How To Eat In A Restaurant (or: The Problem of Evangelism Without Discipleship)

A space to discuss How To Eat In A Restaurant (or: The Problem of Evangelism Without Discipleship)


We’ve built a church culture that prioritizes evangelism without discipleship.

You have hit the nail on the head @Carson.

I live in India, a ‘non-Christian’ country with less than 3% of the population officially Christian. Yet all my life, the popular sermons I have heard preached are a salvation through belief, a belief that is intellectual or emotional assent rather than a life-changing, continuously transforming process. We are satisfied when someone makes a ‘statement of faith’ or raises a hand or says a prayer. Numbers matter more.

I have been reading Bonhoeffer’s book, ‘The Cost of Discipleship’ and was challenged by his exposition of the incident where the rich young man encounters Jesus in Matthew 19:16-22 and asks the all-important question, “What must good things should I do that I may attain eternal life?” Jesus’ command that he must change his life radically and follow Him was met with dismay and abandonment of the Son of God.
Bonhoeffer says,
“He (the young man) is challenged to drop the academic question and called to a simple obedience to the will of God as it has been revealed… First, the young man must go and sell all that he has and give to the poor, and then come and follow. Discipleship is the end, voluntary poverty the means.”

Jesus himself actively discouraged enthusiastic people from following Him when he saw that it was merely an emotional or intellectual decision. But we, wise men, do just the opposite, wooing the ‘seekers’ by any means and then feeding them with superficial sermons that do not challenge us to radical obedience.

Transformation and discipleship are the essence of ‘Following Him’. If we do not focus on these, we should not be surprised by such restaurant stories.

The question before us is this - how do we focus on discipleship and building those who have started their journey of faith? It begins with our own lives - unless we are broken, re-moulded and transformed through practical obedience, we cannot build others.


So helpful and convicting.

It’s a daily exercise; not something we can do once and then move ahead. It has to become a basic attitude, a way of life.

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