bible and grant the strength needed to live by them properly according to your ways for your glory. Amen.

Jen said...

Wow. Great stuff and deeply convicting, Jared. I'm looking forward to the rest, I think.

Anonymous said...

Good stuff. I live too much in #5, which made reading #'s 6 & 7 that much more painful.

Looking forward to the rest.

Anonymous said...

Really good thoughts.

Just read this week about Hudson Taylor who left a church because he was "unable to bear the sight of a congregation of a thousand or more rejoicing in thier own security". That was around 1860 in England. Many American Christians are repeating history.

Jane said...


First time visiting your blog. Wow! I have only read "discipleship" but am looking forward to reading all of them. I am a follower of Christ. I love His word and desire to love the brethren. Have been struggling with today's church mentality, lack of hunger for His word (spoon fed believers), and lack of passion, I have said at least 100 times this year. There's got to be something more to this. Jesus is ALIVE and dwells in my heart through the Holy Spirit. Thank you for these thoughts.

In Him,

Anonymous said...

I have to agree wholeheartedly with number 6. It seems like those people that value reading the Word never cease to be called "Pharisees" by those who do not. :<