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What Is Discipleship Anyway?

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The Christian community was first of all a church gathered around the feet of Christ, to receive his Word, to deepen in the apostolic teaching, to participate in Holy Communion and the prayers.

Often in reaction against the perceived narcissism of consumer-oriented faith and practice, a lot of younger Christians are talking about discipleship these days. On the one hand, this is very hopeful. Basically, we're seeing the children telling their Baby Boomer parents, "Enough about you and how you can have your best life now." Many of these younger believers endured lonely lives, letting themselves into the house after school, watching their parents' self-indulgence and unraveling marriages. Now they share their generation's more general concern to look beyond their own immediate gratification to care about God's creation, to seek justice and charity for their neighbors, and to witness to Christ's transforming hope by actively exhibiting a life of love and service to others. In short, they don't just want to know Jesus Christ as a theory or even as an experience; they want to follow him. Not bad, all things considered!

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1 [ Back ] Brian McLaren, A Generous Orthodoxy (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2004), 206.
2 [ Back ] McLaren, 260.
3 [ Back ] McLaren, 264.
4 [ Back ] Mark Oestreicher, quoted in Dan Kimball, The Emerging Church: Vintage Christianity for a New Generation (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2003), 35.
5 [ Back ] Kimball, 79-81.

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Michael Horton is the J. Gresham Machen professor of apologetics and systematic theology at Westminster Seminary California (Escondido, California), host of the White Horse Inn, national radio broadcast, and editor-in-chief of Modern Reformation magazine. He is author of many books, including The Gospel-Driven Life, Christless Christianity, People and Place, Putting Amazing Back Into Grace, The Christian Faith, and For Calvinism.

Issue: "Discipleship: Wisdom for Pilgrims' Progress" Sept./Oct. 2009 Vol. 18 No. 5 Page number(s): 14-18

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