Cheap grace is grace without discipleship.
I collect quotes about discipleship. The one above is from Richard Foster in his book Celebration of Discipline.
I went to a conference this year attended by over 1,500 people, with everyone talking about discipleship. There is a huge focus on discipleship in publishing, blogs, and podcasts throughout Christianity today.
However, research indicates that despite this emphasis, discipling to spiritual maturity is still a struggle.
To my collection of quotes and comments about discipleship, I recently added the following note from a friend (a very successful writer). It was a compliment to me and what we are doing at Discipling Another.
I was reminded yesterday of why I appreciate your quest to make discipleship more than a good intention.
Not so long ago, I had a meeting with an editor who wanted my help with a project. I asked for more details and was dismayed to hear that, while it was reassuring to readers, it was far from biblically accurate.
It championed Jesus’ love, which is fine. It called people to get to know Jesus. Also, a good thing. It spoke of how he’s coming back for us to gather us into an eternity with him.
And then it … stopped.
No need for obedience was mentioned. No shouldering a cross and no narrow path.
This wasn’t a product about Jesus. It was a product about squishy Jesus. A Jesus with no spine, no claim on the lives of his followers, a cuddly nightlight version of Jesus.
When I asked what happened to discipleship, I was met with a blank stare. It was there, I was told. No, it isn’t, I said. And then I heard what convinced me to walk away fast:
“Times are hard. This is what people need to hear these days.”
No, it isn’t. Because it isn’t true. It certainly isn’t complete. Jesus is coming back as a judge, riding a warhorse, and with legions of angels behind him.
We’ll all hit the deck not just because we respect the idea of Jesus but because that’s what you do when a tornado roars directly at you. Even if you’re confident you’re safe, you cringe before the sheer power and majesty of something or someone whose power is so immense.
You’re preparing people to be safe at Discipling Another … now and forever … to live lives of purpose and power … now and forever.
No squishiness in the discipleship that you preach, Grant.
Thanks. You’re needed.
I was greatly encouraged by my writer friend. He has worked with me often and helped edit (often co-writing) FirstSteps Conversations with me.
Recently in Interruption # 799, I asked readers to write their most important prayer request and then place this request in their Bible.
I wrote a request, too, and placed it in my Bible.
My request was for Discipling Another, churches, and other ministries to understand how to practice and implement discipleship. I believe in a latter-day revival, and workers in this harvest will be needed.
A final quote about discipleship …
Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you (Matthew 28:19-20).
The Great Commission isn’t squishy. It’s costly but also filled with joy.